PTSD… It’s in Me…

I like to be straight up, because I just can’t grow without being so. 

It is hard to do sometimes, because of the emotional pain.

This is one of those posts…apologies for errors upfront.

…………………………………

Understanding my triggers that set off my PTSD, has been a traumatic journey in itself. It is an added disorder I aquired formally, after the passing of my chronically ill son in 2008. I was not diagnosed formally until 2014; after checking myself into a mental- health crisis facility, because I wanted to kill myself, and my meds were not working.

I was not aware I had PTSD at all…even though I had almost every one of the symptoms. I just thought I was going crazy, and that people that went to war were the only ones that had it, or could get it. 

I was wrong.

Although my son’s death in 2008 and the injustices surrounding it, are technically the propellers that pushed me into the PTSD symptoms presenting themselves in the extreme way they did; the spiral down took years, and my actual formal diagnosis didn’t come until 2014. I suspect I’ve had it way longer than that though; as far back as my later elementary years. That suspicion comes based on what I remember and went through as a child; regarding my family life back then; what I know about PTSD and how it forms; and how many other times I’ve spiraled down and had mental issues and lapses arise in my life before my son’s death; that I could not control or cope with, and had to be hospitalized for. Issues from my past. I’m Doctor-approved mental now, if that makes you feel better.

Seems like everyone in my family wants to put on blinders and forget that my childhood was dysfunctional as fuck too; but I remember. It’s not worth talking about , because I’m just trying to lay out the fact that the symptoms were already there before Karter left. 

Anyways….

I remember when my son first passed, and I felt like I was literally going to die. 

I often equate it to someone walking directly up to me, and putting a shotgun to my heart, and pulling the trigger. 

Only it is not over afterwards….because you live through it over and over again. 

You die again the next day, the same exact way… and so on and so forth, but with memories of trauma, and not a gun…Every day. You can’t much wake up, or make the thoughts stop when you want to.

It’s a bad problem.

It’s exactly like the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, but way more messed up and traumatic; and way more anxiety. It hits usually without warning, out of the blue because of something that triggers a memory that triggers a cycle.

That’s what it is for me. 

How do you begin to mend the pieces of yourself together, when you feel like there’s nothing remaining to stitch?

How do you go from doing absolutely everything 24/7 for your multiply disabled child one day, and every day for three-and-a-half years….to nothing, and gone forever, in 12 hours, with needless suffering and Dr. Neglect? 

It’s going to cause some issues for some.

I don’t talk about it…because it makes other people uncomfortable.

No one knows, except the people who unfortunately have been there, and are there…and live through it every day. Some seem to manage trauma well…

This broke me.

I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The loss of A child… OR the disorder

It’s a curse… An elite club that’s becoming more popular, that you don’t want to be in.

My son was pronounced dead right in front of me in the hospital, after the nurse came in and basically screamed out “I think he’s dead!”.  I woke up to that, (as I was dozing because we were waiting, and I was 72- hour tired)..and to my horror, he WAS dead. 

It was surreal. 

I still to this day see his face the last time I saw him alive. He looked scared and I knew he would end up going. I was scared too, because I knew I was going to lose one of the only things that I had ever loved, and I couldn’t do anything at all, but wait.  His meds weren’t even working… It haunts me.

How do you stop something that is happening as you sleep? How do you speed up paperwork and other hospital political bullshit when it is in the works, but not fast enough; so they will help your son, and he  won’t leave your life forever?

It haunts me. 

It was the most helpless feeling ever that I have had, in my entire life…
I think of my son, and what I know now.

My son’s internal organs were backing up, and he was micro-asperating on liquid fecal matter, because his bowel ruptured from a year-old surgery, and no one would listen or do anything when I told them directly that he was dying. They let him lay there for 12 hours, suffering. They gave him Tylenol and said it wasn’t a surgical matter. 

They didn’t even do the proper tests.

I could not have stopped it, or sped up anything. I did everything I could think of to get someone to help and listen. It was as if everything was in a fog, and everything and everyone had it’s place in time….pre-determined.

No one even came to help us despite my pleads until he was already dead, and the nurse found him. As soon as I fell asleep after being up for three days straight, he passes; then everyone comes. They worked on him for 22 minutes, and he was already dead for 20 minutes already,  and I still see his little legs and feet flipping around on the table from the people doing CPR on him, to this day. I still remember my brain on loop, This is not happening…. I’m on the phone with my ex, and I can’t think, and I’m going to pass out, and I’m in the park dancing and singing with Karter again for a moment, and then life stops.

He’s gone, and they call it… And my life stops too…

And I still live it in my head. 

No one knows.

It comes to me in dreams and daily similarities, that I can’t get away from in life. Mentally it’s draining and it affects personal relationships and life for me in various ways…it used to be chunks of time in my life even that I could do nothing but self-medicate, gone…before I learned how to get a handle on it.

Some other facts.

I haven’t had one direct conversation about any of those final moments with karter, with a family member, ever. Including my ex-husband. People wonder why I self-medicated and couldn’t cope.

No one understood. My family was good for about a month on and off, before they stopped calling.

I never once got any support for the issue, other than prescribed pills and people paid to listen to me, but not actually hearing anything I said. In the end I started saying crazy things, because I didn’t care anymore and I wanted to die. I held SO much anger and resentment towards certain people for Karter’s passing, and God, and my lack of relief from it all; and I wasn’t going anywhere good with that. I. Felt resentment towards people, because they couldn’t understand my anger with the situation, and acted like I should just get over it after two weeks, a month, a year… Life goes on. 

But it didn’t for ME.

They let my son just lay there and suffer and die, and I had to watch it.

Fix that for me please.

Night terrors…the night terrors too :/

I stopped eating for four months afterwards. I was on pills and drinking and hiding it at the end, because I.Could.Not.Cope.

My ex- husband even tried to lock me away in a home for six months, instead of actually helping me…

Yes, I had anger.

 I left life as I knew it after that, because I needed to survive and I knew I was going down; my marriage was over and I did not want to mess up my other kids more than the BS they’d already  been through because of it all.

I still messed them up anyways; I messed everything up. 

It’s been the absolutely worse thing in my life that I’ve ever had to go through and deal with….ever.

I can’t even put into words how it’s changed me mentally.

You can tell.

I don’t know why I can’t get over it. 

A long, hard, painful, lonely road of recovery is what I’ve actually been doing since 2008; On And off.  When I think about all the personal sacrifices I’ve made to get well again, I have to give myself the credit I deserve even if no one else will, because despite everything, I was able to get better to the level of being stable again, without synthetic anything…and controlling my symptoms and anxiety from it, with a plant that grows out of the ground and is natural.

Judge me all you want.

Every day I continue to get just a little bit more ok with the fact that those bad memories are just memories now…that that was a life I knew long ago, and will never be again. I don’t have to live in it anymore.

I will most likely never have actual relations with my remaining children or family members, to the level of it actually being genuine or mattering.  It’s quite a bitter pill to swallow, because I did not and could not control the things I couldn’t have, and I did not control the things I should have,  to recoup. that privledge. 

I was sick, and I needed help. Everyone gave up on me, and I gave up on me too. I tortured myself mentally in ways that you will never know or feel. 

 I am still sick, but I manage it responsibly now, because it’s all I can do. I’m WAY better than I’ve ever been. 

I have spent many, many years coming to terms with the fact that I lost my son because he had issues that I could not fix. 

I felt guilt because I think I would have done things a lot differently, had I known what was actually going on in full- spectrum. I was completely naive to medication interactions, related side-effects, and the fact that sometimes doctors aren’t always right. His death was slow,  but sudden and traumatic…all major factors. I felt guilt because I listened to doctors tell me what to do; and I did it; and in the end it completely backfired and my son died anyways, because they didn’t do anything that THEY were supposed to do. I felt guilt because I couldn’t control anything that was going on around me, and after he passed…I lost my mind and couldn’t recover the losses. I’ve hurt my remaining children forever because of it, and it will never be the same.  

You never see it until afterwards; but you feel it where it counts, every day after you realize.

To let go of the fact that I could not get the time back and I had to let my 3 1/2 year old son go for good, was unbearable. But I knew I had to do it somehow, because re-living the bad times wasn’t making anything good for me, and it was killing me slowly, right along in sync with my vices.

It is what it is, and the memories remain. 

I sought the support of anything positive and literally clawed my way through this PTSD shit completely alone through reading about it, synthetic medication, keeping myself alive, journaling, and crying a whole lot.

I’m at the level now, where I do not allow myself to dwell too long in his passing, and I keep myself away from the triggers I know will rev up my symptoms; such as alcohol, any form of synthetic, and shitty people who do shitty things, and don’t understand. 

I don’t know it’s just something I live with, and I know that It’s always gonna’ be there, and it’s real.

I’m not too sure about this blog exactly, except that I feel better for getting it out there.

Maybe people can understand that it’s changed me, and who I am.

I don’t know how to talk about it, because I wish I didn’t have it, but I can’t stop myself from remembering.

It’s just one of those blogs.

I know that even though I struggle with this now, I was still chosen to be Karter’s mother and that never changes. I can live in the good memories now, if I just do. Some days are better than others for sure. I miss him… I remember him and his light. I know he’s better, and with me always.

I guess we all carry things that leave scars…and this is just the biggest one of mine. I’m glad to be officially diagnosed too, because it gave me a place to start understanding that I could get better and manage it.

Thanks for reading. 

J.Rounds ©2017 ~Peaces of ME

5 thoughts on “PTSD… It’s in Me…

  1. I havent dealt with the same as u.
    But ur feelings i totally relate to.
    The amount of sorrow i dont believe ive addressed yet fully myself.
    If i was able to hold u up strong i would. I support u ….be fully u.
    Love n Hugs…always
    E

    Like

    • I send my best wishes to you and I thank you a lot for your comment and support. It saddens me to hear that you relate, and I am sorry about that. I just try to tell myself that it’ll make sense eventually, and it’s getting better. Little victories add up. Much love and strength to you. Never give up. ❤

      Like

  2. Dear Peaces,

    It has taken me several days to think through everything in this post. I am so so sorry to hear about your son. Your recent poem makes even more sense to me now. What you have gone through and have dealt with and are still dealing with is beyond the understanding of most people. Parents who have lost a child are indeed members of an “elite club.”

    I’m a member of that club.

    I think I’ve read your post now five times. There is so much that is true and it reflects an ongoing truth of your strength as a human and as a parent. Stay strong. The terrors we re-live over and over are normal for people such as ourselves.

    My daughter, Cynthia, was twenty-five years old, a beautiful young lady. On the evening of Feb 1, 2005, she drove into the parking lot of her New Orleans apartment. Her ex-boyfriend cut her off in his Escalade. He got out and shot her once, killing her instantly. She was still in her seat-belt. He then took several steps aside and killed himself.

    I wasn’t there. I lived in Mississippi three hours away. When her mother called, we had been divorced for over ten years, but got along quite well, she told me what happened. It was around eleven at night. Cynthia had been dead for six hours. It was a warm February evening, but I became chilled. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was so cold. I remember after hanging up trying to get back into bed and pulling up the covers, I was shivering. I didn’t know what to do. What do you do? Suddenly my life was a blank. I got up and drove to New Orleans. The next several weeks were a nightmare.

    I was spared much of the suffering you went through. I have been fortunate to have had supportive friends and family. The mayor of the small town in which I lived called me every morning. I lived alone out in the country. Every morning she called to ask if I was okay. I joined a grief support group known as The Compassionate Friends, (TCF). It met once a month. The members were people who had lost a child. It was that group who ultimately saved me. I’ve never known such a strong group of humans.

    But they couldn’t spare me from those moments you mentioned as well. The ass holes who come up and tell you that you need to “get past it, man.” “Fuck you” was my thoughtful response. And then there were the triggers, the picture found two years later. The letter. My sister at a wedding reception, holding her camera and saying out loud, “nephews and nieces, nephews and nieces” in an effort to get a picture…my daughter who was a “niece” wouldn’t be in that picture.

    And then there were the waking dreams.

    They happened whenever: driving, sitting at my desk, at home…anytime. I would start re-living her death in my imagination. The difference would be that I WAS there. I would kill that young man. I killed him over and over, with a rifle, a knife, a fucking bow and arrow. I killed him every way imaginable, as he approached my daughter’s truck window, I killed him dead—before he killed my daughter. I would save her. And then I’d wake up. If I had been driving my knuckles would be white, so hard my hands were gripping the wheel. She was still gone.

    Now, I think of her each and every day. My wife and I buy flowers on her birthday and set them on the table with her picture so she can see them. We talk about her. Positive stuff.

    I’m so happy that you have someone who listens as well. How important that is. Someone also who can find that undying spot of love in your heart and make it flourish once again. I have to say, just looking at your picture makes me happy! I know I’m simply staring at a representation, but you are so beautiful, and I think, and now I know, you are so deserving of love.

    Your healing process is a boost to my own feelings. It has been over ten years since I lost my daughter. And yet, I remember moments with her with terrific clarity. Going to little restaurants in New Orleans and doing our own wine tasting, and the young waiter would always be attracted to Cynthia, and she would be so wonderful in not being distant or bitchy. We laughed and when we parted we always said. “I love you.”

    So, I think of those moments and they help offset the more difficult moments. I have never mentioned this episode in my life on my blog. I’m not as brave as you are, and I’m much further down the road. Grief never stops. You are so right about that. It does recede. Time does heal, but not completely. The scar is always there and given the right circumstances it will hurt like hell. But I have learned how to laugh again. How to enjoy life.

    I’m in Alabama now and on occasion when I’m sitting out on the back patio with a glass of wine and some cheese and Cody, our black lab is lying nearby snoring, there’s a nice breeze and a red bird is pouring out its song from the top of a fir tree, I think how much Cynthia would love this. And how much she would love Sadako, and how we would take her to Japan with us. Ah, but I don’t burst into tears. That does still happen but not so often. I linger out the moment and think of her. That’s all I can do.

    I quit killing Carlos, her ex. I actually talked via email with his little sister, years ago. It was a positive experience. She loved her brother. I got a chance to listen to a voice from the other side of the fence, as it were. His family, I learned, were scared I would kill them. I never thought I would do that. No, it was only him.

    But healing has taken all of that away. You are still close. You were right to put that blog out. It was the right thing for you to do. It gives me strength as well. What you say resonates so clearly. I remember for instance going into the grocery store after losing Cynthia and thinking everyone is looking at me—everyone knows. I felt so vulnerable, so transparent. It was impossible to escape. And there were those friends who indeed avoided me, who ceased being friends, as if I were cursed or had some dread disease. I’m still astounded at the absolute cruelty of people. But screw them. I don’t need the fuckers, so I go my own way. Like you, I found someone who listens, who is sensitive and who loves me no matter what, unconditionally. That’s what’s it all about.

    We have been made stronger, Peaces, you and I. Obviously, it is the not the way we prefer but life has dealt us this bitterness and we don’t give in. But you know and I know, there are no guarantees, okay? The pain never quite goes away, and new pain can come along. Life has never been fair. Just stay strong, girl, stay strong.

    Thank you, thank you so much. I look forward to your posts!

    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s just tragic. I’m sorry. I don’t think I could say anything to even come close to making that feel better at all for you. I bet she was a beautiful light though. 🙂

      I know some things just happen…and it’s never when we expect.

      For me, in the end; for the time I had with him; I never felt more love for someone. He was my child, but the fact that he was disabled brought a whole other level to all of our lives, and every single one of us was blessed to know him because he had a light that you could see. He taught me what true strength was. He struggled a lot, and I can only be grateful that that part is over. His light I carry in me too. 🙂

      I wish you peace and thank you a lot for sharing that.

      Enjoy your Wednesday. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Peaces, thank you so much. One of the things we constantly talked about in my TCF group was how the circumstances of how each of us lost our child are different in nature and intensity, but the end is result is loss. That brings us together. I consider you an extraordinary person. Again thanks for sharing and responding! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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