I had never heard the term anniversary reaction before today, but I decided to type a few things into DuckDuckGo, and there it was. Why did I do that and what is it? Read on.
As I’ve written about elsewhere I experienced a very traumatic event a few years ago. Basically it turned out to be non-life threatening, but I didn’t know that at the time. And it shook me to the core. Slowly I’m making my way back, but around September every year, I get very easily overwhelmed. I get sad easily. I feel much more pain from my back injury. I get poor sleep. I feel stressed out and nervous far beyond what I usually do (and since my accident, I have felt more than I used to to begin with) and so on. September usually isn’t a very good month for me. Which has struck me as strange, since, end of the summer holiday, I very much love fall and late summer.
Then, via TV and friends, I stumbled across PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, first of all, my reaction when I started to look at my self through that lens, my feelings were very much along the lines of: no way! I haven’t been blown up or anything. I haven’t watched comrades die by the hands and IEDs of terrorists. And I haven’t. And I don’t think I have PTSD. I think I may well have had a mild form of it, and I am just now realizing that could very well be why my physical therapist at work recommended seeing a therapist. But there is still something about September.
Now, I haven’t really explored this issue before partly because this is only the third year of living with this, and I had appendicitis last September and in severe pain anyway. But this year it’s been pretty bad again. So as I said, I did a little ducking (can we please make that a verb for those of us in the Google-skeptic camp, and autocorrect would love it!) on PTSD lite. Who knows, right!
Up cropped [anniversary reaction]. Basically it is some, or all, of the symptoms associated with PTSD, only in less severe form. And it ca crop up around the anniversary a traumatic event. And that night in September 2014 was certainly that!
As far as I can tell for now, there isn’t that much to do other than finding strategies for yourself. What may work for you may not work for me. I will be careful not to binge eat or drink to much, I will keep on meditating, and I will not be as reluctant to take pain medication as I usually am (most of the lighter stuff does little, and I don’t want to risk getting hooked on the stronger ones).
This information will probably not in and of itself change my feelings, affect my pain or anything like that. But it is an explanation that does explain a lot. And it makes it easier to move on with helping my self heal!