I haven’t posted in a while. I just haven’t been able to put my thoughts and feelings to paper recently, it’s hard to explain. But today I’m going to talk about some of the issues or PTSD symptoms someone can have after going through something like this, specifically what I go through.
First, let me give the definition of PTSD in it’s simplest form for those who do not know what it is. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event, either experiencing it or witnessing it.
Now of course there are different levels and extremes to this. It is not the same for everyone, definitely not black and white. For some if may be so bad that they can not function normally in life anymore, for others it’s still very real but not as extreme.
I’m not going to get into specific details about that day, the day I lost my husband, but I am going to explain a little of what happened. That day I was the one that found my husband, I was the one that called 911, I was the one that was trying so desperately to save him while waiting for the ambulance to get there…it was a dark day. I’ve never in my life felt fear like that. I pray I never feel fear like that again. It was something I can never explain to anyone. I think back to that day and those moments and all I remember was the fear…such soul crushing fear. Some details I’m not sure I even remember, my mind blocks them out, but I remember enough.
Since that day I have certain things that bring on anxiety, bring that fear back and take me back to that day. The first one I’ll discuss is people sleeping. I don’t like seeing people sleeping at all now. I’m always nervous they won’t wake up. If they are very still, I start to feel “the fear” again as I go to check them. If my stepchildren sleep in longer than normal I always have anxiety when I walk in their rooms to get them up. I’m terrified I will relive the events of that day with someone else I love. I can’t fully explain it but trust me, it’s not fun. I hate it.
Another thing is that I haven’t been able to go into a Walmart since. I didn’t shop at Walmart much anyway but that day, after I picked up my stepdaughter from preschool, we stopped at Walmart before going home. For me, Walmart will always be the place I was while my husband was dying and needed me. I can’t seem to walk through those doors again. One day there was something I needed and a friend of mine told me they sell them at Walmart. I planned to go and just face my fear of it but I couldn’t. I simply couldn’t talk myself into going to Walmart. I’ve always hated Walmart anyway, the lines, the waiting…you know what I’m talking about. But now, I hate it for a whole different reason. Logically I know Walmart has nothing to do with it but it doesn’t seem to matter. I picture myself, with my stepdaughter, walking around Walmart and getting food to cook for dinner and getting little odds and ends, and all the while having no idea what was happening at home. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to walk through those doors again. Maybe never.
While in Walmart that day I had tried to call my husband twice. He didn’t answer. I remember thinking to myself “Oh good. Maybe he fell asleep and is getting some rest.” He hadn’t sleep well the night before and worked the 2nd shift so I wanted him to get some rest before going into work later that day. Well, the other day I was meeting my mom somewhere and I called her, no answer. I waited a little bit and then called again, still nothing. I became so panicked. I called my dad and asked if he had heard from her since she left the house and he said he hadn’t and I was then in full panic mode. If there is someone who I know usually answers my calls and who I’ve tried to call multiple times and they still don’t answer, I truly start to believe the absolute worst has happened. I was almost in tears and my anxiety was building with every passing minute that she wasn’t returning my call. I realize this was irrational, I had no reason to believe something had happened to her, the only thing that had happened was that she hasn’t answered her phone. She finally called me back and my anxieties were lifted but I realized that day I had some real fears living inside me now.
The last thing I’ll discuss is my nightmares. They just started in the last few months. The first year after I lost my husband I barely even remember dreaming, but lately the nightmares have been occurring. They aren’t every night but they are at least once a week. In the dreams my husband is usually already gone and I know he has passed away. Mostly my dreams are about losing one or both of my stepchildren. They are very realistic dreams and I wake up panicked. A lot of the time I am desperately looking for them because they have gone missing. I also dream I’m trying to save them because something has happened to them. These dreams are horrible. Once I wake up, it takes awhile to shake the feeling inside of me, the fear. I know I have a fear of losing them as I lost my husband, I have a fear of trying to save them (or anyone) and being unable to do so.
That day and the events surrounding it changed me, it brought up fears inside me. No one should ever have to go through what I did that day. I know many people have gone through it, and many more will, please just be understanding to those who have experienced such an event. There are battles going on inside them that you may not even know they are fighting.