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Traumatic Experience - Age Seven

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Post Traumatic Experience of 1956

HELD CAPTIVE IN THE SUB-CONSCIOUS MIND IS A MOVIE - A LIFE STORY NOT MADE PRIVY TO YOU. WHEN PREGNANT AND AFTER HAVING YOUR CHILDREN THE DIFFERENT FRAMES OF YOUR MOVIE ARE BEING PLAYED - SILENTLY AND FAR REMOVED FROM CONSCIOUS VIEW. 

 

IS IT ANY WONDER THEN THAT WOMEN WHO HAVE ENDURED PAST ABUSE, TRAUMA AND PREVIOUS MOOD DISORDERS ARE FALLING VICTIM TO "THE THIEVES THAT STEAL MOTHERHOOD" (Copyright, 2/20/02 by D.A. GRAY)

 

I ONCE WONDERED WHY I WAS THAT ONE IN ONE THOUSAND WHO EXPERIENCE PSYCHOSIS WITH POSTPARTUM ONSET (DSM-IV) AFTER THE BIRTH OF EACH OF MY TWO CHILDREN.  I DON'T WONDER ANYMORE!   I KNOW NOW WHAT WAS ALL INCLUSIVE IN MY  PERSONAL POSTPARTUM PUZZLE.

 

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My father had always said that I was hospitalized the Fall of 1956 for pneumonia. Up until a few short years ago, no one in the family, including me, knew any different.

 

A past psychiatrist, seen by me over six years  ago, concluded from what I could share at the time, that this past childhood experience must have been from a "near death drowning".  At least that is what some of the flashbacks were indicating. Such things as: seeing myself under an oxygen tent; seeing a group of strange people around my hospital bed with clipboards and white coats; seeing blood upon the water at the traumatic scene, and seeing long arms that came up from behind me while under the water. Near death drowning, hmm, is that why I had pneumonia?

 

Looking back today, the flashbacks were but the beginning to finding all the answers to questions still haunting me today. Try as I may to ignore them, they seem to crop up very much on their own - without warning.

 

I do not dwell on 1956, but was made aware this past July 4th week that 1956 still is causing mental havoc.  I have work yet to do to come to terms with what seems to be a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the above experience at the age of seven. Panic attacks still crop up occasionally when I least expect them.  It has hindered me in the past, especially after having my babies, and continues to cause me grief, but it does not deter me from my passion to help other women in the mean time. God willing, I will continue. 

 

I felt so dazed and confused for a very long time after October of 1956.  Back at school my mind just wandered.  I felt as if my body were separated from my mind.  Concentration was off and my math scores at school went from B's/C's to an "F" within the first marking period.

When finally returning home, everything that I once knew as "normal" was not normal anymore.  There was a new baby at my house and Grandma "Nanny" was there.  Nanny was a big help to me - she taught me how to fold my hands and hold a rosary, and to pray to God for my safety.  Nanny also knew how to listen to my little girl's inner concerns.

 

Everything between beginning to slip in the tub to waking up in the hospital is to this day still held captive within my subconscious mind.  For a very long time, after being released from the hospital, I walked around in a cloud, clinging close to home and my family - not knowing why I felt so strange, so far removed from what I knew as my past before being hospitalized.  I was filled with trepidation and fear.

 

There are still times, at the age of 56, where I still have an overall sense of dread when in a tub-type enclosure, especially if water gets in my nose and burns.  I will then get this feeling that I am not alone and that at any moment people will be rushing into the bathroom.  This does not happen all the time, but it seems to happen when I least expect it - usually when my mood is awry and I'm feeling more vulnerable. It does however, still happen. This always has confused me and made me want to know why.  I wanted to apply cause and effect to this problem to  understand more clearly and then once understood I could put this too behind me, and  "go on with my life". 

 

I am again seeing my "ole", present psychiatrist to work on what he now believes has always been Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, experienced since 1956. 

 

This same type of impending, misunderstood fear, one day when showering, was also present before being hospitalized for the first time.  I remember at one point wanting to scream and couldn't, then, I actually did cry out for my husband.

 

Although I did call out to my husband at one point  from the shower, "I need help"  just before our daughter turned eight months old, I did not know why I needed help. I only knew one thing ... I felt that I was in danger and did not want to be alone with the unknown fear.  I am sure that I feared for my children's safety as well - the fear was felt all around me and therefore I worried for their safety too. 

 

How was I to care for my precious new baby girl, our five-year old son - when I could not even care for myself.  How could I protect them from the world around us - we were stationed at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in what was still West Germany at the time.  And, just a year or so before having my daughter, terrorists had blown up the Officer's Club on the base my husband was assigned to - just a short few weeks before we arrived!  How could I protect them from things of that sort now, when I did not have a handle on my own demons!

 

I was expected to act the part of a Security Police's military wife, but all I felt was fear, internal conflict, self-doubt and intense fear surrounding my very psyche.

 

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Postscript: I found out many years later,  why Dad had to be away from me while being hospitalized - he was trying to be in two places at once.  My mother was in New Hampshire having a baby at the hospital where all seven of us were born. He went once during my hospitalization when mom had pre-mature labor, and he had to return for the actual birth when I was released.  At  seven years old I did not grasp what was going on at home during that time-frame.

 

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I did not know what having real feelings were until coming out of my 3 1/4 year postpartum stupor. I had been held captive in a prison without bars for all that time - and the monster mother masher only ceased to be as a result of a spiritual reawakening and an "earth angel" sent by God to let me know I was forgiven long ago - and now, it was time to forgive myself!  

 

 

THE ADULT CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS - "LINK"

 

When researching why I was so null and void of feelings - and therefore feeling threatened by everything and everyone around me, during PPD and Psychosis, I found out that this was not all that uncommon among children of alcoholics.

 

As ACOA we continue to internalize feelings and never really talk about them or learn how to process through them so they do not affect us negatively in the course of our daily lives.

 

At the age of 31, post-postpartum complications, I was finally allowed to feel life for the very first time. I began to experience feelings that were never truly felt ever before. Life was great!

 

No wonder God sent me an angel of comfort and the gift of writing; God knew that I would need to vent some of the nasty feelings held captive within.  It was truly a miracle!

 

My first writing was a song, entitled,  A Little Angel Up In The Sky.  I guess I must have come pretty close to death to have God send me such a special angel to guide me "home".  Guide me home God did - "For the grace of God go I."

 

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In 2000, when plucking my eyebrows, I took more out than I normally did and was caught off-guard to discover a scar at the brow line of my right eye. This was quite a surprise as I had no recollection of ever having hit my head. Then, an internal light bulb went off and it dawned on me where this scar might have come from.  There was no other logical explanation - it had to have come from the fall in the bath tub in 1956.  I may have had pneumonia, but if I did, it was as a consequence of having had a concussion first. Was that the real reason I went under the water after slipping in the tub that day. 

 

Again, an overwhelming sense of dread and fear washed over my very soul - this would explain the block of time not remembered if I had been knocked unconscious.  It also explained why the shots; keeping patients calm after head injuries is standard medical protocol even today.

 

But why did my father always say I was in the hospital as a result of pneumonia? Didn't he even know what happened or did he know and was covering up. Keeping secrets at our house was "our" normal.   

 

If I do not ever find out all the answers to the questions, I will definitely ask God one day what the real scoop is. For now, I am ok not knowing "the rest of the story". 

 

 

 

 

 

 "For the grace of God continue I." 

 

 

 

 

 

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