Don’t suffer in silence take PTSD seriously.
Seven per cent of people will experience PTSD in their lifetime. The birth of my second daughter was a delight. A planned caesarean section, calm and slow, in complete contrast to the birth of my first daughter.
In memory, it is the birth of my first daughter that I replay. It is something I have failed to speak about until today. I need to use my writing to heal this hurt.
Over the two years, I have come to think this event has given me post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that can develop after traumatic events.
What is PTSD?
Originally, called shell shock. The first cases of PTSD were recognised in war veterans. When something traumatic happens in your life, it affects the foundations of you. The world is no longer a safe place. It becomes somewhere that bad things can and do happen.
- Delayed-onset PTSD. — When your symptoms are experienced more than six months after the event. This has been common amongst victims of sexual assault or war veterans.
- Complex PTSD. — Prolonged trauma, at an early age, can result in this diagnosis.
- Birth trauma. — PTSD that develops after a traumatic experience of childbirth. Although I was not the person giving birth, I experienced the incident.
The Symptoms of PTSD
There are several complex symptoms of PTSD, sufferers may have many of these symptoms or few. Some people with PTSD experience long periods when their symptoms are less noticeable, followed by periods where they get worse. Other people have constant severe symptoms.
Re-experiencing the event through flashbacks and nightmares. This can also extend to physical sensations such as sweats, pain and trembling.
Avoidance and Emotional Numbing involves trying to avoid a repeat of the incident. Suffers will avoid visiting places and situations that remind them of the trauma.
Hyperarousal is a constant feeling of being on edge. This may cause anger issues and sleeping problems.
My first daughter was two weeks overdue when we were taken into the hospital to be induced. For five days they tried a cocktail of drugs, her mum went into labour.
As the baby was induced, the consultant demanded a probe was fitted to the babies head, to track her heart rate. A fact I will thank god for, for the rest of my life.
During the ten hours of labour, it was discovered that my little girl was facing the wrong way. Not a big problem we were assured.
After two hours of pushing the consultant came back looked at the reading from the probe and hit the red button. What happens at that point is an alarm sounds and professionals from all areas appear. They had twenty minutes to save the life of my daughter and her mother.
One of us was cut out of her clothes, the other was told to throw scrubs on. We then ran down the corridor towards the operating room.
After an age, my daughter was delivered. A quick peek she was rushed into special care. The consultant fought to get the bleeding under control.
As many of you know, I am the proud mum of two beautiful girls. The story had a happy ending. Both were fine, in fact, my daughter only spent twenty minutes in special care, before she was returned to us.
The second birth was a calm, organised operation, our daughter stayed with us throughout, the trauma from the first birth is still there.
That is the problem with PTSD, you never know when it might strike. One of the happiest days of my life, the panic began. The flashbacks started like a film role in my head.
I had my suspicions that I was suffering PTSD for a couple of months. I can’t watch any programs about childbirth without tearing up. Nothing prepared me for feeling like this, during this birth.
People don’t want to talk about PTSD because they are embarrassed. I certainly was. I wasn’t the one on the operating table, what did I suffer?
Thankfully, I have started to heal. I write about my feelings frequently. I use a journal, which has helped. The birth of my second daughter was a magical experience. This has started to heal the hurt. Many people with PTSD suffer for years before they seek help and start to repair.
If any part of this article has started you thinking, then talk about your feelings. Time is a great healer, however, all of us need a helping hand sometimes. Don’t suffer in silence you have nothing to be ashamed of.