Thursday, February 19, 2015

PTSD, Sunshine and Rain

PTSD -Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -PTSD may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms, such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing memories of the event and hyperarousal continue for more than one month after the occurrence of a traumatic event.

PTSD has been both a blessing and curse, if I dare put it that way. It has been a blessings because I can understand first hand why my children react to situations as if their lives are in danger. I understand the terror and fear that comes into their eye's when they hear sirens, gun shot's or sense mom is fearful or worried. When they see shadows and hear imaginary noises, I can feel for them. 

When you have come through a traumatic situation all the sights, sounds, smells, taste's and well, everything you experienced while going through that trauma is embedded into your brain. The next time you experience any of those senses, even if you were feeling calm and at peace the moment before, you will automatically go into fight or flight mode. You find yourself reliving the feelings you had during the initial trauma and the terror is every bit as real as it was the first time.

RAD left it's trauma marks on me as did CYS. If I am confronted no matter, how kindly about something I said or did, I go into fight or flight mode. I can reason with myself but my body doesn't listen to the sound of reason at those times. 
If I see a car like Lia's caseworker drove, I get sick to the stomach.
When I hear a child screaming in rage, I panic.
If one of my children throws a fit in public, I am right back in the room at CYS where we were accused of mistreating our children.  If someone attempts to help me with the child who is acting out, I will over explain why my child is acting in such a way. I have a desperate need to make people understand why we parent our children differently. 

"PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions."   -Susan Pease Banitt

How true, when PTSD has me stuck in a situation it affects my whole body. I feel nauseous, fearful and need to make a special effort to calm down.

"Past Traumas are like old scars on tissue that never quite heals properly - they occasionally must be cut open, re-examined and sutured anew."    -Sarah Hackley

Sometimes when  I feel like I have conquered PTSD, I "pick at it" attempting to see if the wound still hurts. If it does, then I make myself relive the trauma because I need to know if the memory is healing. Is the pain lessening? Does the pain last as long as it used to?

"An observant friend will recognize the signs of the rise of grief, eyes that easily well with tears, a smile that is difficult to sustain, a tendency to withdraw. And ultimately, perhaps we each need to create our own symbol of grieving - to wear our version of black, or maybe to color with black crayons for awhile."    -Sandy Oshiro Rosen

Today I had the privilege of speaking with a woman who has had many experiences in her life. This woman is an inspiration to me and today she reminded me how we can use our circumstances to make us bitter or better. We can allow God to mold us into people who better the Kingdom or we can choose to become bitter and miss out on the blessings God wants to shower upon us. 

Some days I find it easy to allow God to work in my life but other days are dark and dreary, with storm clouds of fear, doubt and grief gathering over me. Then I stumble and sometimes even lose my way for a time. I give in to the thoughts that come crowding into my mind. Thoughts that God doesn't care, why do my children need to suffer so much and most of all, why did God choose me to be the one who gets the brunt of their pain? 

Thankfully God doesn't keeps calling me back from that dark place and showing me signs of His love. He reminds me that Jesus bore all of my sins and never once complained, how can I do any less for these hurting little one's He placed in our care?

On sunny days, I love the challenge of meeting their needs. I am loving, patient and kind when a child throws a fit because I told him to put his shirt on. I can spend hours talking with my little girl when she is hurting because she is afraid something will happen to her birth parents. I spend time rocking them and reading stories, make play dough and play Lego's with them. On those days I have high ideals and love the mission God has called Dean and I to fulfill. Now, I just need to figure out how to bottle up some of that sunshine for the rainy days!

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