In the deep dark closet, after the storm, hides a still, small, frail little girl. Afraid to move, afraid to open the door to allow the light in. All of her education from childhood and beyond have left her, left her adult years and reduced her to childhood fears. Balled up, rattled and shaking inside the closet of her adult body, the emotions are secretly tucked and screaming to get out.
Outwardly she smiles, walks firm and appears cheerful and unaffected by the tornado that has ripped through her life. One minute everything was normal and instantly all that was steady and sure turned to a tangled mess, a tornado laden vast wasteland with scattered shards of the remains of what once was.
New normal isn’t as deeply rooted, isn’t as tall and steady as the oak that once stood firm and tall, reaching for the sky without a thought of a storm. Will the sun ever shine again on these limbs? Will the wind ever settle down? What will tomorrow bring? Can normal ever be achieved?
Depression, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) and Anxiety flourish, grow and accelerate after a life changing event. Soldiers coming home from war, conflict, service overseas; how can they NOT experience the affect of what has been experienced, no matter the experience. The experience for one is different for one versus another. Who is qualified to determine the threshold an individual has for trauma that buries itself deep within a soul?
Depression, like PTSD and a symptom experienced by those suffering PTSD is a side affect and is a silent killer, a silent emotion and does not always have outward symptoms that are clearly visible nor distinguishable. Anxiety too plagues many who suffer PTSD. Whatever change that occurs during a traumatic experience of great magnitude, not paying attention to the signs can cause them to multiply and begin to spiral out of control.
As you go through these signs and symptoms of any of the three conditions mentioned, many will scoff at you. Many will tell you to “suck it up.” Still others will cast aside the feelings that are expressed and give no weight to the hidden pain that may be felt. Tension, crying, helplessness, hopelessness, loss of appetite, loss of weight, loss of interest in familiar things are only a few of the signs and symptoms that are masked and not set out there for others to see.
As I have walked the path I describe here. I am and still continue to address the hidden challenges and the hidden signs of whichever of these conditions I am suffering as our family walks the path of of the events of David’s heart attack. One day is different from another and the symptoms are ever changing, day to day, week to week.
Originally I felt fine and addressed each step and challenge as they came to me. I was breezing through the hospital days, journaling each day along the way. As the day neared for David to come home, I could no longer address the situations before me. Fear of David reading my true emotions began to grip me. I did not want him to worry about me, did not want him to know the depth of what was happening inside of me.
As days wore on, more signs of how I was coping internally began to appear fully and straight in the face, like a smack from your best friend. Pain, emotions, and so much more began to find their way into each crack and crevice of my world. The first big sign came in a 911 call that resulted in a family member arriving on the scene and scolding me sorely to get medical help immediately or he would do this for me.
I sought help and was given the standard “American Pill” remedy given to all who seek help. Everyone around me within my inner circle knew what happened (this means my employees and best friend), but others would have no clue as the animal was being stuffed more and more. Exhausted, the medication gave some relief and some confidence that I was not having a heart attack like David. I was not having respiratory issues, but rather suffering from this dark closet of horror that grips all whom the devil finds a crack and ebbs in.
After a few weeks, the symptoms changed and the next phase moved in. Anxiety continued with palpitations that moved throughout my torso. Easter morning the palpitations led to an optical migraine and tension headache. All week, tension and optical migraines ensued. Nothing helped, nothing helps. As I step back and address the reasoning, trying to explain to my family that the crying out of the blue is not founded by any underlying thought or reason, but rather just unexplained. Tears wash the emotions away for a while and then they return.
The rain outside continues on this Saturday. Fresh air helps. Walks help. On rainy days like today, there is no escaping the side affects. Going to work and keeping my mind off the impending days ahead (David’s bypass surgery) helps as well. These conditions will subside with diligence and effort on my part. As I tell my children, “I will be fine, I just need to digest this.” Simply put, this means that I need time to think it through and work through it all.
I share this blog as a first step in sharing my journey and also in healing. So many go through exactly what I am expressing here, though they never share their journey. As I share my journey, it is my desire that my journey serves as assistance to others to share, seek help and to heal. PTSD, Anxiety and Depression are not for slackers, nor does the devil have compassion. Together we can beat this…for now. Once you are afflicted, know that the broken spot where this crack started can very easily and quickly return, unannounced and uninvited! Don’t let it control you or those you love.
Stay posted and visit Jeremiah, Inc. often for new blogs as to how I am coping, what my progress is and where I am on this journey. I invite readers to share you story as well. We must share our journey for healing of ourselves, but also to heal others.