A Bittersweet Anniversary and Post Traumatic Stress

 

This story was originally published in 2010. Avery continues to do well on her anti-seizure meds and life is good. 🙂

It was an ordinary day. If you consider 40 degrees Celsius in May normal. Avery and I dropped big brother at school and went through our day like any other. It was exactly one year since her first seizure—a severe and nearly fatal episode.

I never seen a war, but yet I have Soldiers Heart nonetheless. At least that’s what they used to call it. Today we know it as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD usually develops as a result of a “terribly frightening, highly unsafe or life-threatening experience.” It doesn’t make a difference whose life was threatened – yours or the life of someone you love.

People who experience post traumatic stress tend to avoid places, people, or things that remind them of the event. But what happens when you live WITH the person who reminds you of the trauma IN the place where it happened? I tell you what happens; you avoid thinking about that event, ever. If you find yourself feeling any emotions related to said event, you crack a joke, call a friend or quickly distract yourself with something, anything and carry on believing that you have everything fully under control.

So imagine my surprise when I was in Avery’s room recently folding clothes and I began to shake. I Every detail of that terrible night flooded in. I left the clothes on the floor and fled. The clothes are still in a pile in the corner of the room by the way (which has nothing to do with this story, but illustrates what a lame housekeeper I am). I escaped the scene, but the memories came back in vivid detail anyway.

Since then I’ve had similar episodes at the strangest times, for seemingly no clear reason. Sometimes it’s a case of replaying the event in my head. Other times it’s just a sickening feeling of regret or foreboding.

I’m thankful for the support our family receives on so many levels. Avery is growing and learning and thriving and she is happy and loving and funny and sweet. She hasn’t had a seizure in over seven weeks which is the longest period between episodes to date.

We are hopeful and slowly allowing ourselves to live our lives again. My parents babysat recently and Adrian and I went out together. It was the first time in ages.


I’m still visited by occasional episodes of fear, but I’m getting better. In fact, this weekend I’m going away on a girls’ retreat/zip lining adventure. Cocktails will be had, games will be played, and fears will be faced.

Avery is apparently in training for a future eco-adventure tour herself. This girl literally has NO fear. None. Hopefully I can learn a few tricks from my pint sized Evel Kinevel and learn to let go…but not while I’m crossing the scary suspension bridge that leads to the zipline course. I’m going to hold on tight for that part.


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  • She's an amazing little girl and you're an amazing mummy! I can't begin to imagine what you must have been through over the past year. Glad you have some great friends and family to lean on during tough times – it's so important to have good people around. And good for you for getting away for the weekend, it's the best therapy.
    p.s. you and your hubby make a gorgeous couple!

  • You'll work your way through this and continue on like you always do. You are WAY stronger than you give yourself credit for. Don't make me come over there and smack you.

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