You always hear about in veterans. But did you know there are LOTS of others that suffer from PTSD???
I have PTSD.
One of my most prominent symptoms is hypervigilance. Do you know what hypervigilance is? If not the medical definition is “Preoccupation with possible unknown threats, constantly watching and scanning surroundings. A persistent sense of insecurity”
What could be more extreme for parents than the death of their child? This is the greatest nightmare of any parent.
I have lived that nightmare.
And yes I was actually diagnosed with PTSD in 2005 after my son’s death when I was seeing a psychologist for my panic attacks, grief and these issues. You do NOT have to be a war vet for this to happen to you (go ahead Google it – you know your going to anyway).
For me, as a mother who lost a child, my hypervigilance is an intense stressor.
This means even though my other son is 8 years old sometimes I still get up and just make sure he is breathing at night. It means the thoughts of being away from him for longer than a school day are horrifying – heck even him being at school I worry if he is safe or not. This means even though my daughter is 23 and in college I worry when I do not hear from her at least once a day that she is okay.
It means I don’t let anyone babysit because all I do when I am away is worry. It means I will literally out of no where have thoughts of bad things that could happen – like a car accident while we are driving down the road.
For me it’s a very real and scary feeling to possibly lose another of my children. It’s not something you can just “get over” by any means and it’s not something you can control to have these intense feelings. It’s something I hope that none of my friends ever have to experience. I would rather they NEVER know this feeling than to be able to relate to what I go through. And yes I recently had a ‘friend” tell me to get over it and go to therapy. Does this woman really thing if it were that easy I would not have already been ‘cured” – this is not something you just get rid of, medicate away or get over. This is ingrained in you after a traumatic event.
For those of you who know me (or someone like me) get used to it. We cannot change this way of thinking. You can help by understanding and supporting our decisions that you don’t agree with – it makes us feel safe. You wont understand it so don’t try, don’t ask us to do things differently. Just let us feel safe even if to you its “irrational” to feel and act this way and be over protective.
THIS is how we function and cope with our new found way of living. Yes there are lots of counselors and things (been there done that) but these feelings are the ones that pop up out of no where for no specific reason. The are further between now than they once were but they still exist.
It’s simply part of my “new normal”.