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Is it normal to break down after brain surgery (craniotomy)?

By Anonymous April 6, 2010 - 11:56am
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I had an emotional breakdown after surgery...and really dont have much memory of the first week afterwards....is that normal?

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EmpowHER Guest

I was told woul only be in the hospital for 4 days, went in on on 8/9/16, when I realized it was 8/24/16, I completely freaked out, then to find out I had a mini stroke did not help, I just wanted to go home.

August 28, 2016 - 7:15am
EmpowHER Guest

yes, i had the same experience. i felt it was a heavy depressing darkness from being put under for so long. i bet it had to do with all of what is written here as well and the trauma that we experience from what just happened. i think because we can not deal with the truth of what is happening before hand as we have to stay tough, we deal with it when it is over. whenever anything is too big to deal with we have to go into shock and deal with it from a shut down place later = depression. give it time.

April 6, 2010 - 9:06pm
HERWriter Guide

Dear Anon

Thanks so much for finding Empowher and welcome!

To quickly answer your question - yes, your situation is VERY normal.

Firstly, any kind of brain surgery is terrifying. The consequences of brain surgery can be dire if something goes wrong. This is the brain we're dealing with!

The days after any surgery are often a fog for many patients. Pain, lack of sleep, stress and constant interruptions from staff taking vitals and checking up on a person can cause memory loss. Pain medication can also cause memory loss.

Exhaustion, medication, stress and fear of the unknown after serious surgery is a direct path to an emotional breakdown. We tend to be very nervous beforehand but once the surgery is over, the entire situation simply becomes overwhelming. Hospitals are not comfortable, friendly places to stay and are not conducive to feeling warm and safe after such a big surgery.

I had a crying fit once when I was told I had to stay a second night after an emergency appendectomy. I just wanted to be home and had a 30 minute episode in my horrible little cubicle. So I can imagine how you feel after brain surgery.

I'd like you to read an article in Harvard Magazine regarding post-operative depression. I think it'll help you a lot and help you realize you are most certainly not alone. Check it out here: http://harvardmagazine.com/2000/07/an-understandable-compli.html

What kind of support do you have, in terms of family and friends? Have you spoken to anyone about how you feel? Do you think therapy would help you? Are you still feeling this way or do you feel the stress lessening?

Finally, I'm not sure why you needed brain surgery but was it successful? Do you have a good prognosis?

And please read another readers story of her recovery from a craniotomy: http://www.empowher.com/community/share/recovering-brain-surgery

Please update us on some of my questions and tell me what you think of the information give above. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

April 6, 2010 - 1:57pm
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