I just want to start off by saying everyone is different. Everyone deals with situations differently. Nobody’s mental illness is the same because people suffer for many different reasons. PTSD sufferers are normally, but not exclusively, people who have experienced a traumatic event.
– Sexual assault
– A terror attack
– Birth trauma
– A car accident
– An accident at work
– A fire
– An event which caused you trauma
In my case it was a traumatic birth. An experience which I believe will never leave me. It has been three years. I have previously written about a flashback I had which was triggered laying bed with my husband. I won’t go into too much detail!
I speak openly about my experience because it’s these situations we find ourselves embarrassed to talk openly. I feel if I share my experience then as you read this post it might give you the confidence to know you are not alone and feel able to speak. You may find how I dealt with my triggers helpful if you haven’t tried them yet and if you don’t I hope you find them interesting. I am in no way a mental health professional, nor do I pretend to be. I want to share what I have done to help people in their recovery even if it only reaches one person.
Initially, I was having flashbacks most nights. It felt like I was stuck reliving something I cannot fully remember. It’s like you are standing on the outside looking in. It’s you but it’s not you.
You want so much to reach out and shout, but you feel paralysed. At the same time you feel the pain, the emotions like you are there.
I will never forget that day. I describe this in my very first post, ‘The worst and happiest day of my life.’ My First Blog
If I hadn’t received counselling I would not be here today.
They did not and will not ever realise how much of an impact they have had on me. They ruined my life that day. The emotional trauma I experienced was extensive and in every way it was worse than the physical.
Triggers are awful it can be caused by:
– A smell
– An item
– A place
– A person
– A date
– An anniversary Her first birthday
– For me it’s if I find my self in a certain position at times
– Just about anything
-I recently came across all my paper work from my hospital admission, when I gave birth. I looked at it and debated if I should read it. I did and Its hard staring at documents that are about you, but you cant recall all of it actually happening to you. I looked down and saw the words sepsis, Major surgery and all sorts of awful words. I sit often and wonder if the severity of it is in my head. But seeing it all in black and white ironically makes me feel at ease, seeing the words negligent. It is justified, how I feel.
They were in the wrong.
Do not ever feel foolish for having them. Do not ever feel like you can’t speak about them because you feel like you should be over it. People say time is a healer. It’s true over time you will begin to recover. You won’t forget, you just learn how better to cope.
In my case I have done the following:
– I listen to music before I sleep and I write everything down if I am focused on a bad memory.
– If I’m out shopping I also listen to music if I start to feel anxious. It helps. If I am with my daughter, we sing nursery rhymes.
– I write everything down it keeps my head clear.
– If I find I am back in that moment, I close my eyes and I visualise a box and a key. I open the box and put the memory in it. I then close the box. I breathe in and out deeply but slowly and focus on my breathing.
Please know that this may not work for everyone. Seeking therapy was the best thing I did. It helped me better deal with what was going on in my head.
– Breathing Technique. I use a breathing technique, like above breathing in and out deeply but slowly and I count in my head till it clears. I have found this helpful as I visualise on the shapes to. Breathing Technique
– I sing my favourite song.
– Certain things people say trigger a memory. One thing that really gets me down and brings all the memories flooding back is when people talk about the early moments with their baby. I don’t have any, nor do I remember her prior to three months old.
Visiting the GP surgery or the hospital is hard for me even though we have moved away from where it all happened. I go and as I’m sitting in the waiting room I sing in my head. Or I go through what I plan to do this week. I tell the nurse and GP they will have to bear with me. If they want to know why, read my file.
when I am out and I feel my anxiety getting worse or something has triggered a bad memory I focus on something in that shop or place and then myself. reassuring myself that I am no longer there. They cannot hurt me now. If I have my daughter with me I focus on her and ask her questions about Disney processes, she always has a way of making me laugh. She is nearly three but she knows when I am feeling anxious or not myself. She says ‘mummy you ok’ Its frightening how much they pick up on and understand.
I feel that as she grows older she will understand that its ok to have all these emotions. I will show her how to deal with them and help her to understand that in getting help and talking to someone is ok. So she can deal with what ever life throws at her. Most importantly she knows that no matter what we go through as a family we are here for each other.
I share this poem with you, it’s how I felt during the early days My Miracle And My Nightmare
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