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My Checklist for Facing Moments of Crisis With EDS

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I was sitting at a stop-light when I heard the squealing of tires and suddenly felt a resounding crashing thud sound that rattled through the frame of my car and through me and my friend.

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It was only a rear-end, but my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome doesn’t allow me to take any bump or bruise lightly. Immediately, I was forced to reckon with whatever physical manifestations my EDS chose to take. For the next hour as I dealt with the individual at fault and the police, I was scattered mentally, trying to compensate for the pain I felt while making sure my friend was OK and my parents knew what had transpired.

It wasn’t until days later that I allowed myself to rethink what had happened and how I could have checked in with myself better to make sure I was OK physically before making anything worse.

In case of future emergency, here’s my plan.

  1. If you’re able, move the vehicle to a safe zone where you won’t be put in danger.
  2. Sit for minute or two to do some deep breathing. Though it’s a moment of intense crisis, try to come back to yourself to check in with how you’re doing.
  3. As you breathe, mentally run through the follow questions: Is it painful when I breathe? Can I move all of my fingers and toes? Am I lightheaded or dizzy? How are my ankles and elbows? Can I move them comfortably?
  4. If you feel like you’re starting to lose control, make a fist with your hands, squeeze momentarily and let go. Repeat until you have grounded a bit more.
  5. If that doesn’t work, name things in your car aloud to yourself or in your head as a way to ground yourself into your current environment.

Moments of chaotic crisis often cause us to lose touch with ourselves by way of disassociation which causes us physical ramifications. Checking in with yourself are the moments that matter the most.

Allow yourself the time you need to do a self-check in and breathe through the stress. After you’ve assessed whether or not you’re OK, inform your loved ones and take the necessary steps from there.

Getty Image by tommaso79

Originally published: December 22, 2018
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