**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
44 thoughts on “My PTSD Story”
Wow, you’ve been though so much! It must have been terrifying when you were so young. It’s crazy that it took so long to diagnose you and how easily it could have had a very different result. I’m not surprised that it still effects you. Thank you for sharing your story with us x
It really is mad how much of a different ending it could have been. Thanks so much for taking the time to read xx
I’m so sorry this happened to you! It’s so wrong when doctors dismiss kids and women and I’m glad to bladder stone was caught in the end
It is absolutely unconscionable that your doctor didn’t believe you — I hope he was told about what he missed and the danger he put you in. Thank goodness you had people advocating for you and pushing to see a specialist! It is no wonder you have developed PTSD as this is a very hard situation to navigate as an adult let alone a child. It’s great you’re writing about it as this is very helpful for those who may experience something similar.
Thankyou for taking the time to read and comment!! He was told and he apologised to my parents, although I think some of my issues stem from him never speaking to me about it as I got older.
Gosh! You’ve been through a lot, it’s awful how something medical in childhood can impact you for years. I’m so glad they finally found out what was wrong. I had a similar experience of spending years trying to get a doctor to believe me (a totally different issue) but I was a teen and able to fight my corner. I can’t imagine how much more challenging that is for a younger child x
Its honestly awful when you’re not believed isn’t it!! I’m glad you were able to fight your corner!! Xx
Oh my gosh you’ve been through ALOT!! I can’t imagine this as a child. I’m so sorry, and thank you for sharing this.
Thankyou so much for reading xx
This was an incredible read. As someone who also suffers from PTSD from some personal experiences I can completely empathise with what you’re going through. I have a post on my blog about PTSD and how it’s effected my relationships. Your story sounds horrific but it’s amazingly brave for you to share it.
I have also had to be catheterised twice in the past due to some bladder retention issues and had to have day surgery to rectify it going forward so I know how horrible those feelings are, and uncomfortable – but I was an adult when I went through it, I can only imagine what it’s like as a child. Thank you so much for sharing your story <3
Thankyou so much for the comment and support!! Ill give your post a read as I find it soothing to see it from others point of view and not feel alone. Hope your bladda issues have been resolved, they’re not fun!! Xx
Thank you for this post. I think so many people only associate PTSD with people who’ve been in war or involved in violent crimes, that we don’t think about things like you described (being young not understanding). PTSD can be caused by many things. All the best for the rest of your recovering journey.
Noproblem at all, thankyou so much for your comment and taking the time to read. Hopefully it will help others learn more about PTSD x
This is such a brave, important post. As someone who also faces mental health challenges and has a disability, I felt empowered by your resilience.
Your feelings are absolutely valid, as your image says. Thank you so much for sharing. ❤
I am so glad I could help you feel that way, knowing that makes every word I type worth it!! Thankyou for taking the time to read and comment x
Thank you for sharing your experience. You are very strong and I admire the strength and resilience you have ❤️
We’re so sorry you had to go through that. We have a friend who went through something similar. She had intense pain for years and it took over a decade for her to be properly diagnosed. Before, doctors told her that she was making the pain up to get attention. This should be a lesson not to dismiss people.
I’m sorry your friend had to go through that!! Drs really get it wrong on times.
I’m so sorry you had to go through this! Your GP dismissing your pain enrages me so much. My husband actually just got his gallbladder removed and he was in pain for a year. Our GP couldn’t diagnose gallstones and he lost so much weight and would just not eat so he didn’t have to throw it all up from the pain. My heart goes out to you being so young and having to deal with this! I’m happy to read that you are in a good place and able to share your story. The recovery and healing will take time but you will slowly but surely get there. xo
Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so sorry your husband went through that!! It really is awful the way GP’s and Drs, in general, treat patients on times!! Thanks for the support!! xx
This is the 1st ever post I’ve read about ptsd and I’m glad i did. Thank you for sharing your story x
That’s exactly why I wrote it, there just isn’t enough awareness for it. Thanks for taking the time to read xx
I honestly think you are so amazing for opening up about this!!
Thankyou so much!!
I am so sorry you have had to go through all this but I think you are absolutely amazing for opening up about it! I’m sure this post will open up so much awareness and help others.
Thank you so much that really means a lot!! If I can help just one person ill be happy!!
Wow. What a difficult thing to go through at such a young age. I’m so glad they finally found it before it was too late. I’m sure it makes daily life a lot more difficult having to use catheters regularly after all that. Stay strong and keep healing.
Catheters are definitely a big trigger!! Thanks for taking the time to read through!!
I’m so sorry to hear what happen during your childhood and I’m glad that you are getting professional help. I know having PTSD suck but the importance is knowing when it comes to the trigger. Anyway, I do hope you are doing well sending you a lot of love!
Thanks so much for reading through and taking the time to comment. Yeah figuring your triggers is soo important!!
Sending you all the love and positive vibes we can find – it was heartbreaking to read this post but good on you for trying to raise awareness on kids and their feelings too.
I hope the therapy helps you feel ever so slightly better. x
Thanks so much!!! Therapy has definitely helped!! x
I am so sorry this happened to you. This post is going to help so many people xx
I know a thing or two about the Nig terrors. Professional help does help. Sandi you good vibes.
Such an honest post. You are so strong…
Thanks for sharing
Such an honest story, thanks for sharing! I really hate when doctors won’t accept that you’re in pain or you’re struggling and say you’re making it up. But I’m glad to hear you got the help you needed
Katie | katieemmabeauty.com
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through and comment.
I am so sorry about your experience! I am having similar issues right now, where my assigned GP doesn’t think I actually have these symptoms and it’s just my anxiety. It frustrates me so much! I hope you are better now!
Oh no I’m so sorry you’re going through that!! I hope you get the help you need!!
Oh man, that is such a traumatic experience! People often forget how receptive and smart children are. Unfortunately much of the time, they are mistreated like this and not given a chance to have a voice/opinion. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thankyou so much for taking the time to read and comment!!
i’m so glad you are sharing this story with us as it will help a lot of people. i’m so sorry you went through all of this as a child but i’m glad you are seeking help. the diagnosis process can be such a rollercoaster isn’t it? i think people forget children are like sponges & take in so much of their surroundings & what people say. and it’s amazing how we can hold onto those memories so clearly as we get older. the human mind is an incredible thing tbh.
again, thank you for sharing your story & making ptsd more known to the world. it’s something that needs to be talked about.
B | http://www.mindbeautysimplicity.wordpress.com
This just broke my heart, I’m so sorry that happened to you. You’re brave for sharing your story but I think it’s important. It sounds like as a child you could have done with the counselling you are getting now. To be the first girl in the UK also, that is unfortunate. Hopefully they have learnt from the mistakes they have made with you and can help other young girls that go through this. Much love x