If you’ve ever experienced a traumatic event, which I sincerely hope you haven’t, it really sticks with you. At least, it has really stayed with me. Many of my blog posts come from that event, which was my twin pregnancy and everything that followed.
Because it’s always right there in the back of my mind, things I see, things I hear, and even things I smell, bring me right back to that time. Not all of the memories are bad, but some make me sad, some make me angry, and some just surprise me.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a real problem for many moms that went through high-risk pregnancies and NICU stays with their children. I do not pretend to be an expert at all, but I do know that I did experience it. For me, I tried to deal with it on my own, but needed help. I got therapy and medication, which helped. Time also is helping. I think I will always remember, but it gets a little easier to deal with as time goes on.
Some people may see my now healthy boys and think, “Why can’t you just get over it and move on?” but it’s not that easy. It was truly a life-changing experience for me, so I will never really “get over it.” I see things differently now, appreciate things in a way I couldn’t before, and have more knowledge on medicine than I ever would have hoped.
So, what prompted this post? I experienced a pretty big trigger the other day. I’ve been having some health issues, and I had to have a scope done. It was not at a hospital, but a surgery center. However, any medical setting makes me a little uneasy these days. I also saw a doctor that I saw when I was pregnant with the twins.
Getting into my hospital gown, walking down the hallway with the nurse, I just started having flashbacks of my other hospital stay. The one that included my emergency c-section. When I got to the surgical room, they had me get on the table. The cold room, the sanitizer smell, and the sterile environment brought me right back to when I was lifted onto that operating table. Luckily, this time, no anesthesia, and just a short, almost painless procedure.
They had me stand up afterwards, and were typing in their notes, when I could feel some tears coming. I hadn’t been able to stand after my emergency c-section, and I didn’t even know if my babies were both alive. It really just hit me.
The nurse asked me a question, which snapped me out of it, and we walked back to my room so I could change and talk with the doctor.
Some things, like that hospital visit are really big triggers, while other things like a certain song or TV show can also bring back emotions that you wouldn’t realize.
Every time I hear the song We are Young, I remember being in my hospital bed and my two-year-old singing the part about the bar closing down. Whenever Modern Family is on, I remember me and my husband trying to act happy and normal for our two-year-old as we all watched it, while the twins were in the NICU. The smell of certain soaps and candles that I remember from being on bed rest.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
Not all people who experience trauma are as open about it as I have become with my writing. It’s sometimes hard to share, especially with your loved ones. So, if someone you know has been through a difficult or traumatic experience, please be patient with them, and know that they might really be struggling, even if they don’t say anything about it. There is no shame in needing or asking for help, but it can be really hard to ask.
If you think you might be suffering from PTSD, please talk to your doctor or a professional.