Tuesday, January 17, 2012
PTSD and Me
Today I had an appointment with my therapist. She asked me if I was having nightmares, specifically repetitive ones. I told her that yes, I've had a few. Then I told her how I have been experiencing anxiety and small panic attacks, especially when going into social situations that involve more than one other person. How being in or near some places around town triggers uncontrollable flashbacks in addition to the panic. How sometimes I can't stop thinking about a certain few moments of time from when we were in the hospital with Eve.
She told me that I have PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder.
I know that this is not an uncommon thing for babylost mothers. I know that I lived through -- and continue to live through -- something bitterly traumatic.
But a diagnosis? It scares me. A lot.
Because this is not the first time I've been handed a psychological diagnosis.
If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that in 2008 I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. A year after that, I was diagnosed again, this time with depression. Both of these diagnoses were paired with intense struggle and suffering that went on for years. That nearly robbed me of my life and my marriage. That did rob me of countless opportunities to live and love and experience joy. Those diagnoses were harbingers of devastation.
I don't want another diagnosis.
I'm already going through hell. I don't need to look forward to more psychological wrestling. I don't want that.
I'm trying to remember that my therapist also said that PTSD is experienced on a range -- that it can be more or less intense, and that in my case it is closer to the "less" end of things.
But I am scared.
Because I want to know what it means. Will this anxiety ever go away, or will it get worse? Does this diagnosis mean that my present struggling will go on and on long past the grief has healed? That it will prolong this hell that I am living in?
I know that God is bigger than this, bigger than everything. But He let me live in my eating disorder for years and years -- seventeen years, to be exact. So while I know that He will redeem whatever this diagnosis means, that He has healing in His hands, I don't know when that redemption and healing will come.
This journey of grief and pain and trauma -- it's going to be a long haul, I think. Longer than I can fathom.
So I will not look at the future and let wondering about when? rob me of now. I will look at my hands and my feet, and shed the tears from the heart-well that has no bottom. I will look around me at the sky's brilliant blue and the frosted grass. I will breathe and breathe and breathe.