by M S about a year ago in trauma

“Trauma permanently changes us.”

“Falling into Depression" by Zarina Situmorang

There has been quite a lot of talk about post traumatic stress disorder since Ariana Grande posted her brain scans. Firm believer that she is suffering from PTSD, but not entirely sold that scans of our brains would show that, I’d love to learn more. She’s been through a traumatic ordeal seeing a terrorist attack at one of her concerts, no doubt in my mind she is suffering from it. What is troubling is the doubtful comments on social media I see regarding her diagnoses. Statements that other than veterans, no one can experience PTSD. You never know what another person is going through. Personally, I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I’d like to share my story.

I am a very private person. Not many people know the extent of my own personal demons. But I have also been diagnosed with PTSD. I am not a veteran. I am not a survivor in a way that most people would assume. Early 2017, I found out I was pregnant. Although, this was not planned this surprise gave me so much joy. I was in a relationship for nine years at the time and it just seemed like everything was going to be okay. Every doctors visit everything looked normal until one day my doctor requests a full anatomy scan at a different hospital. It was strange but I just went with it because she explained that they just didn’t have that kind of equipment.

This was the scan that would tell me the gender. Everyone was planning a gender reveal, I was going to get that exciting envelope. It’s always a bad sign when the ultrasound technician leaves in the middle of the scan. Except I didn’t realize it. The doctor comes in and tells me my child has autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease. That the kidneys, lungs and bladder aren’t developing properly. That I had little to no amniotic fluid. My child had a zero percent survival rate outside of the womb, hence the baby would be stillborn. I uncontrollably sobbed. I broke down.

I came in so excited, expecting the worst to be that they wouldn't be able to tell the gender by the way the baby was lying but not that my baby is suffering inside of me. They recommended termination. So we did. I was 21 weeks. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made.

That termination was a two day process. Afterwards, I felt fine for the most part but my grief was still there. I’m that annoying person who cleans and distracts themselves so they don’t have to deal with reality kind of thing. So even though I shouldn’t have been doing so much I couldn’t help it. Well, couple days in I don’t feel good. My body ached, felt so weak, had a high fever, high blood pressure, and lightheaded. Work wasn’t very kind to all the days I took off during this process so I had to go back to work sooner than I should’ve. Almost passing out on the floor is what took them to finally let me go to the emergency room.

Then find out I had Sepsis, an infection in my blood stream. I was hospitalized. Twice. The infection came back a week after being released. Not sure if it was just a weak immune system or just bad luck.

Dealing with losing a baby on top of constant hospitalizations was rough. When I finally got home, that’s when the nightmares happened. As a medical assistant, being at work gave me flashbacks. There were many times I would hide in the bathroom because of full fledged panic attacks. I felt isolated and alone. Sometimes I feel like what I went through I shouldn’t feel upset about it. Like because I’m alive I shouldn’t be complaining. And then when I felt like my normal self again I shouldn’t because my child isn’t here and it’s all because of my cursed womb. The guilt is what made my nightmares and panic attacks so much worse.

Mental health is so stigmatized. PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc., is real. It’s such a crippling disease but because my physical symptoms aren’t extensive I get thrown insults and jabs. I get thrown psychotic, crazy, all in my head, get over it type shit. It doesn’t mean that you demean another persons trauma comparing it to someone else’s.

I may not have dealt with the kind of trauma our amazing veterans have gone through fighting for our country or Ariana Grande who experienced terrorism and seeing her fans lose their lives. But it doesn’t mean it’s not real to me or anyone else who is struggling with their own trauma. I’m not sure if it’s a saying but I see it a lot on social media sites that you don’t know what another person is going through so always be kind. That always stuck with me. And if you are struggling with mental health, I encourage you to seek help. There is no shame in taking care of you.



Read next: Never In the Cover of Night

See all posts by M S