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  • The thing that has probably helped me most is to tell my story—the story of my emergency trip to the hospital, subsequent surgeries and lengthy time in the Intensive Care Unit, the delirium, hallucinations and temporary psychosis, and the recovery—physical and psychological. I have told my story so many ways to anyone who would listen, whether at the dinner table with family or friends (not great for anyone’s appetite), in my drawings, in my films, at conferences or during film screening question and answer periods, on the radio, on my website (www.nancyandrews.net) and blog (artandscienceofdelirium.wordpress.com), or to psycho-therapists and doctors. Telling my story has helped me to process the trauma, to externalize it and to help relieve some of the symptoms of flashbacks and nightmares (post-traumatic stress disorder). Seven years have passed since the original events, and I am much, much better. I am able to lead a productive and satisfying life. Still certain stressors and triggers can take me back to the fear and horror of that time, but I bounce back quicker and I understand what is going on in my brain, mind and body in response to certain events and images. I hope that the millions of people—patients, friends and families— who have experienced similar trauma and recovery from critical illness will share their stories. In this way, we can transform ourselves to be healthier, be more at peace, and get the help we need; and we can transform society and assist healthcare providers in understanding patients and families who have dealt with medical traumas and lived through severe illness and/or near-death experiences.
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