PTSD and 'Jelly-legs' symptoms?

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I was diagnosed with PTSD ten years ago - after 42 years in an abusive marriage. I have all the common symptoms: - nightmares, triggers, flashbacks, agoraphobia, hypervigilance, anxiety and panic attacks, etc., etc. However, I also have ‘jelly-legs’ attacks…well that’s what I call them!

 I can be OK one minute and then know nothing until I ‘wake’ up on the floor or ground (if outside when they happen). My neighbours have witnessed a few of these ‘events’ and they tell me that it looks like my legs just give way underneath me (jelly-legs) and then my arms thrust about and my legs jerk around. My head moves from side to side and I moan quite a bit with a few groaned “No’s” mixed in during this time, which usually lasts for around twenty minutes. I ‘wake’ with the most excruciating ‘burning’ pain running up and down the back of my head and no feeling in my legs. After a while the sensation comes back into my legs, first as ‘pins and needles’ and then soon after this like short, sharp electric shocks. I sometimes get muscle spasms in my legs also - and my toes turn upwards on these occasion.

For the last seven months I have been getting help from a local ‘Mental Health’ team and I really appreciate all the effort that they are putting in to helping me cope with my PTSD symptoms. However, last week my Psychologist (who is at present teaching me ‘Coping Strategy’ technique for when I am ready to try EMDR treatment, passed a comment which encouraged me to believe that - People with PTSD don’t have ‘Jelly-legs’ attacks.

This is really ‘getting’ to me. It’s been jumping around in my head most of the time during the last few days. I’ve always had ‘Jelly-legs’ attacks – usually about three a week, ever since my PTSD was first diagnosed. I don’t know which is worse, the repeating nightmares that make me not want to sleep because they terrify me so much or the ‘Jelly-legs’ that are so painful and leave me exhausted, not to mention the ‘damage’ I usually find afterwards e.g. bruises, scratches, cuts, etc.

Does anyone else on this forum with PTSD have ‘Jelly-legs’,  or is it possible that I was wrongly diagnosed ten years ago?!

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  • Posted

    Hey valerie, the 'jelly legs' attacks you talk about, do you black out ever during one of these attacks or find that you cant speak??? These attacks sound an awful and im sorry that you have them but they do sound like they are seizures more then anything else, has seizures ever been mentoned in your talk with medical professionals? Let me know.


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  • Posted

    Hi valerie,

    I'm so sorry to hear your story, what an awful time of it you've had.

    I too have PTSD [complex] and I can confirm all the usual symptoms.

    In my case I have a sort of jelly abdomen. I get an overall churning from chest to crotch like my insides are swirling about in a blender.

    If I'm standing I have to sit and if I get up during this, it then extends to my arms and legs and I feel dizzy or a type of confusion fog clouds my thinking and leads to more panic.

    My health professionals didn't comment much so I believed this was a 'normal' symptom of PTSD.

    I also have a type of tremour/shaking feeling all over when the swirling stops which is a worry.

    I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful for your situation but I can only speak from my experience of this. Although I would like to research this now.

    I wish you all the best.


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  • Posted

    Hi Valerie, sounds like you're having a horrid time!  Never suffered from jelly legs but know ptsd can throw up a whole range of extreme stress related symptoms, I am the same age as you which is one reason for my reply the other one is I too suffer from ptsd which I only discovered in March through having c.b.t but this was the worst thing to do!  I hope your doctor is sympathetic to you and helps you and doesn't offer you antidepressants like mine did!
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  • Posted


    Yes jelly legs is normal when you are having a panic attack. 

    I tell myself that jelly legs will still take me and what is the worse thing that could happen?

    It is easy to say but I will say it, don't give in to these episodes as you are so not alone and your problem is magnified all over the world.

    When you have an attack tell yourself that it will pass and somebody else in the world is feeling like you are right this minute.

    If you socialize and take up any opportunity to do something different you will feel better for doing things.


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