**Trigger Warning!! – This post contains information that readers may find upsetting or trigger unwanted feelings.**
Happy New Year beauties!! A lot of you have asked for me to share my PTSD story and I feel like I’m finally in a place where I can do it safely without it affecting me mentally too much. So what better way to start 2021 off than to share my story with you in the hopes that someone will find comfort in being able to relate to someone else with their feelings. Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments and as always, thank you for sticking with me!!
As a child, I always had trouble going to the toilet. My wee would burn so bad and sometimes it never came at all no matter how much I’d try and push it out.
I remember my first catheterization at 2 years old like it was yesterday. This one single memory would be engraved into my brain for the rest of my life.
Fast forward to 7 years old. I’d been back and fore the hospital and Dr’s on and off over the years with bladder issues, but this time it was different. No matter how long I sat on the toilet, I just couldn’t wee. As time went on the pain became unbearable. 2 memories that have stuck with me are spinning in circles in the bath screaming in pain and my mother had to slap me to stop me from passing out and calm me down. Another was rocking on the toilet in pain screaming to the point where I snapped the metal bolts on the toilet seat because I couldn’t handle the pain.
I hardly went to school. I was always drained and had no appetite. The pain was a tiring thing to have. I didn’t want to play with friend’s and the ones who came to visit would have to be sent home after a short while as I didn’t have the energy to play.
Tests kept coming back negative and in the end, our GP kept insisting there was nothing wrong with me. He told me I was “Lying and just didn’t want to go to school”. He didn’t believe the pain I was in. This affected me in a way I wouldn’t understand for a very long time.
I wouldn’t eat, I had no appetite, I was terrified of drinking knowing it would make me need the toilet and the pain that would come from it. Enough was enough.
After countless phone calls between my mother and another GP, I was given an appointment with one of the top pediatric urologists in our area. I remember having more tests and then walking into the room where my x-ray and scan results were on a screen. My tiny bone structure was covered with what looked like a huge mass in my stomach.
All I remember next is a lot of talking and being rushed to Cardiff University Hospital of Wales almost an hour away for emergency surgery.
I had a bladder stone inside my bladder, bigger than a golf ball and harder than concrete. Outside of my bladder was a cyst bigger than a plum on the verge of bursting. The surgeons estimated that I wouldn’t have lived much longer than 10 more days. I was cut across my stomach like a cesarean to get them out, given an epidural to stop me feeling the pain when I woke up, and a catheter through a hole in my pubic bone.
Now ‘How could they have missed that?’ you may ask. So did we!! Reality is, before me, bladder stones were only ever seen in males. I was the first girl in Britain to have one so they didn’t think to look for it. Although my symptoms were correct for it, because of my gender they never thought to look for one.
Fast forward 20 od years, I now have to catheterize myself daily as my bladder just doesn’t work the best. I’ve had years of counseling as not being believed left me feeling worthless and belittled. Being held down and catheterized so young, not understanding what was happening left me feeling violated and out of control. To 7 year old me, I was being sexually abused, I was being held down and touched in a place I was told was sacred to me. All of these things I wouldn’t understand until I was in my 20s which left me with a lot of emotions growing up, not to mention the constant flashbacks and night terrors.
I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2019 and I’m currently having therapy to help me deal with all of this. It’s crazy how something that happened when you were a little child can stay laying dormant in your subconscious, causing so many problems without you even realizing the root cause of it. I guess deep down I always knew that this is where my mental health problems started, I just didn’t know how much it actually molded me into the person I am today.
PTSD comes in all shapes and sizes. You can read more about PTSD in one of my previous posts here.
If by some miracle you’re a DR ad you’re reading this, please think about the way you speak to children who are your patients. They won’t understand what you’re talking about and they need to know that their feelings are validated. Choose words wisely and listen to the parents, you could change this child for the rest of their life.
Here are some tips on how I try to control symptoms of PTSD –
Waking from night terrors is an awful experience and can often leave you in a sweat of panic. Take a second to breathe slowly and deeply and feel what’s around you. Your blankets, pillows, your partner. Take in any smells. Remind yourself that you’re safe. This helps me calm down and relax enough to go back to sleep.
Create a ‘Safe Place’. This could be anywhere in your home that is your space to go when you’re not feeling too good. Fill it with things that make you happy and can distract you from the tension. For example, my safe place is my bed, the smell of my husbands’ aftershave on the pillows and the soft bedding comforts me and makes me feel content and safe.
Set yourself a day or hour once a week to have some you time. Selfcare is so important for our mental health and this really does do the world of wonders if you suffer from PTSD. My routine is usually a soak in a hot bath reading a book, I try and do this at least 4 times a week. Other things I do is put self-tan on, having a tan boosts my confidence and just makes me feel healthy!!
Granted, these won’t work for everyone and they may not work every time!! But at least you tried something new to help ease/control your symptoms.
You May Also Be Interested In Reading –
Managing Pain Without Meds
The Physical Side Of Mental Health
I’m Not Ignorant I Have Anxiety
Helping A Child With Anxiety/Depression
What Is E.D.D