‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Monday, January 23, 2012


Feeling defeated. And down.

PTSD rears it's ugly head again. I forget. I forget how one false move can bring the world crashing down around you. I forget that it never goes away. I forget that this terrible fear and trauma will haunt my daughter the rest of her days.

I can't give details, because, as you know, I've promised my girl not to share those kinds of things anymore. She's older. She doesn't want her dirty laundry airing, and I don't blame her. But can I say this? Can I say that sometimes I get so angry that people don't get it? I want to scream.

A certain child of mine was taken, without my permission, to see a very upsetting movie. I know it's a wonderful movie. I had planned to see it myself. But it is NOT the kind of movie that should be seen by someone who has experienced a lifetime of profound loss.

The movie is 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'. I can't even comment on it, because I haven't seen it yet. But I see the repercussions it's having on someone who DID see it, and it's not fun. Regression, in all its forms, is visiting us again. Grief, deep grief. Nightmares and fears of losing me. And the added bonus of her fear at not being 'normal' that she 'did not want to see that movie'. She knew. She knew just from seeing the commercials that it was not a movie she could handle. She even tried to encourage the group to see something else, but in the end she was more scared of appearing different, than she was of the terrible feelings she knew this movie would elicit.

I'm angry. Really angry. I'll get over it, but right now I'm absolutely raging mad, because I wasn't asked. I wasn't given the chance to inform anyone that, no, this movie was not a wise choice for my daughter. I wasn't consulted. Heck, I didn't even know she was at the movies!

So now, on the eve of her midterms, and after a week of problems at school, she is in full-blown PTSD mode. Yes, I know what to do. I know how to move into crisis mode and do what needs to be done. But I didn't choose this. Not now. Not when I feel so raw and beaten down myself.

Don't know what else to say without betraying her trust. Please remind me of your own ways of dealing with the PTSD monster. You 'trauma mama' readers out there -- what would you do in this situation? Any new wisdom? I'd love to hear, and would just love your support right now.

Going upstairs to enter the warzone, again.....


  1. I'm sorry your daughter was triggered so badly. I am not a Trauma Mama, per se, but I am a Mama that has Lived Through Trauma. The best advice I have towards fighting PTSD is to ground yourself and get moving. Ask her to become "present" by describing her surroundings RIGHT NOW. If she is in a very bad place, you might have to model it first. What is something she can see RIGHT NOW? Describe it. Something she can feel by touch? Hear? Smell? Taste? Now let's do TWO things, and repeat the first one. Keep going through it, until you build up to five things. It's okay if there are some repeats.
    The cold, brisk air can help bring me back into the present again. I live in a warm climate now, so sometimes that means just sticking my head in the freezer and taking a deep breath!
    Finally, getting the ground underneath my feet helps. Going for a walk, moving forward, feeling like I'm moving away from that trigger. Mantras of being safe, feeling powerful, being in control.
    Anything busy and tactile. Working with crafts. Sculpting. Crochet. Music. Piano. Keeping my mind and hands active, immersed in something healing, so that it is hard to let anything else in.

    Once the crisis has passed, is your daughter ready to work on reducing the power of PTSD? There are a number of good workbooks out there that she could do with you, with a therapist, or a support group.

    Sending you both my warmest thoughts.

  2. Nothing else needs to be said. Those of us who live with it get it PLENTY well. I'd be angry too! Hugs and prayer for you, Mama!

    And just for the record, PTSD, YOU SUCK! I HATE YOU TOO!!!!

  3. J, thanks for the practical help. She's fallen dead asleep, so I'll try when she wakes up. You reminded me how regulating knitting has been for her in the past. she hasnt done it in a year. I think thatd be big help.

    Diana, I first thought of you when all of this was 'goin' down'. I knew youd get it. I try SO HARD to avoid ALL triggers, so it really caught me off guard (unexpected) and it was such a HUGE trigger for her -- and a 2 hour long trgger at that -- I know it'll be several days before she starts to regulate. The worst part is her midterms start in the morning. I really dont think I'll be able to get her in a mindset to study when she wakes up. She's been in hyper vigilant mode, and so on guard. I think she fell asleep out of pure exhaustion. She looked positively white as a ghost when I picked her up from school. Worst of all, she seems to even be distrusting me, her one safe place. Its just awful to watch. I'm glad to have support from afar:)

  4. Oh Keri-you both are in my prayers!

  5. I don't have advice. But you and Nastia remain in my thoughts and prayers especially tonight and the next few days.

  6. So sorry Keri! ((((HUGS))))
    we had a day today that was triggered too, and I got sucked right in, and then felt so very defeated... :(
    I SHOULD have recognized what was happening...I actually DID, and thought maybe she could handle it. Then she blind sided me with the worst comment. :(
    She is regulated right now, and has been since about an hour after it happened... but interestingly, she found a bottle laying around the house and has asked for the FIRST time to be bottle fed. So daddy is doing that as I type. She is asking questions like "why do babies like bottles?" Etc.

    I will be blogging about this soon. I know we are up and close to our anniversary time. She also has more than one.... UGH

    I think the best thing you can do is insert humor, lay on the couch together, snuggle and watch cartoons. Get some comfort foods, kick back and pray.

    so sorry! And I would be really angry if my kid were taken to a movie without my permission.

  7. Keri, can you get her a medical excuse from her midterms? Sending positive thoughts. Let me know if there is more I can do.

  8. Thanks Jo and V. Ashley, great minds think alike. I was going to contact the school about that, but Nastia says she'd be more stressed to take them later. In the end, we decided to NOT study ( she's a mess and wouldnt retain anything anyway) and just do exactly what Christie wrote (she must have read my mind!). i'm going to give the school a heads up in the morning and make sure they do not share the test results with Nastia. They are incredibly suppotyive, so I nkow they'll do whats best.

    Anyway, I let her sleep as long as she needed to ( she took an almost 4 hr nap) And since she woke, we've just been snuggling, eating comfort food, watching cartoons, etc. I have a break right now while she's brushing her teeth/ washing her face, etc:) Christie...she went right for her sippy cup when she got up:) Glad I still have it.

    The interesting thing is she is really allowing herself to feel sad in the last hour. Usually its days of hypervigilance, but right now its just deep sadness and just wanting to be held. She wanted every animal in the bed with us. " They seem really sad, mom, I think they need alot of cuddle time." I often hear how she feels via what she projects onto the animals. Anyway, she's calling nnow. Thanks everyone.

  9. Keri, WHAT PROGRESS THAT IS!!!! She has bounced back so quickly! All in the same day! (not all the way back but back!) LOL


  10. It's so hard. And so, so unfair.

    I don't have anything earthshaking. I make sure I am strongly quiet. We hold and snuggle, wrap her up in her fuzzy blanket and get the bottle when she asks, we take warm baths and snuggle afterward, we just go back to the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy and make sure she's safe. Routines and rituals--songs from when she first came home, etc. help with that, too.

    I think taking the tests on time is a good idea. It's normal. And normal helps. I think she'd just add to her spiral by waiting. And, not studying was a good plan! She knows what she knows. And, getting herself back is her biggest "work" right now.

    Already at sadness seems like progress.

    It. is. not. fair. And it's horrible.

  11. She certainly does not need to feel badly she didn't want to see that film. Frankly, I can't fathom anyone wanting to sse it! I had the lovliest of all childhoods but I know that I am a sensitive person, and life gives me quite enough sadness and unhappiness without needing to add any vicariously via books or movies.

    So sad for you.... We had major trouble at our house too, when my sweetheart realized that her therapist doesn't "really love" her. And, right when things were looking up. Must be some sort of solar flares - the Russians swear they get people upset.

  12. Hoping today was better.

  13. Keri, I was looking at your "posts worth reading".... Ummm something is missing! "My Daughter My Hero!" HELLO! :)

  14. You're right, Christie. I'm going to add it now. I had thought to, but worried that Nastia would not approve. But since I wrote it so long ago, I'm hoping she won't mind. You never know how it might encourage someone to adopt an older child. Nothing more rewarding in the whole world...

  15. Tell Nastia that somebody will HEAL because of her. :) I just received a private email today from a person who IS healing, and because the girls have allowed some of the posts that explain issues we deal with, this person is healing. It was an amazing email. :) Praying for you. :)

  16. You are doing great, and remind her SHE is doing great! We cannot control all triggers out there, so I always remind my kids of the exit plans when they feel stress coming on. We make sure our girls know they can call at any time and we will come get them. I had one call recently who asked the oddest question, knowing full well I'd say "HECK NO!". Later she called to say that she knew I'd say "no" and just wanted to be able to blame it on me in front of her peers rather than looking like she was different.


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