Parenting with PTSD

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

I have been actively trying to leave my phone in the bedroom more often and not take it out with me. I realise that in the absence of other crutches I have been using social media as a form of numbing.

According to my North Star, Brené Brown (who else? 😂🙈), numbing is a way we take the emotion out of what we are experiencing - this is everyone, or just people who have experienced trauma.

Some people numb out with food, others with TV, some with wine some with drugs and alcohol.

I’ve consciously reduced my drinking in the last two months because it was interacting badly with my medication. I’ve instead been pouring my time into social media. So last week, while I’ve also taken time for creativity like digital art and photography – not just for ’the gram’ – i’ve also spent a lot of time just being.

This has been particularly true of my time with Amory. I’ve spent a lot of time in the car with him because Nick has been unwell and so Amory and I have had some amazing conversations, it’s incredible to see how much his language skills are developing. I often find these car trips overwhelming and arrive home in tears, but I only had one of those last week.

Even though I really did hit rock bottom again recently, I feel like I had been living badly for about five weeks - since I stopped taking my medicine. I was normalising lots of little things – emotional irregularities like becoming overwhelmed when doing the grocery shopping or when Amory wanted to play a game instead of getting right out of the car.

This bad patch has forced me to recognise that I was not operating as normal. It’s amazing how much support I’ve had from my friends family and from people on here – my safe space. I feel like I have come so far in the last week and a large part of that is because I realised how long I had been falling. It feels life-bringing to be able to talk about it and be moving through the worst of it, not carrying my PTSD around with me like an overly emotional, anxious friend.

If you are a mum who is also reading this, then I would really encourage you to have a think about what you’re putting up with and what you’re just pushing through because you know you need to get stuff done.

My dad said it to me last week when I had spent a day taking Nick into the emergency department, different doctors, a Covid testing clinic, and down to daycare pick ups. I am a high functioning person dealing with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

It’s because I have to be. As a mum, you can’t just switch off when everything goes off the rails.

That has been the silver lining last week.

My mind and emotions have been all over the place. On Thursday everything did well and truly go off the rails with a trip to the emergency department for my husband and a long day in the car getting him to various appointments. At 7pm, after my son went to sleep, I did have a cry when I heard that a family friend had passed away.

But I took some time for myself and most importantly – I took my medicine. And I woke up and life kept moving.

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