PTSD and Me

Today we took my son to hospital for his pre-op appointment. In just over two weeks he’ll be having grommets put in both ears. It is by any standards a very simple, straightforward operation. He’s a day case, he’ll be home before we know it. Practically my main worry is the nil by mouth thing, have you ever tried refusing a toddler food? So what’s my beef? PTSD, that’s the tricky little fella currently pecking at my head.

When he was born we had a rough ride, you can read about it here if you’re keen, but the overview is, tricky pregnancy, very tricky birth, poorly baby requiring some horrific tests. His screams still haunt me.

Afterwards I thought I had PND. I mentioned it to a nurse about 10 months after he was born, I reached out for help and she dismissed me. I struggled on and when he was 18 months old I flipped and finally found a GP who would listen to me, I was assessed and they concluded I had PTSD.

It was a fairly textbook case. Nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, panic attacks. If I went near a hospital I’d flip out. If I had to take him to the GP or to see anyone medical I’d panic, I’d worry for days, have nightmares and then the flashbacks.

I sought help, found a lovely therapist who helped me work through a lot of the hurt and it did get me to the point where I could take him to the GP. But this, this is different. He’ll be in the hospital where they held him down and to all intents and purposes tortured him for an unhappy afternoon. His screams echoing down the corridors and bringing all the new mums in the post-natal ward to their doors wondering who was murdering a baby.

Just thinking about that now while I type it I can hardly breathe. Today went well, his appointment was fine, the nurses were lovely. It couldn’t have gone better. But now we are home, night has fallen, he is asleep in his bed and I don’t have to be outwardly calm and strong for him, the doubts and demons have crept in.

I am full of panic and concern for him. My inability to protect him; guilt that my shoddy DNA means he has to go through this; worry about what is to come and how he will react and how I will respond. I am full to the brim of panic and I hate myself.

I can see it now, it’s like a chain reaction. The PTSD is linked to my anxiety which is linked to my depression. I can see myself spiralling and circling in a mess of self-loathing, anxiety and bitterness unless I pull myself out sharply.

Right now I’m staring out of the window into the black of the night, the cold rain hitting the window, a perfect picture to match my dark mood. But I must snap out of this, if not for my sake then for his. I can’t help but feel that the next three weeks are going to test me and my resilience. I can and will be calm and strong for my son. I can and will be calm and strong for my son.


8 responses to “PTSD and Me

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I think you’re so strong to be facing your fears,anxiety and PTSD and dealing with them in such a strong way for the sake of your son. it certainly isn’t an easy thing to do and says so much about you. I will be thinking of you over the coming weeks.

  2. This couldn’t have been easy to share but it sounds like you are doing absolutely everything you can for your little man which is all a mum can do. Lots of positive thoughts for you both in the next few weeks!

  3. Lovely honest post hun! hoping you work through it all and overcome your fears xx

  4. Gosh that must be so hard to deal with, well done for the progress so far x

  5. Lorna Mai (@TheColourQueen)

    Sorry you’re struggling with this. I will keep you in my prayers. It’s one of those situations that because you probably look fine, people will think there’s nothing wrong. Am pleased you found someone who could diagnose you. Well done for being strong enough to fight and for sharing your story! #sharefriday

  6. This is such a brave post to share such close feelings, I really feel this is massive step in helping you to get it out and cope in the best way you can! I’m sure your children are so so proud of you and you’re doing a fab job in protecting them in the best way you can. Try to stay strong, always here 🙂

  7. Oh my goodness, my heart goes out to you. I started my blog when my son was 10 months old, mainly because the horror of his pregnancy and birth was too much for me to cope with. People around me were tired of hearing me talk about it (I should have got over it by then) and I needed an outlet. Around the same time I went to my GP, finally, seeking help for flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares and low moods. He diagnosed PND but I still to this day do not agree. In fact I was arguing my case only this week!! I had been in touch with the Birth Trauma Association since my son was born and a friend and I set up the Manchester support group. Through talking to those ladies I realised I was suffering from PTSD. By this point my son was 2 and I had Bella. But it was a relief to know what was happening to me. I can relate to your fear about your son’s procedure. My son suffered from severe reflux and up until last summer was facing surgery under GA at Alder Hey. He had been born while I was under GA and the thought of him having to go through it broke my heart. Luckily in the end he did not need surgery. I’m so sorry for the long comment! I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone and if you ever need someone to talk to you know where I am!
    x x x

  8. Sending you lots of love and hugs and crossed fingers (not in a wierd, in an envelope sort of way!) the brain is a funny thing isn’t it. I am hoping that by getting some of these thoughts out of your head and on to your blog it will be a release. Anxiety and depression are no joke are they. Counselling is incredibly helpful as is admitting to yourself and others how you feel. Lots of support for you as you can hopefully see and I am hoping that you draw strength and splice from that.
    Very best of luck. XxxxX

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