Cardiac psychologist and heart attack survivor Dr. Stephen Parker recently described a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that rang a bell for him after his own cardiac event. The PTSD symptom is called “a sense of a foreshortened future“. In other words, after a traumatic event – in this case, a heart attack – the patient “does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span.” As Dr. Steve tells his own story of this symptom:
“Three months after the heart attack, I went to Home Depot to buy something for the house. I walked inside, saw the plethora of nice things to make a nice house, and started feeling extremely depressed.
“What was the point? I knew I was going to die within a short time.
“I walked out without buying anything. I could hear a critical voice in my head repeating: ‘Get over it.’ But I could no more get over it at that point than I could fly to the moon. (Which is about where my mind and soul were hanging out).
“There is nothing like the sense of a foreshortened future to un-motivate behavior.”
© 2010 Stephen Parker
Q: Have you too experienced fear of a ‘foreshortened future’ after a traumatic event?