Hey guys! This time around I have an incredible woman who has graciously written her story regarding her PTSD diagnosis. She is brave. She is inspiring. She is a warrior.
"I was diagnosed with PTSD in early 2016 after going to my doctor - all because I was “burnt out”. I figured after everything I have gone through in my life, it wasn’t a huge shock, but still hearing that diagnosis was like “whoa, that explains a lot”. On that day, I was going in as a mom of 4, with a husband who worked shift work and a lot of the household tasks and child raising and getting to where kids needed to be fell on me. I felt like I was literally going to just break down, and wanted to run away. I couldn’t feel anything – happiness, sadness, anger – nope – just so tired. I knew something was wrong, as I was always the happy, bubbly, go-with-the-flow girl. I was debating whether or not to leave my husband; my biological mother had resurfaced after my uncle had passed away; and I felt I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t be a wife, a mother, a friend, all I wanted to do was just sleep and not wake up. And because I had an earlier diagnosis of depression and anxiety, I just chalked it up to these disorders rearing their ugly heads.
That wasn’t the case. My doctor sat me down and told me I had situational PTSD, along with my diagnoses of depression and anxiety. Finding out I would see my birth mother triggered my younger years and every traumatic event in my life came up and I couldn’t stop focusing on them.
My birth mother left my dad, my younger sister (3) and myself (7). We rarely kept in contact after that as she moved to another province, and then another country. I haven’t heard from her in years.
From the age of 21-25 I was in an abusive – verbal, emotional and physical - relationship. During that time, I had a stillborn full-term baby and never fully recovered from that loss. This is when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety a short time later. I went on medication for about a year and a half, until I ended up getting pregnant again 18 months later (with the same person). I left her father when I was six months pregnant. I was blessed with a beautiful healthy baby girl (who’s now 13). But that’s when I started to become paranoid over losing her. The loss of my son kept coming up and I would stay up for days watching her sleep because I was so scared of losing her too.
Knowing her father could pop up out of anywhere, with the temper he had, made me paranoid. He ended up stalking me, calling me and showing up at my house at all hours of the night, threatening me or anyone I was with. It got to the point where I was scared to even leave my house and I always had to check my surroundings before leaving a store or work or daycare and always looking over my shoulder. I started to get easily startled and very jumpy, as my body went into the flight or fight mode expecting that any little noise behind me could be him.
I attempted suicide at one point a few months after losing my son. Overdose of prescription drugs. Even had left a note. There have been a few times I have thought about it since, because that seemed to be the easy way out to get away from all my problems. Thankfully those thoughts passed, but it scared me afterwards to think I wanted to just end it. I would be driving and wanted to drive my car off the road, or into oncoming traffic.
It wasn’t until almost 10 years later that I was actually diagnosed with PTSD. After having been abandoned by my mother at a very young age (which I now have issues with in any relationship I get into to), I feel like I am not good enough – if my own mother left me, what is stopping any guy from leaving me. I have walls built up that are very hard to break down. I become very irritable over nothing, and often outbursts of anger take over me, even when I know it sounds silly to get so angry. I find myself sometimes in my own little world, and unable to concentrate on what’s going on around me.
I had gone on to have another daughter 6 years later (now 7). Beginning at 8 months old, she started having breath-holding spells, which caused her to go stiff, eyes roll back in her head, lips turn blue, then go limp. She would be unconscious for a good 15 -20 seconds. This again brought up losing my son, as I was so afraid of losing her. After about a dozen of these spells, she finally outgrew them at the age of 4. I still constantly fear losing my children; always thinking worst case scenario. The what-if’s sometimes consuming my thoughts and I can’t stop them. I have become better at talking myself out of them, after much practice.
After years of therapy (which I highly recommend), medications, and self-care (i.e. gym, yoga, meditation - which I find to be the most important of all), I am thriving as well as can be in this crazy place we call home. Sure I have days that I get triggers and my anxiety flares up; my body goes into fight mode, but they are few and far between now. I try to keep myself out of situations where I know I could get triggered, but sometimes they are unavoidable and after many years of working on myself, I can usually prepare myself and get through the situation best I can."