[Editor’s note: To echo Jess from Diary of a Mom today, I am reposting my own PTSD experience to share again.]
There is an interesting topic of discussion brewing in the autism community… Stemming from an otherwise “typical” conversation between an amazing group of moms navigating life with autism on board.
After blurting out “PTSD” at a recent gathering of other Warrior Mamas, I thought for a moment my snarkyness had gotten the best of me, and perhaps I had gone a little too far this time. After what felt like the longest and most awkward pause in conversation, in a room full of women I had never met before, the reaction so far has been nothing less than positively healing… I think my fellow Mama did the most spectacular job bringing this topic out of the darkness and into the light >here<.
It seemed like a great idea — Sergeant Major had the day off today, the kids were at school, and we decided to begin the arduous task of prepping for our ridiculously gigantic yard sale this spring. FEEL THE PURGE, BABY is our new motto.
I don’t know what the hell I was thinking.
After less than an hour of sorting through boxes and piles of everything you can imagine — I suddenly felt like I had just stepped away from the most unbelievable car wreck, where everyone is staring at me because they cannot believe I haven’t a scratch on me. Except — I am broken everywhere on the inside.
Five long years of everything I had planned to do lay before me, tearing away at my heart, ripping my soul to shreds. A set of small plastic pots from when my son begged for the third spring in a row to plant some sunflower seeds and watch them grow. I had finally bought the seeds, and now had no idea whatever became of them. There were empty picture frames by the dozen. The most beautiful pictures of my boy when he was 3, that never saw the light of day. I stood there unable to move for what seemed like hours. I felt stricken by those deep, dark greenish eyes and how he must see right through me. Every promise I had made to him that disappeared amid the chaos of 4q and deployments and autism.
Then there were the fairy wings I got RM to wear for preschool when she was 3. It had been Princess Week. Most of the little girls wore their favorite Disney Princess gowns every day to camp, beaming with pride from their tiaras down to their slippered toes. RM wore the precious green wings long enough for me to take one picture outside of the school.
Really, it was the absence of fruitless promises to my little angel that burned me. There were no piles of projects never touched, nor dress-up clothes for her to grow up and fuss with. Nothing of what one expects to share with their baby girl as they watch her grow into a young lady. Rather, boxes and boxes of medical supplies and feeding tube bags.
It was more than four years of struggles and surgeries and the sweetest, lingering goodnight kisses PRAYING they would not be the last — hitting me all at once — a powerful, silent undertow dragging me deeper into an abyss of emotion, filling my lungs with salty tears — desperately flailing to stay afloat —
With autism on board.
I cannot describe how blessed I feel that in a flood of sobs I was able to tell my SGM how I was feeling today… and he understood completely. He had been sorting through his five years of wreckage, too.