Happiful November 2019

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two near-death experiences have

really affected me.

“In 2011 I fell ill, and was

misdiagnosed at the hospital. I had

pneumonia, but because it wasn’t

caught early enough it collapsed

my lung. I ended up in an intensive

care unit, and had two litres of

fluid drained from my lung.”

In 2015, Chloe fell ill again, after

experiencing symptoms such as

severe weight loss and stomach

cramps for two years, but doctors

told her it was ‘women’s troubles’.

“I ended up in hospital with

suspected appendicitis,” she says.

“I had my appendix removed, but I

continued to get worse. I was lying

in a hospital bed in horrendous

pain when I started hearing

popping sounds from my stomach.

“My large bowel had actually

started to perforate. I was rushed

to theatre, had a three-hour

operation to remove my large

intestine, and woke up with a

stoma bag. I was traumatised.”

Chloe says that now her anxiety

about her health and misdiagnosis

has increased – if she starts to

feel remotely ill she will panic

and have an emotional flashback,

giving her the same feelings she

had both times in hospital.

These experiences have changed

her personality and dependency

on people, making her more of

an emotional person, who has

difficulty controlling her moods.

“I struggle with suicidal feelings,

and feelings of hopelessness,” she

says. “I’m in therapy and working

on it, but I know I’ve got a long

road ahead of me. I’m thankful to

have a correct diagnosis so I know

what I’m working with, and so I can

understand my symptoms better.”

WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU

HAVE CPTSD

For anyone concerned about their

mental health, the first thing you

should do is speak to your GP, and

get in touch with a mental health

professional.

Specifically with CPTSD, Dr

Touroni says: “Trauma that has

happened over a long period of

time can sometimes take time to

unravel, so I’d encourage people to

be patient with themselves.

“Healing is very much possible,

but it can take time. When

someone has felt very powerless,

it is about building up that sense of

self and empowerment gradually.

Practise self-care as much as

possible, and do the things that

nourish you. Getting outdoors,

plenty of fresh air, grounding

techniques, and practising

mindfulness breathing exercises,

can all be really beneficial.”

For more information on CPTSD

and PTSD, and to find a

professional to support you,

visit counselling-directory.org.uk

For more from Hattie, follow

her on Twitter and Instagram

@hattiegladwell

November 2019 • happiful.com • 57