PTSD in a Medical Mom

Originally posted on my Facebook page. Follow there for more mini posts.

What does PTSD look like in a medical mom?

Like tears when you hear ambulance sirens.

Like bolting upright in bed because of constant nightmares.

Like fear gripping you with every photo of your child, wondering if it will be the ‘last one.’

Like gripping your knees and rocking gently in bed as you watch your child’s heart rate after things seemed just a bit off.

Like a smile hiding the numbness.

Like a quick head shake and swallowing down feelings that rise up in your throat and start to spill out your eyes.

Like a too round body after turning to ice cream and pizza and chocolate to get through the day.

Like looking for an escape when seeing a pregnant belly or a new baby.

Like driving around aimlessly trying to find some calm after a scare with your child.

Like crawling into your closet to cry over a silly thing because the big things are too terrifying to feel.

Like a jaw that clicks because it spends its days locking back tears and panic.

Like a stomach that flips with fear whenever it looks like the trach *might* come out.

Like spending a day staring at a game on your phone after the trach *did* come out.

Like retreating from others’ suffering because you’re not ready to face your own.

Like a complete inability to deal with the regular details of life because they’re just too much.

Like lying awake at night thinking through how close things were, how badly things could have gone.

Like desperately searching for a distraction, any distraction, when something triggers memories.

Like a panic attack in a mall food court when the cleaning supplies remind you of the smell of anesthesia (and your body reacts before your brain can figure out the problem).

Like an attempt to control everything all the time in a vain attempt to keep crises at bay.

Like being cold and heartless because you know once you start to cry, you won’t stop.

Like keeping back happiness or excitement because you’re scared of it being taken away.

PTSD doesn’t always look big or clear.

Sometimes you can’t even see it at all.

But it’s there, lurking, sometimes stuffed down, sometimes barely under the surface.

And it won’t just go away.

It will just lie in wait until life calms or it can’t be shoved down anymore.

PTSD looks different in each person.

Be patient.

Be understanding.

Be kind.

We’re wounded. We’re healing.

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