How to cope with the trauma of illness?

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Hi guys, first time poster! I really like this forum

Quick backstory! Both my bosses at my job and I got sick in August 2018 with a mystery virus that was never identified. I was fatigued for 7 months and I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone here how traumatic that was.

Flash forward to August 2019, and I got EBV! (on the SAME DAY that I got sick last year). My case seems to be pretty mild compared to a lot of people on here, but I haven't been able to escape the fatigue and pains. I'm 2.5 months in now.

I completely agree with everyone here that the stress of having this illness perpetuates a lot of the symptoms, and the key to recovering faster is to try to be calm and patient. I feel like I'm a particularly challenging case because I got EBV while I was freshly traumatized from the previous illness. I've been waking up every morning in absolute crisis, knowing that my worst fear of "going back to the dark place (aka seemingly never-ending fatigue)" has been realized. Does anyone have any advice for me, or maybe some of those "you WILL get better!" comments that I see under other people's posts? I don't really have any emotional support IRL, as my friends and family seem...uncomfortable with my misery and just kind of keep their distance.

Thanks everyone

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  • Posted

    Hi Maggie,

    I'm not sure I have much to offer in the way of advice about the trauma as I spend most of my days in a panic-flap thanks to this virus, but I thought I'd say hi as you and I are on a similar timeline with ebv - I'm 8 weeks in now.

    I find some days are better than other when it comes to the mental side of dealing with it. Little things like making sure I constantly have a drink to keep fluids up, or sitting outside to get some air and sunshine, or having a bath with epsom salts - make me feel a little better (the psychology of self-care, I guess).

    But the biggest comfort for me has been this forum - reading through people's posts, noting that many other have had weird symptoms or experiences similar to mine. I would have been lost or institutionalised if it wasn't for this resource.

    Craig in particular is a huge support to everyone - and is probably the best at reassurance of the 'you WILL get better' kind 😃

    I'm sorry you're going through this virus - but also that you got double-whammied. The trauma is completely understandable. I've struggled mostly with anxiety since the virus kicked in, and I'm considering medication to alleviate it while it's this intense (haven't decided about that part yet), but that's not for everyone.

    Be kind to yourself x

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the reply! Haha yes, it seems like Craig is quite the apt commenter- they really are doing God's work on that one. May we both feel better soon! I would personally not recommend benzos. I tried them in between illnesses, when I was dealing with anxiety/ptsd, and I found that I got drowsy and woozy from them, which mimicked my symptoms and made me freak out even more instead of making me feel better...oops. Can't say anything about other medications for anxiety, though. I'm taking gabapentin for sleep, and that is prescribed as a mood stabilizer. It really helped me get better last time, but it could just have been a coincidence (started taking it 7 months in).

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the kind words Emma, I'm hoping so much you are feeling settled today and just a word of encouragement that this anxiety and ALL the horrible symptoms of this virus do and will pass - you will get the breakthrough you need Emma and the victory over this - I have faith in that and trusting that God is working on your healing right now behind the scenes, and that the manifestations will be seen - hang in there.

      Craig

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  • Posted

    Hi Maggie,

    So sorry to hear you've been through such an awful time this past 15 months or so, absolutely I can empathise like Emma and others on here of how painful and draining an experience it is to go through more than a year of fatigue and your body not feeling horrible or not right every day. Maggie I empathise as for me it was one of the worst experiences of my life and it was life changing in many ways too, made me realise how precious health was and how much we take for granted, and I'm still so grateful that God helped me through that time and back on my feet again and to a good level of health.

    One thing I absolutely wanted to say Maggie is that truly truly truly you WILL get better! And that is coming from me as someone who was very low and distressed and anxious throughout this virus, and often it just felt out of my control and I knew that I needed a higher power (God) to get me through as I couldn't do it myself. Taking vitamins and herbs definitely helped me during recovery, a good strong multi-vitamin per day, higher doses of Vitamin C and D, a B complex vitamin, Co-enzyme Q10 and immune boosting herbs like siberian ginseng, echinacea and oregano can all help! But of course again my disclaimer that I'm no doctor or expert in these things, just going on what helped me and my own research - it's always important to check for any interactions with other medication and conditions before starting a programme of supplements. Getting advice from a good herbal specialist can help - there is a really good one called Phillip Day in the UK who has a website www.credence.org, and who gives free advice if you email him at dayp@credence.org explaining what the issue is.

    Obviously Maggie I don't know your full situation, but just reading about your story / experience, one thing that crossed my mind was whether what you first experience in August last year was also EBV - sometimes within the first couple of years you can have a kind of mini reactivation in your system and it can show positive in your blood test again for a short time. And if that was the case - most definitely this could mean that you have been through the worst of this, the most intense and frightening stage, and are God willing moving towards full recovery. However, I am only speculating, please don't take this as read in any way, regardless the main thing is getting you on the road to recovery with the EBV you have been going through at the moment.

    Truly you will get through this and get better Maggie - I 100% believe that given loads of people on this site who have been through a rough time with their health for an extended period with this dreadful virus but then went on to make a full recovery. It takes time and patience with this thing unfortunately sometimes, and it's so hard to cope with that when feeling so unwell - but truly there is hope and recovery ahead - the worst phase is the first 2 or 3 months in my experience and the intensity definitely will lessen as time goes on, but don't panic if it takes a few months for complete recovery this can be very normal, and it can be very zig-zag sometimes up and down.

    Just wanted you to know I was thinking about you and to reassure you that with time I absolutely believe you will get better - I believe it in my heart and I believe that God is looking after you and going to get you back to FULL health again with a little more time. But for now and when in the midst of this virus the best thing is just to take it one day at a time, not look too far ahead and if you can try to do something that brings a little joy in your life every day, sometimes that doesn't take a lot of energy but can help lift your spirits - even if it's just watching a fav tv show or film or listening to music / relaxation apps, having a bath, phoning a friend - it can get you so down this virus Maggie and I truly empathise with that and want you to know that your confident, mood and body resilience does all return as you get better from this virus - which DEFINITELY I believe you will!

    And of course message any time on the forum - as you say it's a really great forum so many kind and genuine people who know the truth about this awful virus and how tough it can be to go through but also that there is real hope and recovery for the vast vast vast majority of people who go through it. Hang in there Maggie sending best wishes from Scotland and thinking about you - you WILL get better.

    Craig

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    • Posted

      Thank you Craig! I'm blessed to have you reply to my post, you seem like a really good person who genuinely wants to help others through this difficult time. If I make a full recovery, I am going to do what you do and write reassuring messages to others. I don't know for sure if the last virus I got was EBV, but evidence suggests it was not because my blood tests indicated that the antibodies that remain in your system for life after you get it were not present. My boss tested positive for those antibodies, but she is in her 50s and was probably exposed to the virus long before I was. This time, however, I developed IGM antibodies (acute), and THEN IGG (the permanent ones) which my doctor said was textbook for one's first infection with EBV. I have speculated that it is possible the IGG antibodies somehow disappeared, but I haven't found any evidence of this and my doctor, who is an infectious disease specialist, doesn't think this is possible. I've read some people on forums say they tested negative for EBV, but they didn't specify if that was a heterophile antibody test or not. ANYWAYS!! Thank you again for the support!! I'll continue to take my vitamins 😃

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    • Posted

      Hey Maggie,

      Thanks for your kind and blessed words, I'm really appreciative of those. I only wish I was as good as you say, I just know how painful and horrible this virus is and really want to let you and others know that there is hope and recovery from it, even though it can take a little time which can be so discouraging I know, but truly there is recovery ahead for you I really believe it!

      It sounds like you have done all the right things in terms of assessing if the illness you had last year was mono, goodness you've been through a rollercoaster time I just hope so much that things really settle down soon. I have also been going through an up and down time this last couple of years with various injuries and situations in my life and I do understand how weary and disheartening it can be, just now I am struggling with a foot problem and finding it difficult to get out and walk as much like I enjoy and it's been getting me down too.

      But believe me Maggie, there is hope. Asking God to give us the strength to keep going and put our trust in Him through our trials. Thinking about you and message any time....and remember absolutely you WILL make a FULL recovery from this virus - I believe that in my heart given everything I know from my own experience and recovery from the virus and from reading the recovery stories of so many other people who struggled badly for a number of months with the virus but made full recoveries. Hoping for a peaceful weekend for you.

      Craig

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