Patient Voices #BreathlessNotVoiceless

Ian Briggs

“I had massive anxiety and flashbacks”

Ian’s diagnosis of PH led to him receiving treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and he still struggles with anxiety today.

“My route to diagnosis was a slow process; it took about three years and ended up with me in an intensive care unit with multiple organ failure, unable to breathe, and being told I had a 50/50 chance of survival. It was literally the toss of a coin whether I would live the next few days.

There was the prospect of my daughter growing up without a dad. And that still could happen, because it’s an awful disease – you just don’t know how long you have left.

I struggled really hard with an uncertain future and ended up having two-and-a-half years of therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety, which was a direct result of everything that happened in hospital. I had massive anxiety and flashbacks, and I was unable to sleep.  Every night for at least year, I worried about stopping breathing in my sleep.  

I felt like I didn’t want to burden people with all this though. Do you actually want your partner to know you’re scared to sleep because you are worried you’re going to die? Do you want to tell your parents or friends that?

Through the therapy I realised I was grieving, for my life before and everything I could do. My whole world had been turned upside down, like a snow globe.

The thing I still struggle with today, even after going through all the therapy, is anxiety around my health. I also have anxiety around medical procedures; it’s very easy to become overwhelmed and literally go to pieces.

Having PH has left me disappointed more than anything. I feel cheated. Cheated out of my life, and disappointed with how things have turned out.”