MG Distracts Me From Healing From Trauma

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by Jodi Enders |

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Trauma can result from scary, emotionally disturbing, or threatening events. Any event can be traumatic, depending on how the person perceives it.

The effects of trauma

Trauma can have harmful effects on health, functioning, and overall well-being. The Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center website notes that exposure to traumatic events can increase a person’s risk for chronic health conditions and health-risk behaviors.

The site further states, “Although trauma can occur at any age, it has particularly debilitating long-term effects on children’s developing brains.” Facing constant stress may cause kids to become defensive and have trouble responding reasonably in nonthreatening circumstances.

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Trauma can also affect relationships. After experiencing a traumatic event, we may feel betrayed and have difficulty being vulnerable. Any feelings of anger, shame, numbness, and isolation may intensify. This can interfere with a patient and healthcare professional’s rapport, thus affecting quality of care.

I often isolate after a traumatic event, but this prevents me from seeking the help I need from friends and family. I also give in easily and don’t assert boundaries out of fear, leading to overcommitment and stress on top of my myasthenia gravis (MG).

Trauma and coping mechanisms

The Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center website explains the connection between trauma and health-risk behaviors:

“People affected by trauma may develop coping mechanisms to help alleviate the emotional and/or physical pain they feel as a result of trauma. Sometimes, these strategies involve maladaptive behaviors — such as unhealthy eating, tobacco use, or drug and alcohol use. These coping mechanisms may provide some relief, but they can also simultaneously contribute to anxiety, social isolation, and chronic diseases.”

Distraction is an example of an unhealthy coping mechanism. Diversions can be an essential part of the healing journey, but not when it means avoiding addressing the trauma and its effects.

For those of us with MG, we may feel that our trauma is in the past after our diagnosis, especially if new hardships are at the forefront of our thoughts. Initial interruptions can be temporarily effective, allowing us to survive harrowing experiences, rest, and recover. But pre-diagnosis trauma may still be a subconscious antagonist in our lives.

Distractions should serve only as temporary bandages in the process of healing from trauma. Even a waterproof bandage won’t last forever.

Moving forward

While adjusting to our “new normal” with a chronic disease, it may seem impossible to find time to digest any past traumas. But it is necessary to make this time. Even if we haven’t deemed a moment significant, failing to properly process the feelings it evoked can make it difficult to understand our current emotions and responses.

Welcoming our feelings can be daunting, especially when we’re overwhelmed by the emotions and pain of MG. We need to be kind in admitting that we may be unable to hold ourselves together alone. A therapist may seem like a hassle, but they can significantly help with the long, complex healing process. They have the training to help us cope and navigate our feelings in healthy ways. Supportive relationships can also help build our confidence to confront challenges.

Although MG can be distracting, let’s take a step in the right direction by making time to heal from our trauma.

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Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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2021 Myasthenia Gravis Survey Results

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Myasthenia Gravis News conducted a survey from Feb. 11-March 28 to gain greater insight into the characteristics of the MG community and disease management. Results of the survey have now been published. Click on the image to view the infographic, and click here to read the story.