Monday, November 26, 2018

When Sickness Halts The Process Of Healing From Trauma

This blog has been sadly neglected these past weeks. I have had a taste of what happens when one's body has had enough and things crash in a spectacular manner. My doctor told me I have spent too many years, "being mom," eventually the dam broke and I was in trouble. Basically too many years of health problems that were glossed over, too many years of antidepressants, to many years of stress and trauma compounded with Lyme and coinfections made my lymphatic system sluggish and I was no longer able to detox, and that is absolutely vital when you have Lyme. My doctor likened my situation to a clogged toilet. If you keep flushing the toilet, eventually you will have the mess throughout your house. That is what happened when my lymphatic system couldn't get rid of toxins, they spread throughout my whole body leaving me very sick. Thankfully, things are now headed in the right direction and I have hope that one day, in the not too distant future, I will feel well again.

The biggest casualty of the past weeks, is the healing that was beginning to take place in some of our children. Dean and I have worked hard these past ten years to prove to our children that we are trustworthy, that we have their best interest at heart, and will care for them no matter what. Trust is a huge mountain to climb for children who's earliest moments were founded on trauma. They never learned to trust, rather, they watch out for themselves no matter the cost. This makes building a bond with the child very difficult. We were making progress though, and then I got sick. I couldn't do more than meet the children's basic needs and all those old feelings of, "Mom isn't strong enough to take care of me," came roaring back. Dean stepped up to the plate and did an amazing job, but as every trauma parent knows, the buck starts and stops with the primary caregiver.

One child was certain I was going to die. No amount of reassurance helped. Her behavior was off the charts and every time we tried to help her work through her fears, she clammed up because she just knew we wouldn't understand. At first she assured me of her prayers every day but eventually she stopped, "Because you aren't getting better even though I am praying." I knew where her fears and anxiety were coming from, but was helpless to reach her. I hate that helpless feeling.

One of the first things to leave our children when a stressor comes and they revert back into trauma mode is their ability to play. We have seen this often through the years; during visits with birth parents, when Braden was at his worst, during our CPS investigation. During these difficult times, the children wandered through the house crying, whining and getting into trouble. It is heartbreaking to watch, and doesn't get any easier even when you have witnessed it multiple times. The first few weeks after I got sick, the girls sat around, fighting and being grumpy, nothing held their interest for more than a few moments. I was so glad to when things began to change and they could play again. 

Joseph, while exceptionally weepy, coped amazingly well. Many people with FASD thrive on routine and he is no exception. We stayed home all day, every day, with the occasional doctor appointment, and those days he stayed with Tristan. He did his school work, had quiet time and played each and every day, much to his delight. One day he wrote me a letter detailing how he will do all my work so I can rest and get better. Plus, he will chip rocks (he does this by hitting small rocks together until the crumble into small pieces) and sell them along the road, then give me the money to pay for my doctor bills. I am continually amazed at the kind heart hidden beneath all the behaviors brought about by FASD.

So while the past weeks have been among the hardest we have gone through, and that is saying alot, I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have an incredible amount of repair work to do in the relationship department, but by God's grace we will regain the ground we lost these past weeks. Thanks to everyone who faithfully prayed for us, we covet your continued prayers.

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