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Stress, Fears Anxiety and PTSD for Caregivers

 

Certainly we love sharing stories, pictures and updates about our day to day and our children in therapy… all the things that we’re supposed to do and share when you’re on social media. Building connections.

But the truth is is that some of us do have high levels of anxiety PTSD stress and social anxiety over the simplest things that can be triggered by just about anything. A conversation can take a drastic turn,  social media is a great place to keyboard scream then block,  walk away and feel a little better about yourself.  Most special needs drama I see occur are from people that don’t necessarily like to be upset or angry… Rather just may seem a little more fragile than another parent.
Even a simple outing can be triggering depending on the day before or the morning.  Hell you may even just get a trigger first thing when you wake up in the morning that sets up the environment for the rest of everyone else’s moods.  And our energy’s do connect so if you’re putting negative energy out it is radiating to those around you.  That’s why we feel a need to run,  walk away or get us time.  We are actually trying to escape our own energy.

Most of my stressors are products of my surroundings.  The things I cannot control and they affect my physical well being. Recently I met with an essential oil person.  I did an analysis and I told her prior that I hated lemon grass but am always drawn to it.  Wouldn’t you know it was one of my top 5 oils needed. Now,  the fascinating part is this.  Guess what was in noahs top five?  Three stressors,  physical and emotional links to the same oils as me.  I spend 99% of my time with him so this proves even more our energy is transcending and viral.  Energy matters.

Why I worry for my special needs mamas and dads….
What you don’t see is a whole lot of parents especially in Special Needs communities talking about the Stress and Anxiety that we suffer from. I myself having lost someone with PTSD and stress anxiety social anxiety and depression, I have to be aware of the fact that those days can turn into weeks and if I’m not careful those weeks can turn into much longer.

I have a select few friends that I actually do talk to that know me on a personal basis. Those are the parents that I can talk to openly about my stresses and they talk to me about their stresses and they’re so vast and various between us, some of us worrying about seizures and how to control them other people are worried about behavioral issues and how to breakthrough to their child. Some parents may be worried about how their child is going to act in high school or or respond to being around their peers. I can’t even imagine some parents anxiety with cases that are not as severe as my sons and they have to think about driving and jobs and potentially their child wanting to move out to venture out into the world we’ve watched be cruel at times. Those are scary things that we as parents just don’t talk about enough.

Sometimes when I’m asleep I wake up in a full-on panic attack. It could be when I’m laying here alone it could be in the middle of doing absolutely nothing but I feel this tremendous fear that rushes over my body and the next thing you know my peripheral vision is gone and I feel like I’m floating through a tunnel and a fear of death is there right next to me something awful.  I can’t run!  I just tell my body I’m going to die. For some moments I can’t figure out if I’m actually having a heart attack, if I’m actually having a panic attack or am I really dying. I have even gone so far as to run around the house because I was convinced I didn’t have a heartbeat.

I imagine that’s some kind of triggered anxiety and PTSD over the fact that should anything ever happen to me God forbid… Oh my gosh I just don’t even know how I would even wrap my head around what would happen to my son. It’s an ongoing battle in my head between caring for my child who constantly needs me, and my own Stress and Anxiety and work and all the things that I have to accomplish everyday to be a parent and a provider.

I do wish the lines of communication were open more freely about anxiety and PTSD. My concern is that I thinks it’s a more of recent suicides and especially celebrity deaths have brought to light things that I’ve known about for years now since my own father suicide. But depression and anxiety are entirely different with the ability to morph.  For the moments we live in shadows and we have these sweeping rushes of fear we have to either talk ourselves out or be misdiagnosed with depression. And let me just say it’s very difficult to talk to family or friends that just don’t relate to the kind of stress and triggers that you deal with on a daily basis.

There is absolutely no way to define a seizure to someone that’s never seen one. There is no way to explain feeding dysfunction and feeding tubes to someone that has never seen one without scaring them and, or the person being very open-minded.
I’ll admit it wasn’t even until recently that someone had mentioned to me that I have anxiety and PTSD. For years I had known that my father and some members of my family suffered from different forms of depression. I would go days where I could go without talking to someone or multiple people,.I could probably go weeks if I allowed myself. But that day I was sitting across from a friend that knows me very well. As we were talking about different triggers because that’s what my job entails, working hands on with a disorder that I live with as well.  It was him who said “Tricia you do have PTSD” and I have never really seen someone look at me so certain and so sure of what they were saying not even a doctor in the almost 17 years that I’ve had a special needs child. So from there I was able to go home and start researching PTSD and anxiety instead of depression which was a complete wrong diagnosis for me but yet the doctors have been telling me for years that’s what I was suffering from. I never listened to them because I knew.  But how many misdiagnosed people are out there?  Maybe my family wasn’t suffering from depression all those generations out,  rather ptsd and stress.

I think the most awakening part about it all is the fact that I’ve had these underlying stressors in my life for so long and didn’t realize it because no one had ever told me that there could possibly be something else that was holding me hostage to my own demons.  Depression was NOT a label that existed for me. And that day I was able to finally figure out so much about myself and why I live with certain triggers and why I deal with certain  days that I warn people ahead  I’m triggered today!

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go places it was I had no idea what kind of mood I was going to be in or when I was going to snap because there were and are many times that everything will be perfectly fine and then I will just snap into a mood that was triggered by something but I can never quite place it. I owe that friend a lot.  If anything the ability to just have some control back in my life and understand why I have anxiety in the first place.

There are situations and circumstances in my life and in the life of many of my friends that we cannot control and we know at any given moment things can change drastically. If that’s not enough to trigger some sort of PTSD in somebody well I just don’t even know what PTSD is I guess. At least now I know how to approach friends that might be dealing with the same thing I am. We live a complex life filled with roller coaster emotions. Most of the time there’s some kind of underlying fear about the unknown. If not an always lingering party crasher hanging around your inner peace.

Which brings me back to the whole fact of what PTSD is and how it’s been associated with combat Warriors and people with very traumatic and experiences such as mass shootings things like that. I imagine that’s much like our life in some way because at any moment we could be ambushed or attacked by some unknown forces that is just a mystery and part of our child’s diagnosis. Am I awful for admitting what all parents want to say?  I have PTSD and severe anxiety because of my childs diagnosis.  There I made it easier for you all to breathe.  We are all still ok even after saying I hurt because my child or loved one has unknown pains and troubles.  They overpower our hearts,  pain us deeply and cuts us raw. Who wouldn’t have anxiety over that?

I think the lines of communication should be open I think there should be platforms for parents to talk about things. I think that family judges us. I think that friends don’t understand because maybe we don’t let them in our world enough. And you know what? that’s okay to because maybe we’re still dealing with a little bit of stress and Anxiety over the things we still can’t control in our lives. And no one likes to appear weak when we have to keep a brave face at every moment.
I think you’re very brave. We all are but we are allowed to be weak to. I imagine that gives us the balance that we need to cope with our own PTSD Stress and Anxiety. And if we talk to one another about those things we may just pull somebody out of the shadows at their weakest moment.

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