As a first time expecting mom, I read books on what to expect during pregnancy and the first years of raising a child.
The books where filled with all types of interesting facts around parenting. I also read information on Postpartum Depression but that was not what would become my journey.
PTSD, also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become my journey.
For a few years I have suspected that I have PTSD but I kept shaking it off. I mean it’s easy to not focus on yourself when your child’s medical life is so complex. Over the years I have developed a lot of tricks to help me keep things under control. This past spring, things started get a bit crazy with Lilly. I also reviewed the book Does My Child Have PTSD? By Jolene Philo. Then my daughter’s paediatrician commented that she was concerned about me developing PTSD.
I started seeing a counsellor and apparently I do have markers of PTSD. Now I have to have a discussion with my family doctor about it.
My emotions froze when Lilly was born. One thing I used to tell myself for a while was, “Lilly went through the trauma not me.” This is a myth in itself, which I learned when I had A-man. There was nothing normal about Lilly’s newborn days.
13 Days in NICU, respiratory support, MRI’s, and an EEG replaced things like bonding with your baby, introducing your child to grandparents and so many things.
When life started looking “normal,” is when my emotions unfroze and I was hit all at once with fear, anxiety and depression. The anxiety attacks would hit me during unexpected times like sex, in the shower or shopping. At the same time Lilly started having cerebral palsy twitches and seizure like activity.
I quickly learned to put my emotions in a box and deal with Lilly’s needs. I couldn’t deal with ER trips, medicine changes and hospital stays on top of panic attacks. Something had to give so I learned ways to deal with it. Over time this has became a theme with me. I have taught myself to focus on the facts and not the emotions.
Over the years I have learned ways to keep things under control; prayer, meditation over scripture, saying No, positive music, working out, have a positive goal to focus on and blogging are just a few. For the most part it works except when things escalate with Lilly’s medical issues. Today I am sharing some of the things I struggle with.
Regression & Illness – Lilly deals with a physical regression that also seems to happen whenever she gets a really bad virus. The mixture of the two can take months before things settle down in our house. During that time I often let my mental health self-care slip. It usually starts small like skipping a prayer time or work out then escalates as time passes. Then it just leads to a huge hot mess!
Health – My PTSD affects my health. It causes me to lack sleep, escalates my fatigue levels, messes with my stress hormones and my weight and will often trigger asthma symptoms. Sometimes my body reacts to things that it shouldn’t. It’s a daily struggle to keep on top of everything and can be quite frustrating.
Being Social – Big groups were never my thing before Lilly and now I try to avoid them. Idle chit chat exhausts me. Trying to read body language and wading through moods can drain me emotionally. I’m lucky the people I surround myself with get it. They can tell that I need to be more quiet by the look on my face and then they let me just fill a seat. Sometimes I enter conversations and other times I just relax drinking tea.
Surgery – Lilly’s upcoming surgery is a huge trigger right now. Sometimes it can be hard to focus on the positive when as parents, we have already had the worse case scenario with her. People will make comments like, “everything is going to be fine,” “nothing is going to happen.” The person inside of me is thinking “no it’s not because the worst has happened.”
I have never seen battle, fought a fire, or been a first responder. My life consists of cooking, laundry, play-dates and drinking way too much coffee. I also battle PTSD due to a medical trauma. It’s not who I am but part of my testimony.