Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Post Traumatic Stress - The Whole Story

This was meant to be a post for #musicmonday at I'm Well Confused , but has ended up a tumble of words instead. But here is the song I have chosen.

My regular readers will know that I got post traumatic stress disorder after Joseph was born. I always thought it started well after Joseph was born, but looking back, it didn't. My first panic attack happened in hospital. Joseph was 2 weeks old, his bowel wasn't functioning. I arrived in the unit one morning and saw him lying prone, without a nappy with the nurse trying to get him to open his bowels.

I felt sick, my head was banging, tears stung my eyes. I couldn't breathe, and I fell against the incubator. I quickly managed to blame my blood pressure medication. My protective instinct kicked in big time, but I knew what was happening. That wasn't happening just to him, it was happening to me too. No one told me that when you have a baby your past kicks in, and how. I felt I had let him down, so very much.My mind new it was just a medical procedure, but my heart hurt for him, my tiny baby, who I was powerless to protect. Because abuse is about power and control, but, as it turns out, so is having a premature baby.

Then my thoughts started spiralling out of control. Because I was so tired and drained and scared all the time, I lost my grip on reality. I couldn't distinguish the past from the present. I felt that I was allowing Joseph to suffer the way I had, it was extremely hard for me to be objective. On the outside I was calm, smiling, dealing with it, on the inside I was a mess.

I was plagued with the most horrific nightmares. Some nights what happened to me was happening to him and I couldn't stop it. The images were all confused in my head  It was so horrible, it was like being in prison. I stopped sleeping. When Joseph finally came home I slept during the day and was awake most of the night. Day time I wrapped myself up with him, and that helped keep it at bay. 

I couldn't talk to anyone about it, as I felt I had to put all my energies into Joseph. I felt like I was going mad. When Joseph came home I was on high alert all the time, not only about his health needs but also about protecting him. I became the classic mother lion. I was fierce. And I still am.

I finally went to the GP and got a private referral to a psychiatrist, who wrapped me up in love and trust, and explained what was going on. That everything had tumbled into one, all the traumatic experiences of my life, even my childhood bullying were being exposed.  Joseph's traumatic birth had triggered everything off again, and it was going to get worse before it got better. And I'd need drugs.

Slowly, I was put back together again, thanks to citalopram, my sure start support worker, my husband and my friends. 

And three years on, I am doing ok. Except at the moment. The old voices are back in my head, I am feeling panicky, scared and exposed.

I don't regret writing that post, not for a minute, because it had to be written. The feedback I have received, in private and in public, has been phenomenal and I know that I have helped break the shame and help others not to feel so alone.

Now I have to do that for myself. I need to visit that little girl, I need to tell her she is ok now. that she is safe, and that she can let this go.

And I am going to need some help.

No More Pain. No Drama.


  1. My poor Kylie, wish I could take it all away, be strong, you can and will get through this, you are one of the bravest people I know xx

  2. Kylie: the healing process is hard but it has begun. You WILL get through it and freedom on the other side will feel so good. I, too, have suffered panic attacks and I also found it easier to deal with them as if they were outside of me as if it was an 'it' and I would try to not become part of it (if that makes sense). If I felt a panic attack coming on, I would say to myself: I know what you are, I am not mad, it is just stress and fear and 'it' will not beat me! I hope it helps, it use to help me. Take care x

  3. My dear dear friend. I wish I could take this pain away. I wish I could say a few words and calm the storm for you. I know I can't.

    You are so very brave and you will make it to the other side of this.

    And as ever, you know where I am. Always xxx

  4. RACHEL TaoOfPoop23 October 2012 at 13:03

    You are not alone! How incredibly brave to share your story. We are all better for you sharing it. Have you ever read this blog? http://www.makemommygosomethingsomething.com/ She writes about the kinds of things that you are going through. It's a great blog!

  5. yes I need to do that, I used to get them a lot and had them under control I need to get my coping techniques together, and beat them again. I can do it, I know

  6. I wish you could too, but your always there for me, and I appreciate your friendship, thank you

  7. Hugs kylie. I had no idea you were going through this :( x

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