5 Symptoms of PTSD After Brain Injury

As I near the three-year anniversary of my traumatic brain injury (TBI), I am once again reminded of how fragile I still am.

My TBI was the result of a slip and fall on an icy driveway in February of 2014. I had zero warning as my feet slipped out from under me and my skull took the full impact of my fall. I can still hear the god-awful sound of my skull hitting the pavement.

About nine months after my fall, I suffered an extreme panic attack. I had never suffered from any form of anxiety before my accident, other than the occasional butterflies before a big presentation, etc. I honestly thought I was having a heart attack because as my heart was racing so fast—and I couldn’t get it under control with breathing techniques.Later my Chiropractic Neurologist referred me to a therapist who specializes in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and chronic pain. He quickly pieced together that my panic attack stemmed from the fact that we had just received our first snow and ice of the new winter season, and my body/brain was reacting to the emotional trauma now stored inside me from my fall on the ice.

Later, my Chiropractic Neurologist referred me to a therapist who specializes in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and chronic pain. He quickly pieced together that my panic attack stemmed from the fact that we had just received our first snow and ice of the new winter season, and my body/brain was reacting to the emotional trauma now stored inside me from my fall on the ice.

What a relief to know there was a “reason” I was experiencing such extreme anxiety and distress, and thus it became easier to get it under control when I knew what was causing it.

I would eventually work with a physical therapist who specializes in cranial sacral therapy. During one of our sessions, he explained how our bodies store the emotional trauma of whatever we have been through—even if our minds don’t remember the event. Like for me, I couldn’t actually remember the fall and hitting my head, only the sound it made.

The therapist explained how PTSD is common with any form of assault, and essentially I had been assaulted by the pavement. When he worded it like that, it was like a light bulb went on! That was exactly how I felt, but hadn’t been able to pinpoint it.

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