Monday, August 5, 2013

Broken Bones and PTSD

Why is it that when you become a parent, no one shares with you that your children's injuries will leave indelible, painful marks on you?

I used to feel like I could handle it when my children got hurt. I was always the calm one, assuring them that everything would be OK. Then the last year happened. With one injury after another, my resolve to be cool and collected withered away to nothing. I was left raw and exposed and anxious.

We have become very familiar with the ER near our home. In the last 12 months we have visited there on four different occasions with each of our children. In April 2012, my middle son was stung by a swarm of bees. We pulled 38 stingers off of his little body and took him to get steroid shots. In September my daughter was climbing on the bleachers at the baseball field by our home. She slipped and fell while she was pretending the hand rail was a balance beam. No stitches, but the area from which she was bleeding was a grizzly scene. In February of 2013, my middle son (again) fell backwards off a chair onto his head. He was having trouble speaking and his pupils were different sizes. We rushed him to the ER where they pronounced a moderate concussion. Most recently, my oldest broke his wrist playing trampoline basketball. Saying that it broke really doesn't do it justice. It SNAPPED in two. It was very dramatic and was the final undoing of my calm exterior. Everyone commented on how calm I appeared but that was a complete facade. I'm pretty sure I'm suffering from PTSD.

I know, being a mother of boys (and a daughter that plays like one), that accidents will happen. Cuts and bruises I can do without feeling panicked. But I've noticed that now I am much more vocal about what I DON'T want my children to do. Climbing walls, running in flip flops, crashing waves, and riding skateboards evoke sudden panic attacks and crazy yelling scenes that did not occur B.A. (before accidents). My children give me the rolling eye look as if to say "you didn't act like this before! Now everything is BORING."

Well, BORING I can do, and I can do it really well. Especially if it means keeping my precious children safe from all the things that threaten to beat them up and make them bleed. Is that realistic? Probably not, but until I go through desensitization therapy to deal with my anxiety, I will put up with eye rolling when I make them sit on the couch and watch TV instead of going outside to get hurt. {H}

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