I’ve thought back many times to the experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in it’s strongest form for me. I feel like I cannot fully explain the depth and terrifying experience that it is. I want to try to explain how PTSD felt like for me.
Remember, this can be different for everyone, so just because you don’t think or do the same exact things I did, doesn’t mean you don’t have some form of PTSD. Also, I am not exactly sure how to separate what is normal with grief and losing a child, and what is something that comes from PTSD because mine were experiences that are meshed together.
PTSD feels like…
Putting my baby to bed, telling myself that God will take care of her, that if she’s meant to die in her sleep, she will and there’s nothing I can do about it. Telling myself that over and over, but yet popping up in an absolute panic 5 minutes later absolutely certain she is gone.
Having this ball of stress inside of my chest that was slowly eating away at me. I felt like I was being eaten alive from the inside out. The stress is insane.
Not being able to separate what is a real threat to my child’s life, and my body just reacting, and my brain thinking with absolute certainty they were gone.
Watching other people put their kids for naps, and not being able to relax because they wouldn’t check on them, and I couldn’t believe how relaxed they were.
Checking on Brilynn every 5 minutes of her life. She was under hawk eyes when she was a baby. I couldn’t leave her, if I needed to go to therapy, I needed to know that they would watch her as good as I was.
When people would hold Brilynn I would watch them, because they probably didn’t have their hand on her belly making sure she was still breathing, and what if she stopped breathing and they didn’t notice?
Driving home on 30 minute drive, and having to turn on the lights every 5 minutes to make sure all the kids were okay.
Not having room for love for my kids or my husband, because the stress was so strong inside of me, that feeling love was almost impossible.
So busy trying to make sure there is nothing dangerous around my kids or my husband, that I don’t have one ounce of energy to enjoy life.
Panicking over and over again, that my kids have died in their sleep. I had no doubt in my mind that they had.
Replaying the day I found Aria over and over again.
Battling my mind all the time in an exhausting and terrifying battle
Learning that your mental health is precarious and fragile and can be taken away in an instant.
Honestly, these are just some of the things. This is what happened over and over again for me. And if I hadn’t done EMDR and spent my year in therapy, I have no doubt I would still be in that high of a stress state.
I’m so so thankful and grateful that I can feel peace in my body now. After working through that trauma, I can feel gentleness and love. Do I still have my moments? Of course? Is my PTSD completely gone. Not at all. I still live with it every. Single. Day. Every day. It’s still there, and some moments are better than others. I will probably deal with it the rest of my life, but you know what I’m thankful for? I’m so thankful I took the steps to seeking help, and I did the painful and hard work I needed to do, to get me where I am today.
Many people think once you get PTSD you are forever in that state. It is a brain injury that’s real. But it is possible to rebuild those pathways, and make the symptoms of PTSD less, so that life is manageable, and you are able to function on a more stable level. I believe true PTSD doesn’t just go away on it’s own. If you don’t take steps to get help and re-wire the pathways in your brain to function normally, the pathways of trauma will keep getting deeper and stronger.
It’s not easy to share these things, but I do, because I want others who have PTSD to know that it IS possible to get help. It IS not a life sentence, that you are now living with forever. The trauma, the pain, the suffering are very real, but you can work at fighting back your brain health. So friend, if you are suffering, please please please go get help. I am happy to answer any questions to the best of my abilities, but for real, seeking a professionals help is so important when you are dealing with this kind of injury.