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Thread: Is this PTSD?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Is this PTSD?

    My brother died of cancer 6 months ago. From when he was diagnosed until he died (which was about 6 months) I lived through it all alongside him. I have always suffered from anxiety and panic disorder and have problems with health anxiety especially so having someone so close to me going through this was very difficult.
    Everything he went through, I made myself go through it with him. I felt so guilty because I knew I dreaded his death as much because I feared how I would cope with my anxiety as much as I knew I would miss him.

    Anyway for six months life was hard and I was filled with anxiety and expectation. When he finally died I did actually feel some relief, that he was free of the misery and I could start living my life again.

    I thought I had managed so well but I remember that I didn't cry much at the time. I just thought that I'd already done all the crying and mourning while he was ill and I accepted that I had coped and could now get on with my life.

    Now six months later I've fallen to pieces. I haven't actually put it down to my brother's death because it's more about me worrying about my own symptoms, but I've noticed that I keep thinking about what symptoms he had and thinking that I have the same and questioning whether I have the dreaded big C too.

    I've been unable to go and visit his grave because I'm scared it will stir up more anxiety.

    I have this awful feeling in my head which has been going on for a month now. I feel ill as though I have flu but without any symptoms, no temperature but feel like I have a fever. My head is fuzzy and achey. I've been to the doctor who couldn't find anything but put it down to a sinus infection and treated me. It didn't work.
    I don't know if I'm anxious because I'm ill or because I'm ill because I'm anxious!

    I worry that if I put this down to anxiety and it's something worse that needs treatment then I'm wasting time when I should be having some investigation done.
    That's what my brother did - left it too late.

    Is it possible that I'm just reacting to my brother's death now six months later?
    Does one feel ill with PTSD?
    I'd appreciate some help or advice here.
    Thanks very much

  2. #2

    Re: Is this PTSD?

    Becky - I'm not medical - but this sounds like delayed grief. You say as much in your own post. Might I suggest you try CRUSE - which is a bereavement organisation. Grief takes many different shapes and forms.

    You talk about getting on with your life, however your brother - who is now gone, both before and during his final illness was A PART of your life. That part is now gone, and you have to figure out how to live life now when a part of you has also gone. Theres a GAP if you like, a void. In there is your grief. And its a complicated emotion.

    When you saw your doctor you described physical symptoms to them, and thats what you were treated for. But it sopunds as though emotionally you have some stuff you need to let out. Get in touch with CRUSE.

    Good luck


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Is this PTSD?

    Thanks very much Patrick. I have had a look at their site. Unfortunately I live in South Africa and they don't have branches here. I would love to chat to someone. I will have a look at the information available on their site. I'm sure it'll be a help. I would really just love someone to tell me whether I'm ill or not. I'm so tired of feeling this way. If I knew it was due to grief and anxiety I could look for help along those lines. The worry is probably making me feel worse. Anxiety always tends to exagerate symptoms.
    Thanks again for reading my post and offering this advice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    , , United Kingdom.

    Re: Is this PTSD?

    Hi Becky,

    Iím so sorry to hear about your brother.

    I lost a good friend earlier this year and Dad died about 8 years ago. For the first month or so nothing seemed real and it was sort of like my life was happening by itself and I was just looking on. Both times it was about 4-6 weeks before it really began to sink in. So I think itís quite natural to think you had got over it at the time when you probably hadnít at all.

    It might be an idea to have another chat with your doctor, both about the physical symptoms and about the way youíre feeling emotionally, just to reassure yourself, but stress and anxiety can cause all sorts of symptoms that do feel very real, and I think youíll find thatís probably all it is.

    It might have been that before and after your brother died you were too caught up in it all to feel so anxious, and itís only just starting to resurface again now those initial emotions are starting to lessen.

    ďIs it possible that I'm just reacting to my brother's death now six months later?Ē

    Six months isnít very long at all when it was somebody we cared a lot about.
    It takes time Becky

    Take care,

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