Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dear PTSD, You suck…

So here’s the thing… (by the way I like saying that, like I have something profound to say..,even if I don’t). I have nine children. One of which is in a Mental Hospital and has been since over 5 weeks ago. She has been committed and will be transferred to the State Hospital soon. She calls me, like 8 x a day, and she is totally dis-regulated….crazy angry, crazy manic…you know like “Real” crazy. Conversations like that everyday can put anyone in a funk. I have to create safe boundaries for myself and answer the phone when I am strong enough. At this point, the crazy ain’t leaving,…so I have to allow it with open arms, yet, not. let. it. Drown. Me.
And then there we eight other children. Seven of which are struggling. S.T.R.U.G.G.L.I.N.G
I took Bugs to see “Soul Surfer “ tonight, while Trev cleaned up the Yard Sale, and fed the littles Pizza. We needed a break…and it was, until it wasn’t.
In the movie, there is a part where right after the daughter’s arm was bitten by the shark, she is headed to the hospital in an ambulance. You watch as the Mother gets the phone call..the phone drops, and you see her shaking,  numb face as she enters the car…driving to the hospital, on the road behind her , is the blaring ambulance, she pulls over, lets it pass…and out loud begins praying and begging out loud that “let her please live, let her please be alive”…..

My hands started to shake, and then my body was shivering uncontrollably…as my eyes began to switch left to right on there own…I was taken back to the day, I received a phone call around 4:30 from my sister in law on January 12 2010.
There was an Earth Quake in Haiti, a BIG one
…those words reverberated in the back of my brain, they radiated down my spine, into my whole body as I too began to repeat “let THEM please live, let THEM please be alive”…..that hummed in my soul for 36 HOURS….before we knew if the kids were alive, if the Orphanages hadn’t collapsed.
And tonight in the $2 movie theater, it wasn’t “as if”, I was back in those memories, and feeling those moments, I WAS THERE, I could feel the goose bumps that would not leave on my skin, the permanent lump of anxiety lodged in my chest, how much it HURT to breathe, the glare of CNN on my television constantly on, willing Anderson Copper to show MY children, their Orphanage…I was there tonight, and IT SUCKED.
Once the tears slowed and I could regulate my heartbeat again, and see the movie screen, once again, another trigger over took my senses, Bethany choose to travel to Thailand, on a mission trip right after the Tsunami, lets just say, third world country, natural disaster, here we go again….palms and forehead sweating, the smell of the Earth Torn, people dying, Haiti began to rise in my nostrils…The image of them bandaging heads, and there I was in Central Tent Hospital, in the middle of Haiti watching two small boys bring their Mother who had rags tied around two bloody stumps that once were her legs in a wheel barrow. She was dead, but the boys didn’t know that….my heart broke in half all over again, the bile in my throat just as sour, my brain screaming “why does this happen”…I. was. There.
I could see their glazed eyes looking into mine, dull and full of pain. I remembered handing them water bottles and the Protein Bars out of my bag, the brush of their hands, the feel of their hair as I ran my hand over their heads and asked if they were hungry, the sound of their voices as the said a weak “Merci”, and went to find where the volunteers had taken their mother.
I had not remembered that moment until sitting in this theater. The two weeks spent in Haiti after the quake, are full of those moments, buried under the surface, while I try to help my kids heal…and keep on burring my stuff…until it comes up fighting for air, screaming for attention.
I had a good ugly cry in the safe darkness of the sticky floored, almost empty, $2 theater.
Afterward, Bugs and I did a little walking around, I needed to regulate before going home, also secretly hoping the short people would be asleep upon my reentry.

Once I got home, tucked Bugs in bed…baby Faith needed to be held, O.K, well maybe I needed to hold her, her goodness, her healthy chubby, sweet smelling weight upon my chest, who needs a weighted blanket, when you have a baby, a healthy, emotionally attached baby, I was holding hope. So I sat on a bench from my van in my driveway, while Trev put away the last of the Garage Sale junk, and processed with him.
Having a built in Therapist…is a VERY good thing.
Once I went to bed and woke this morning, I felt purged, and I stop to wonder. When our traumatized kids, have a PTSD attack, a memory so raw, so deep, so painful…even if it is in the womb, being taken away form their birth mother, or a natural disaster, it is NOT a memory, they ARE re-living it…and if, and when those past demons pop up, we are prepped and ready and understanding and empathetic, non reactionary, we can help them process and purge that pain…and the next time it comes up, it will be a little bit smaller, a little less threatening and raw.g\

Every single one of us is in the process of healing something, let us be gentle with each other.


  1. Wow. Just wow. My heart cried with you all the way through this one...and yet I can't help but standing up on a hill and shouting with joy because I am SOOOO dang proud of you! Rather than stuffing this horrible experience, you DID what we teach our kids to do every day...you used your words and you gave it a voice. And you took a giant step toward healing. Not only will it be less scary next time it comes up, it will be less scary for it to come up and it will be easier to talk about and talk through each time it does come up. Hard stuff. VERY hard and ugly stuff...but I still can't help but smile from ear to ear because I'm SOOOO proud of you!!

  2. Oh, you poor darling. It was really good of you to share this. I'm surprised you were able to keep from making a spectacle of yourself! I would have been sobbing loudly and mortifying my child. It already seemed to me that, more than most parents, you are able to understand your children's pain because of your time in Haiti....and I can see how simply SEEING the things you saw would be traumatic. It is hard to imagine it happening to YOUR OWN WORLD...all your familiar landmarks, people you know, everything that is "home". At least my children can think that their former "places" are still THERE as they remember them.

    Yes; your little one would beat a weighted blanket, hands down....and the benefit of a personal therapist is nothing to sneeze at! No one deserves it more than you!

    Do you feel as though the hospitalization itself is making P. worse? Or that she was on a downward spiral before she was hospitalized that would have taken the same trajectory? Do you imagine an alternative treatment scenario where she would be doing better now? On one hand I am so glad she can call you; on the other it must be tking years off your life. I hope that Mormons have some idea of "offering it up" (as Catholics do); otherwise I don't know how you can bear it.


  3. You are so very right. Praying for peace and comfort for all.

  4. Linds,
    Alma 7:12- you have intimate understanding for your children, This will serve you well. You are a brave cookie...I pray for you and yours....Love you.


  5. Sending you a big chenille blanket hug.....

  6. So glad to have found your blog from someone who posted on mine suggesting I connect with you. Love your raw honesty about your children's pain and also your own. Sending you peace in the moments "between." Well, between the other junk. My daughter has been in an out of state PRTF for 2.5 years and is soon coming home. I am facing my own PTSD as I think of going back into the ring with her on the home front. It can be so ugly, and only a mama to ONE! I can't imagine your world with so many! Here's my blog if you'd like it. http://couldntmakeitupifitried-jen.blogspot.com/

  7. Wow.



  8. Hey, Just checking on your blog today. Hope you guys are doing okay. Praying for you.