Parenting with PTSD

I had a therapy session today and my therapist asked me what did trauma mean to me. I thought about it and decided that trauma is like a toddler, a cranky, raging, screaming toddler who throws themselves down on the ground throwing a fit. That’s what trauma feels like inside of myself. Uncontrollable, overwhelmed, angry. Then, just like a toddler, as soon as you think you’ve figured out how to handle your toddler trauma, it grows and changes leaving you baffled and behind the eight ball once again. It’s fluid. It’s a nightmare.

How does parenting fit into this? Imagine trying to raise children into kind, productive adults when you can barely keep your own trauma  in check. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I don’t understand boundaries very well. I watch others carefully to see what they do and copy them. That’s how I have survived for most of my life. I have children and they terrify me sometimes. I don’t know if I’ll react correctly or be able to respond to their emotional needs. When they were young and needed me to bathe them or dress them or change their diapers, I was always panicky and afraid I was doing something wrong. That anxiety became constant and led to numbness. Eventually the numbness went away but now, they are older and still I find myself being overwhelmed and disconnected. Their problems are more complex and I find myself out of my depth.

Trauma puts an extra layer of difficulty on parenting. It distorts your view so you’re never really sure if what you’re doing is right or wrong. It puts a glass wall between me and my children. They are beautiful and I’m so glad they’re mine but I feel badly that they don’t have a better mother.

 

A few links:

https://themighty.com/2017/11/parenting-with-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/

https://themighty.com/2017/04/childhood-abuse-survivors-becoming-parents-what-to-know-about-ptsd/

I can’t sleep

” … with all that you’ve been through you deserve from sleep.” rh. sin

I can’t sleep. In fact I haven’t had a good night sleep since I was 14. I go to bed, I try to relax and my eyes pop open. Awake. My constant state of being. I would give anything to have a good night sleep with no racing thought and no nightmares.

People say ‘cut down on your caffeine.’ Done

People say ‘make your room a peaceful santuary’ Done

People say ‘practice good sleep hygiene. Have a routine.’ Done

People say ‘take this medication.’ Done. As in, I have literally tried every med available for sleep

People say ‘meditate, deep breath, do muscle relaxation, try taping, try nightmare rescripting, try this and this and this. DONE.

I couldn’t complete a sleep study because I don’t sleep

Before I sleep my thoughts race. I have intrusive thought of my trauma. My inner critic really revs up and starts saying how stupid I am and why did I say/do that? and if I had been better and smarter, I wouldn’t have been abused. When I do sleep, I have nightmares. Severe nightmares where I wake up sweating and shaking. sometimes I throw up. When I wake up, I wander my house looking in on my kids and my husband and am jealous of how peacefully they sleep. It’s dark out and there’s no one to talk to. It’s the essence of loneliness.

Trigger warning *****************************************************************

when I was 14 I went to a party with my friend. There were people of different ages there, some were college students. I was given a rum and coke by an older boy. he seemed nice and sweet. I got seperated from my friend and this young man brought me to a room. There was another young man in the room and he was not nice. They gang raped me all night long. Toward the end a 3rd man came in. At the end, the stole my ID and $20 from my purse.  A few days later my friends mom brought me to Planned Parenthood and I needed medical treatment. It was a horrible experience. I stopped sleeping. I had nightmares. I was scared. I pushed it down more and more and more until I forgot.

But ….

I still can’t sleep. Even thought I remember and processed this with a therapist and should be ok. Right? Isn’t that what we’re told. Do the work and you’ll feel better. The jury’s still out on that for me.

So, if you’re like me and every time the night is at its darkest and you’re up wandering around thinking you’d give anything to go back to sleep and you feel like you’re the only person on the Earth, know you’re not alone. Know that I’m there with you.

My first post

So here is my first post. I’ve thought for a long time about starting a blog and always hesitated. Why? Because as most of you will be able to understand, staying quiet and keeping secrets is at the heart of abuse. Yes, I am a victim or survivor of long term sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and tell a little about what I hope to do with this blog.

I am a wife and mother of 3 kids. I did ok with my life, had a career and had never needed psychiatric care until 2 years ago when repressed memories of abuse surfaced. Since that time I have struggled to be a good mom, wife, and work. My symptoms come and go but mostly stay. I have a therapist and take a boatload of meds to function.

With this site I hope to share stories of what I went through as a child so you don’t feel alone and discuss the issues I think most people with PTSD/cPTSD struggle with which is having a good relationship, being a good parent, connecting to others, and manage symptoms. I hope to put up resources that you can use as needed. I hope you find this blog helpful and informative. I am new to this and will most definitely make mistakes. I appreciate feedback but please remember I suffer from a serious mental illness and be kind.

Please be aware that there may be some content that may be triggering so read cautiously. We’re all in a different place in recovery and healing so be kind to yourself. We’re all in this together.

Best,

Kathryn