PTSD and me

Today is National PTSD Awareness Day. So I wanted to share my experiences with PTSD. A few years before I was born, my dad was shot, he was shot 1/2 inch from his heart, by his friend. He was 18 and they were messing around with a rifle. My dad’s friend drove him home to my grandparents house and took him inside all bloody. My grandmother phoned the doctor who called the local hospital and told them to get ready for him and then I think my grandparents drove him to the hospital. This hospital in the current day can not handle trauma, if you are shot they take you elsewhere. Sometime in the 60’s they took my dad, maybe 1/2 after he had been shot and were able to save him. He lost a lot of blood, but he also lost most of my life. My dad suffered from PTSD, he was almost killed after all and it wasn’t until over thirty years later, after drinking and being drunk my whole entire childhood that one of his doctors finally diagnosed him. Dad had spent my life, drinking away his fears and his anxiety. He couldn’t hold a job, should not have been married, couldn’t raise a child. Years later dad, would quit drinking and get meds for his condition, he has a job for almost twenty years that he likes and he has become the dad and friend I never had growing up and he was able to do this while my grandparents were still alive. He still has anxiety and many neurological issues, but he’s ok, he’s gotten help and he’s my dad.

My PTSD story is from the birth of my premature daughter. She came into this world 1.5 months too early. I had pre-eclampsia and HELLP. Talk about crazy messed up emotions, have a preemie- you’ll get the gauntlet.  When I was taken in to have her, I wasn’t much of anything, things were happening too fast, I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t realize how sick I was.  After she was born, I wouldn’t see her for 4 days and didn’t hold her for over a week, but the experience of having a child in the NICU who you can’t hold or cuddle, or rock with all the wires and tubes and monitors is scary as HELL. If my husband had not taken it upon himself to be the parent to go there and talk with the doctors and nurses and visit her, I would have lost it even more. I could not go in there. I didn’t want to be attached to this little baby who may or may not live. I was used to being abandoned by my divorced drunken parents and I could not lose my own child. I was all alone at night on a maternity ward with moms with babies, my husband was 100 miles away and I had not seen my son since I was admitted to the hospital over a week ago. It was all hectic and crazy and scary. I came home and she didn’t. My pressure would not go down and everyone kept saying calm down, take it easy and my response was how can I take it easy when MY baby is in the NICU and I am here at home watching tv and having a normal day. How weird is that? 2 weeks ago I was pregnant, moms who are pregnant are supposed to come home with babies and be tired and overwhelmed, of course my pressure didn’t go down. Then she came home and there were issues and it is like walking a tight rope having a preemie child. Nothing is easy. I was jealous of friends with healthy babies and full term pregnancies. It was all too much. I had PPD with my son, and now this.

I was never one to hate hospitals or be bothered, but a few months later one of my best friends gave birth to a healthy baby in the hospital where I was supposed to have my daughter and I just lost it, I felt panicked, I was mad at her, I was mad at life. A few years later I thought I was still ok, but I had to go to the hospital as my grandparents were dying and the smell, the lights, the beeping of the ICU machines, I couldn’t do it. I was panicking, having trouble breathing,instead of my baby fighting for her life it was my grandmother.For a long time I wondered why me God, and then when I day, I realized why not. I am nothing special and God gave me these experiences for a reason.  Suffering from PTSD as the result of a NICU baby is a hard thing and many people don’t think about it, if it wasn’t them or hasn’t happened to someone they know. But you aren’t weird or different and if you get help, you will get through it. I still can’t watch a show with a preemie or NICU, without my throat getting tight and feeling sad, overwhelmed, taken back there and I don’t know if I ever will be.


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