Back to the future
I had a very successful public relations career until I was diagnosed with PTSD. Suddenly, I was having flashbacks at work that hindered my ability to craft amazing press releases and other collateral.
Without even realizing it I was triggered left and right. I had to control my thoughts, actions and emotions. Being upbeat while remembering how I was raped was a new kind of hell. I could barely concentrate.
Then I had to come home. Naturally, I switched gears and gave an Oscar-worthy performance as loving wife and doting mother.
My husband resented being Mr. Mom. Years ago he said he would support me and be a stay-at-home dad. However, it was thrust upon him because of cancer treatments and not at a time of his choosing. He couldn’t work so he managed the house … barely.
As I was bathing kids, I had flashbacks. My stomach turned, my patience was wearing thin. My husband did the best he could given his cancer diagnosis but he was an alcoholic so as his cancer progressed, so also did his alcoholic behavior.
I attended Al-Anon three times a week. I was a Bible Study Fellowship discussion leader so I had 15+ weekly calls to make, a lesson to do, Saturday morning leaders meetings at 6:55 a.m. Choir rehearsal was twice a month.
Of course, we had couples therapy plus I had individual psychotherapy with sessions twice as long that zapped any energy I had left. We had a special-needs child who required more attention and interaction with teachers, annual IEPs, triennial IEPs and lawyers because the school was doing such a lousy job.
What did I do to relax? Gardening most of Saturday.
Hindsight is always 20/20
God gave me necessary grace to get through that period. Now I had to rely on him because there was just about no one around after his death. Yes, I had friends but they had very busy lives and schedules that rivaled my own.
I didn’t know how to leverage resources in plain sight. I eventually learned about how to schedule breaks via play dates and sleepovers. I enrolled my kids in after-school sports and other extra curricular activities. One parent who knew of my husband’s death invited me to Thursday afternoons in her backyard with other moms for a beer and chat.
Socializing with other parents and relating to each other’s struggles was invaluable. I soon learned I wasn’t crazy. I was stepping into my own brand of crazy, stupid love and life.
Multitasking, juggling are a must-have skill set. You might not think you are capable but believe me, you likely already are doing it. They key: Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.
Posts in this series
Parenting with posttraumatic stress disorder
Discipline requires training, love spelled t-i-m-e
Beatings/Spankings are abuse: plain and simple
Parenting, like marriage, requires work
Parenting is a lifelong-learning proposition
Stop, look, listen and ask yourself questions
The high art of juggling
Downtime: the golden goose of PTSD
Worldwide parenting with PTSD Awareness Day
Parenting is a high call no matter your lot
The drought before the drought
Being misunderstood is a symptom
You are being forged in fire
Awakenings podcast: Parenting with PTSD
For single parents
A tribute to single parents