Kathy Griffin is opening up about her most “terrifying” symptom of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD).
Just days after revealing her recent diagnosis with CPTSD, the 62-year-old comedian posted a TikTok about the scary, hours-long panic attacks she experiences as a result of the mental health condition.
“Since I’ve been talking on here about PTSD, I had a freaking eight-hour attack yesterday,” she told her 167,000 followers. “Eight hours of freaking writhing in pain in the bed.”
She went on to explain how she’s been “plagued” with “terrifying panic attacks” over the past year.
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“Sometimes they last a few hours, or more typically, they last at least a full day, if not multiple days in a row,” she said. “I feel silly even telling you this, because I always thought PTSD was just for veterans and stuff. During my attacks, I typically vomit quite a bit and often have to go to the ER just to get IV fluids.”
To combat this, Griffin sometimes goes on walks, like she did in the aforementioned TikTok. In fact, she said she was “almost mid-anxiety attack” while filming the video.
“It feels good to be walking my way through it,” she added. “I just keep telling myself it won’t last forever.”
Griffin recently revealed she was diagnosed with an ‘extreme case’ of CPTSD.
Griffin first opened up about her CPTSD diagnosis last week in another super candid TikTok.
“Let’s talk about PTSD. Never talked about it publicly,” Griffin began. “You can laugh or whatever, but I’ve been diagnosed with complex PTSD, and it’s called an extreme case.”
She said her symptoms began in 2017 — which, as People reported, was shortly after Griffin became embroiled in a major controversy that seriously derailed her career. She was also diagnosed with Stage I lung cancer in 2021, which “didn’t help” her mental health struggles.
Despite her intense anxiety and panic attacks, Griffin assured her fans that she has support and resources at her disposal.
What is complex PTSD?
Griffin isn’t alone: CPTSD affects about 3.8 percent of adults in the United States. While PTSD, or post-traumatic stress order, is typically associated with a one-time event, CPTSD stems from “ongoing, inescapable, relational trauma.” According to the CPTSD Foundation, it often stems from growing up in an unsafe or unstable home environment.
Adult survivors of complex trauma can experience a host of disconcerting psychological symptoms, including anxiety, disassociation, flashbacks, and severe depression. They are also at a higher risk for physical ailments like coronary heart disease and COPD.
According to Mayo Clinic, CPTSD treatment protocols usually involve therapy — including Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), which Griffin said she is “going to try out.”
“My good pal Sia has been helping me out. She recommended a really good doctor,” the comedian shared.
Celebrities like Griffin are changing the narrative around PTSD.
Griffin said it herself: Due to how popular media depicts PTSD, many people mistakenly believe it can only impact war veterans, survivors of sexual assault, or other people who’ve experienced violent traumas. But thanks to frank conversations like this, that narrative is changing.
The comedian joins a growing number of celebrities who are speaking out about their mental health struggles. Many are candid about the power of therapy to health address isssues like depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
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