You never know you have it. You hear about it all the time: men and women coming back from war, paramedics witnessing horrendous events, physicians losing children during surgery. These are the types of things you expect a person with PTSD to have encountered at some point. It’s what I expected. I never thought I would get that diagnosis. I’ve been through a lot, but haven’t we all? Trauma is just another word for bad things happening to people. What makes me have PTSD? I haven’t even considered joining the armed forces, much less fighting in a war. I haven’t witnessed catastrophe after catastrophe. That’s not me. There are so many more people who have been through so much more than I have. I’ve just been living life, one day at a time, with whatever God has in store for me.
Until I wasn’t. I wasn’t living my life. I wasn’t making the most of things. I wasn’t me. I was depressed, sure, I knew that. So, I went to the doctor (psychiatrist), because I know the signs of depression and when to seek help. I sought help. One of the first things I was asked, after giving a brief and semi-descriptive history of events in my life, was “Did you know you suffer from PTSD?”……um….no? I barely know what it is! And could you explain why you think I have it? Because I don’t. I’m fine, really. It’s just depression. It’ll go away. I’ve done this for years. “And obviously that’s worked so well….” Did I mention my psych is a little patronizing?
Okay, so obviously things aren’t working out “well.” That doesn’t mean you jump to PTSD….like seriously, I’m googling, as he is talking.” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-did you hear the word ‘traumatic’?? It is what you’ve been through. You haven’t dealt with it, and now you are here. And I am going to help you. But you have to be willing to accept it.” Yeah, so I was schooled on PTSD, as well as other things, but mostly acceptance of the fact that I have been through some hellish things, and I do not like to deal with them, admit anything’s wrong, or be out of control. I want control all of the time. At home, at the doctor’s office, with my kids, with my husband, with the way I brush my teeth, etc. As a Christian, I know this isn’t right. God has control over everything: life, death, decisions, health, family, food, birds, grass. Who do you think gave the songbird his song? Yet, I want control, due to trauma, thus leading back to the post traumatic stress disorder diagnosis.
Sometimes things play out in funny ways, and we just don’t see it coming. We don’t realize we have suppressed memories for scores of years, but we have. And one day, we have to deal with them.
Today, I was playing football in the yard with the boys and my husband. I caught the ball and A (middle child) went to “hold me”-tackling by holding not by throwing down on the ground. The minute his arms went around me, I couldn’t breathe, not because his grip was too tight, but because I wasn’t in control of the situation. I immediately subconsciously went back to that place of being out of control of the situation, of being the victim. I’d like to be the bigger person and say I handled it well, dealt with it , and we finished playing. I didn’t. I quit. And what’s worse is I probably made him feel like it was his fault. He’s only 10. It was not his fault. It was mine. I should have been able to deal, but I didn’t. I really have high hopes that one day I will though. Because feeling like a horrible mother, is not how I want to spend my life.