Turns out that PTSD actually means Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Trauma. Any kind. Surviving a car accident. Witnessing a crime. Losing a loved one.
Making it through to the other side of a traumatic experience.
I couldn’t let go of what could have happened with the creep next door. (Backstory.) Every time I looked out my kitchen window, I could see their house. I obsessed about whether or not they were home. I freaked out about going to water the garden or play in the yard with my Baby, in case he was watching her from his yard. I wondered if he would retreat now, only to exact revenge on us in years from now. Should we move? Would the fence be tall enough? Long enough? Alarm system? Dog?
My mind kept going there. I had to literally talk myself out of picturing the bad things that could have been done to my Angel. I kept watching her innocent ways, her happiness and thinking what if? Where would we be now?
I kept reading the websites about how to prevent, what signs to look for in people to detect a predator, when to be alert, how to be vigilant, how to protect your child. I decided and told my husband that we’d no longer have any relatives staying at our house. That all doors would be open at all times whenever anyone visited. That we would have to keep going to check on her when we were visiting with friends or family to make sure she was ok. I still feel like this.
I worry about the guy next door, her older boy cousins, the soccer coach, people in our church that think she’s so cute, etc. My rose-colored glasses were removed, permanently, and replaced by hyper-vigilant telescopic lenses.
And then I spilled to a friend of mine and she told me that I was consumed by what had happened and that I should talk to someone so that I could breathe. So, I did. And I’m slowly starting to breathe again. Slowly. He told me that I was traumatized by what happened and that it would take time for me to heal and trust in the world again. And that this was ok. And that the hyper-vigilance was great for my daughter’s safety, as long as I didn’t suffocate her or paralyze her with my fear.
To anyone out there who feels all-consumed by anything that has happened to them in their life is this…do not feel as though something is wrong with you. It is normal to feel this way. It is bigger than you. Turn to someone else and tell them this. Tell them, “I cannot let this go. I keep thinking about… I feel overwhelmed and I think of nothing else. I need to talk to someone.”
What you’re going through is real and it’s ok to feel this way. You are ok and you will be ok.