Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


Here is a great article from the New York Times about PTSD in NICU parents. I know first hand how true it is.

About 5 months after the boys were born I was really in a dark place. You would have thought the joy that both my kids survived and came home to us would have been enough to erase the trauma that we went through and I'm sure that most people can't understand how this could be either. But this was one of the most difficult times in my life and in our marriage as Kenny too was dealing with the trauma he experienced.

I held it together so well through the NICU stay and once we got home it just all came pouring down on me and I was so very exhausted but unable to sleep. Everywhere I looked it seemed that nothing but bad things were happening. We continued to get so much bad news about long term prognosis that I wasn't able to enjoy the babies as much as I should have because I was constantly on the look out for problems.

My kids were doing fine but I was so used to being in crisis mode that I kept waiting for the rug to be jerked out from under my feet. I couldn't relax or rest, I was expecting the heart monitors to go off or to find one of the babies had stopped breathing. I would lie in bed and have a panic attack wondering if I'd remembered to administer a medication or turn the oxygen and monitors back on after a bath. And everytime I knew someone who was pregnant I constantly worried that something bad was going to happen to their pregnancy.

While I was never "officially" diagnosed with PTSD I feel like it is a better descriptor for what I experienced than PPD. I was never sad or depressed really, I was just a complete nervous wreck, anxious all the time, my heart was constantly racing and I felt like I could never catch my breath.

Nothing can prepare a parent for an experience like this and I don't think the hospital or my doctors were really knowledgeable enough about the parent's ordeal to guide us through the process.

Although we are forever impacted by this experience, God is good and I've felt so much restoration in my life over the last two years. I hope that other parents will be able to get the help they need before it destroys lives and marriages.

Psalm 31: 21-22
Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.
In my alarm I said, "I am cut off from your sight!" Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.

6 comments:

Lynn said...

Oh Lindsey, I can't even imagine! I'm sure you've been through PTSD and will feel it's effects for a long time to come, maybe even the rest of your life. But know that the Lord IS with you every second of every day and He WILL get you through whatever you have to face!
Continuing to lift up prayers!

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Jennifer said...

I can so sympathize. Given that Nick has only been home from the NICU for 5 months, sometimes I still find myself grieving for the "normal" bringing home, raising a baby stuff. I just posted about not being able to buy him a "birthday shirt" at a store, because they don't make birthday shirts under 12months in size. My little one, is still in 3-6m clothing. Faith is my rock, and I hope it continues to be yours.

babymagik18 said...

I could have written this same psot word for word. It does get easier but its a jouney burned into your soul so deep that it will never completely go away.
god bless you and all families dealthign with PTSD

Kierstyn said...

I can't even imagine. I'm so thankful that God brought you and Kenny through those dark days. What a testimony to his grace!

Lynn said...

Know that I'm always here praying!

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Lynn said...

Praying hard right now!
Psalms 27:7-8 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
Prayer Bears
My email address