Archive for The Trauma(s)

Searching for….Interstim?

A really cool thing about WORDPRESS, the blogging site I use, is that it tracks your stats.  One stat that is particularly interesting to me is viewing the “search” words that individuals use that result in producing a link to my blog.

By far, the most used search term to reach my blog is “Interstim.”  I find this linkage very exhilarating and useful.  When I was first exploring the option of Interstim, I, like many people, turned to social media to get “the real scoop.”  Knowing how a person implanted with Interstim contemplates the surgery, experiences success, and lives with the implant is an immeasurable tool when deciding upon a life altering procedure.  

I’m happy to be that person to so many people.  I would encourage those searching my blog for information and/or with questions regarding my experiences with Interstim to either contact me directly at peace4Lauren@gmail.com, or leave a comment.  I would like to be able to relate my most positive experience with Interstim with you in a way that is meaningful to you.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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A List

On my yahoo homepage today I found a link to an interesting article: 8 Things You Should Never Say to a Mom.  While outlining the obvious, “you look so tired” and stating the always taboo “when are you due?” whilst not confirming the actual pregnancy, the article is a good guide for clueless friends and family for conversing with a new mother.

I offer you my own list titled

“8 Things you SHOULD say to a Mom who has Experienced Birth Trauma”

1.  How can I help?

2.  I can (insert chore here).

3.  Would you like to rest?  Do you need help with your appointments?  I can (insert time to babysit here).

4.  I can bring dinner over.

5.  If you’re interested, here’s a name of (a doctor/website/blog) that may help.

6.  I love you.

7.  I am here.

8.  Again, I love you.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

Spring Cleaning

I’d like to point out-I like to keep sentimental items.  Just so we all know.  I keep things that are nostalgic to me, and believe me, I can find nostalgia in a used napkin if the story behind it is good enough.  Luckily, I have a husband that helps me to clean out, tidy up, and keep the important things so our house does not become one that is profiled on the television show “Hoarders.”

My point-keeping nostalgic items is all well and good unless you have PTSD.  Then, these items often become painful triggers and reminders of trauma.  Until now, items from my daughter’s early years have been piled and shut away without regard to organization in various bins and dressers in our basement storage.  Until now, those items were triggering, awful, reminders of all the stuff I couldn’t do, didn’t do, because of the PTSD.  Until now, the outfit that I took her home from the hospital in was a direct adrenaline rush and full-out panic attack.

Until now.  Today-I organized bins with toys and clothes that have been haphazardly piled willy nilly in our basement.  And guess what-no triggers, no tears, no anxiety.  Only nostalgia.  Nostalgia about the good times, the precious times.  I found the outfit we brought my daughter home in.  Instead of remembering the pain, fear, panic-I recalled the joy of a true miracle.

It is amazing to me that I could do this today.  Ask me about doing this 2 years ago, I would have claimed it to be an impossible task.  Just goes to show what therapy can do for you.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Relax

The ability to relax is one that is not easy when you have PTSD.  You never truly RELAX, you’re always waiting for the next trigger.  When I was in full swing of PTSD, I did go on vacation, I did take personal days, I did have days where I would do nothing-but I never really relaxed.

It’s different this year.  I’m on vacation-I’m relaxing-and I am, truly relaxed.

I also have a spotty internet connection, so stay tuned for the next update 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Automatic

When my PTSD was in full swing, I felt as if my life was on automatic.  Stumbling through the days in a zombie like fashion, I can recall the times between panic attacks as dull, scheduled, the same.  Keeping my routine while suffering with PTSD was very important to me.  Deviations from said routine were anxiety provoking, heart palpitating, sweat inducing experiences that I tried my best to avoid.

PTSD cannot turn on and off.  It’s always there, ready to pop out at any triggering moment.  I found it difficult to acquire new skills, capitalize on my old skills, and create new relationships.  I found it difficult to remember to fill my car with gas, drive new places, create a new recipe for dinner, make new friends, keep up with old friends, do housework, and many more.  In fact, I found it difficult to do anything but sit.  And even that was hard.  Sitting requires relaxing, and relaxing was something my mind could not do unless heavily medicated.

PTSD tears you apart, it tears your relationships apart, it knocks your skill level down, and it devastates your life.  It is not something you can have respite from.  It is something that is locked in your mind, waiting to pounce out when triggered.

Lots of family and friend support, and a competent EMDR therapist will help you emerge from the darkness of PTSD.  Time without therapy does nothing to cure  PTSD, in fact, it only makes it stronger.  Unless you want to be on automatic, with bouts of panic, I encourage you to seek the help you need.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Bike Riding

The first time I was seen by a medical professional post birth trauma was 6 weeks later.  As I sat across from my OBGYN, (the same one who delivered me), she first calmly told me I was too bruised to examine.  She then proceeded to tell me about my “normal” delivery and my “normal” recovery and how it would just take time to get back to “normal.”  No mention of physical therapy, fecal incontinence surgery, PTSD treatment, just a condescending statement that “normalcy” would be achieved with time.  She then, offhandedly, remarked-“It’s not like you need to ever ride a bike again.”

WHAT?  Part of my “normal” recovery from my “normal” delivery would impact my ability to ride a bike?  I often think about this statement.  Was my OBGYN placing a thought in my head, a thought that I could reinforce with a nonchalance of “well, it’s not like I need to.”

Well, since then I have switched OBGYN’s, but the switch for the bike statement in my brain was not as easily achieved.  Until now.  I have found a bike seat that I am ready to try.  This bike seat eliminates pressure on the perineum area and claims to be both comfortable and functional for those with pelvic floor issues.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Sometimes, it’s scary

Sometimes, having a mental illness is scary.  For me, mental illness was scary.  Having a mental illness was frightening.  Navigating the path to getting better was downright terrifying.

Having a mental illness often alienates you from the supports you need the most.  Having a mental illness often cripples your ability to seek effective help without support.  A mental illness skews your mindset as to what is “normal,” healthy, and life affirming.

A mental illness makes life difficult.  Having a mental illness in our society is often seen as shameful, thus those suffering with mental illness are often stigmatized.

Having a mental illness is confusing and devastating.  People with mental illness are often alienated and unsupported.

Having a mental illness causes one to be misunderstood.  “She looks OK?” is a common refrain from those who do not truly understand the depth and pain one with a mental illness can experience.

Connecting mental illness as an outcome of childbirth is not easy.  Childbirth is often celebrated in American society as “the happiest day of your life.”  Because of this belief, it is difficult to connect the creation of postpartum mental illness with this time period in a parent’s life.

It is wonderful to begin to see the collective acceptance of society to some postpartum mental illness’.   It is important to keep the flow of information coming about postpartum mental illness in an effort to make all postpartum mental illness’ part of society’s collective knowledge.  Only then will resources, effective therapies, and society support be commonplace.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

My Daughter’s Egg Tooth

So, my daughter is hatching chicks at preschool.  She’s patiently been watching the eggs in the incubator for the last 21 days, waiting for the chick to emerge.  Last night, while brushing her teeth, she told me all about the chicks’ egg tooth.  Apparently, the egg tooth on the chick is really on the beak, and it is what the chick uses to crack the egg. This crack appeared in the egg while she was at school.  Once cracked, the chick takes time to slowly push out of the egg over the next day.  My daughter was looking forward to seeing the emerged chick and broken shell next time she entered the classroom.

I could see the wheels spinning in her head as she processed her next question. “Mom, did I have an egg tooth?”  Before I could answer, she followed up, “Mom, did I crack you?”  Quickly followed by, “Mom, did I BREAK you?” Quickly followed by, “How did I get out?”

Now, of course I would not tell a 4-year-old about the perils of birth trauma, the horrific birth experience I endured, or my battered and broken body. I’m not even ready to tell her about how babies are born without any trauma. So, instead I said, “I love you. Of course you didn’t break me like a chicken shell. It’s time for bed.”

Like most 4 year olds, this redirection of conversation worked just fine, for now.  Eventually, I’ll tell her how babies are born, and much, much, much later, about birth trauma.

Right now, it’s fine with me if her understanding is limited to her egg tooth.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Are you a soldier?

When I mention my diagnosis of PTSD to those who don’t really know anything about my back story, I inevitability get the question, “are you a soldier?”  While it is true the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is most affiliated in the public realm with war and soldier responsibilities, it is NOT true that a diagnosis of PTSD can only stem from war.

Because PTSD is a complicated diagnosis, I would encourage you to read more about by clicking the following link:  http://www.mental-health-today.com/ptsd/dsm.htm  As always, remember that the trauma is in the eye of the beholder, thus creating situations for PTSD in virtually all aspects of life, not just war.

Unfortunately, even where PTSD is most affiliated in society’s collective mindset, questions about diagnosis, effective therapy, and successful outcomes still remain.  Because of the stigma attached to PTSD, and the politics surrounding “too many” diagnosed soldiers, often many of our brave men and women are undiagnosed and untreated.

My point is, society has a long way to go in understanding PTSD.  Even in the most connected realm of war and soldier’s PTSD, there still remains many gaps in both diagnosis and treatment.  There are incredibly enormous gaps of understanding PTSD in other areas of society, besides war.  I hope that PTSD, no matter where it stems from, can move into the collective forefront of society’s mindset in the near future.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

“Till it’s gone…”

So many times I have heard the phrase used, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”

This is especially true with trauma.  In my case, physically and emotionally.

Hindsight is 20/20.

If I could kiss my sphincter pre-trauma, I would.  Yes, I am suggesting that if you have the ability to go to the bathroom, if you don’t even have to think about it, then, kiss your ass.  Because, guess what, it does a GREAT job.  You don’t even have to tell it to do a good job.  You don’t even have to go to physical therapy, eat a modified diet, wear protective undergarments, consider surgery-because, it’s working for you.  And guess what-you don’t know what you got till it’s gone- so APPRECIATE it!

If I could kiss my brain pre-trauma, I would.  Yes, I am suggesting that if you don’t have any of your neural networks tied up in adrenaline laced triggers, if you don’t have confusion, agitation, blocked endorphin flow, then kiss your brain.  Because, guess what, it does a GREAT job.  You don’t even have to tell it to do a good job.  You don’t even have to go to endless hours of therapy-because, it’s working for you.  And guess what-you don’t know what you got till it’s gone- so APPRECIATE it!

So, that’s it.  I didn’t know what I had, until it wasn’t there anymore.  Even though the fall-out wasn’t fun, if you’re able to get something back-it’s a truly awesome feeling.  Although it will never be the same, I can modify the phrase by saying- “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone…but if you can get it back, the appreciation and joy you will feel is overwhelming.”

So, excuse me, I need to kiss my ass now.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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