I’ve been riding an emotional rollercoaster since about the time that Hudson started Kindergarten back in August. Shortly after he started school, he began getting sick a lot. Nothing serious. Just your average colds and the stomach flu. Very normal. But on the evening that he ended up with the stomach flu for the first time, I had a complete breakdown; a full anxiety attack. It was crazy. I was panicking and couldn’t take care of him. Thank goodness for Jeremy. Once he was better, I was better, but when he got a stomach bug again a couple months later, I lost it again. I ended up having to call a hotline through our insurance company to talk to a counselor at 8:00 p.m. that night. It was so embarrassing. Once again Jeremy had to take care of Hudson, which he was fine with and did an excellent job as always. I ended up staying up all night watching Harper and waiting for her to get sick. It was horrible. My anxiety exploded. I became completely irrational about the kids getting sick and was obsessed. It was completely controlling my life. It was so bad that we talked about me going to see a doctor and possibly getting on some meds, which I was reluctant to do at that point.
As the fall proceeded and winter arrived the anxiety seemed to move to the back burner while we celebrated the holiday season. I’m not sure if it was having Christmas as a distraction or the fact that the kids stayed healthy, but I wasn’t as anxious. However, as soon as the holiday season was over, the anxiety came back full force. It was to the point that I couldn’t go through a day where I didn’t obsess about the kids getting sick at least a hundred times. I couldn’t understand what was going on with me. I had taken care of them while they were sick dozens of times and it never bothered me. Not one bit. So why was this year so different? I couldn’t go on like this. I was driving everyone crazy including myself. I made an appointment to see my doctor after trying virtually everything else I thought might help: I exercised regularly (which I do anyway), I tried meditation, I talked to a counselor, I bought a sunlight lamp, I spent time outside, I even thought if I could just make it until Daylight Savings Time I would be okay. None of it worked, so it was time to see a professional.
On the day of my appointment when the doctor came in and we started talking about what was going on, I began to cry. I explained everything and we came to the conclusion that I was suffering from anxiety caused by a mild case of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from an incident with Hudson. You see, a year ago in January, Hudson was home sick from school with a fever. No big deal, but at one point while I was taking his temperature, he fell face first onto the ottoman in front of the couch (I thought he was being silly) and when I tried to get him to stand up, he rolled off onto the floor. I realized he was unresponsive. I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know if he was breathing. I tried to take his pulse and was seconds from calling 911 when he came to and began crying. I was hysterical. I couldn’t stop crying. I mean, for a split second I thought my baby was dying. That might sound overdramatic, but he had never done this before and I was clueless. Jeremy came home from work and we took him to see his pediatrician that afternoon. They thought maybe it was a feberal seizure due to his fever but couldn’t be positive. It didn’t happen again until April. This time he was at Preschool. They called me and I rushed to pick him up. The doctor sent us to the Children’s Hospital for testing on his brain function and heart. Everything came back normal. So, we just had to watch him and if it happened again they would do more tests.
Well, it didn’t happen again. At least not before he started school or even until just a few weeks ago, yet I couldn’t handle the idea of him or Harper getting sick. It turns out that PTSD takes time to show up and because Hudson started school and our everyday routine changed completely, it hit me hard. He was now going to be gone All.Day.Long. I was no longer in control of his everyday activities. I was no longer his full-time caregiver. He was in someone else’s hands and I couldn’t handle it.
The PTSD was causing me to have extreme anxiety daily, as well as, full blown anxiety attacks whenever the kids would get sick, especially Hudson. The doctor said that I had a small chemical imbalance and that it was easily treated with medication, so I went on the meds. I had some trouble with them at first. My dosage was too high, but it got cut in half for a while until I got used to it and now back to the full dosage. I’m not thrilled to be on medication, but I am finally starting to see an improvement. My days are feeling lighter. I still think about them getting sick, but not obsessively like I was. I had a small setback when Hudson passed out again…twice within a two week period and we had to take him to the ER. But we took him for a follow-up with his pediatrician who told us that he is just going to be prone to passing out and there’s nothing medically wrong with him. I guess in runs in Jeremy’s family.
I wish I would’ve gone to the doctor back when it all started instead of being stubborn about it, but I’m glad I finally went and did something to help myself. Who knew you could get PTSD from just seeing your son pass out? But I guess when you don’t know that he’s just passing out and you think for a nano second that he’s dying, that can be very traumatic for a mother. I’ve also been hard on myself for not being able to care for him and comfort him the way that I should. I know it’s not my fault, that it’s my illness and that once the meds start working fully I’ll have no problems, but it’s been extremely frustrating.
Hopefully I’ll only have to be on the meds for six months to a year and then I’ll be back to my normal self. But for now, I’m just happy to be feeling a little more like Tashia again. I’m glad that I finally gave myself permission to ask for help. It can be so hard to do sometimes. Life can be crazy and full of ups and downs. I’m looking forward to getting back to being on the upside and being able to see the magic in the everyday and leaving the fear and negativity behind me. Soon. Very soon.