Before jumping into today’s extremely cheery subject matter (see Mir use sarcasm; snark, Mir, snark!), let’s check in on the children’s medical state, shall we?

Chickadee confounded the doctor with… a whole lot of nothing. Except maybe she has a slight eye infection. Or maybe she has mono, but we’ll have to wait and see. I mentioned that this was giving me deja vu, except last time it turned out to be severe anemia, which shouldn’t be an issue now as she’s on iron supplements. Regardless, we got some prescription eye drops and directions not to wear contact lenses for a week, and the suggestion that she “take it easy.” I resisted the urge to ask the pediatrician if SHE would like to come finish Chickie’s science experiment, African scrapbook project (motto: Now with more Zimbabwe!), and also come take the SAT for her this weekend, and said we’d try.

Monkey, in the meantime, continues to be astonishingly agreeable and calm, and while I wait for the other shoe to drop I pass the time leaving messages at the neurologist’s office to say that when your kid has a bunch of scary tests it would be really nice if the doctor would, you know, call back with the test results sometime. BEFORE I DIE FROM THE WAITING. Ahem.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening there. This is not actually about the kids, though. I just like to share my complete absence of useful information whenever I can. You’re welcome!

So, uh, you know how I mentioned that I wasn’t actually doing all that well? And I’d decided to go back to therapy because I felt like I was needing some help with things? I’m glad I decided to do that. I mean, it’s not that it’s not highly therapeutic to sit on the couch and eat popcorn and pet the dog and whine to Otto that LIFE IS HARD and THIS IS SO UNFAIR and WHY US and all of that, but it just didn’t seem all that productive, in the grand scheme of things. Whereas hearing about my therapist’s sex life was going to be TOTALLY helpful. (Yeah, I’m still seeing him. That was an anomaly, and in general I think he’s good at what he does.)

So therapy has been a good thing for me, I think. It’s good to have a place where I can spend an hour going ZOMG MY BABY MY PRECIOUS BABY CAN’T HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR and just kind of vent out the awful stuff. Friends really do not want to hear you repeatedly obsess over whether or not your child might be sick or even dying, it turns out. Hell, I don’t much like listening to myself, so it’s not like I blame them. In that sense, therapy is a nice safe place to be completely neurotic and not be judged.

And I’ve been in therapy lots of times over the course of my (neurotic) life, so I’m pretty used to the way it goes: I vent a whole bunch, and through about 75% me just feeling better after saying things out loud and 25% probing questions and/or insights from the therapist, eventually I feel less fragile and more able to deal with things on my own. It’s not rocket science. But it works, y’know?

Funny thing, though. After a few sessions this therapist started talking about how he has a lot of experience with disaster victims and rescue workers and—I’ll admit it, sometimes he goes off on what seems like tangents, so it’s possible I started zoning out a little bit—there’s what’s considered sort of standard, conventional PTSD, wherein someone goes through one or several traumatic events and develops a reactive syndrome, but more and more, they’re finding that lesser trauma and/or a series of longtime stressors can create what is essentially the same symptoms in someone who hasn’t, say, been in a war zone or a hurricane or whatever.

He paused, waiting for me to respond. I had to go back over what he’d just said, in my head, to make sure I’d actually heard what he said. I ran it back on the mental replay and then looked at his expectant face and burst out laughing.

“Wait. What? Are you saying you think I have PTSD?” Before he could answer, I added, “We have a joke about how our dog has Post Traumatic Suitcase Disorder, and you KNOW how people become more and more like their dogs….”

He continued to blink at me. I hate it when therapists do that.

“I don’t think so,” I finally said. Still he waited. “Okay, FINE,” I said. “You explain it to me.”

So he did. Traumatic events, long-time stressors, irrational fears, inability to feel hopeful about the future, blah blah blah blah… oh, it’s not that it wasn’t FASCINATING, it’s that I really just thought this was the reaching section of our program, plus one of my other many talents is denial.

I came home and mentioned it to Otto, who got a very thoughtful look on his face. “Really? He said that?”

“I know, CRAZY, right? I’m just garden-variety neurotic! Haha!”

“Well, um, what would the treatment for that be, if it was true?” he asked.

“I have no idea. More therapy? WOW THIS IS TURNING OUT TO BE SO HELPFUL.” And then I went and made dinner, because dinner needed to be made whether I was a whole new brand of crazy or not.

But then the last time we saw Monkey’s therapist, I was doing my little check-in portion with her while Monkey hung upside-down from a chair in the waiting room reading a book, and she asked how I was doing. “Oh, well, you know I’m seeing [therapist’s name; they’re part of the same practice] again. So that’s probably good.” She nodded. Suddenly I found myself blurting out, “You know, he said the funniest thing. I guess he thinks I might have PTSD…?”

She nodded again, more vigorously, and said, “Secondary trauma. I can totally see that with you, given everything that’s going on.”

This woman has been with our family since we moved, so about three and a half years. Which means she then deftly ticked off half a dozen of my Life Events of Major Suckage, and that didn’t even include several things I’d been thinking about from before we met her. FUN!

I came home and reported the incident to Otto, rather more glumly than the first time we’d talked about it. “So, apparently I’ve somehow become my own Very Special Episode of Gray’s Anatomy. In case you were wondering.”

It’s weird, because on the one hand I’m sort of… embarrassed? Even though I know that’s ridiculous. I hate the “mental illness can be overcome with willpower!” school of thought. (Though this Geico commercial still delights me. Go figure.) So I feel embarrassed and then I feel stupid for being embarrassed. Which is—as you might imagine—totally helpful. Except not really.

Also, I’m totally still living my life, still functioning, meeting most obligations, tending to my family, remembering to feed the dog, doing the laundry, working too much, smiling and laughing when things are amusing… even if some of it does feel a little bit like autopilot. Still. It’s not as though I’m curled up under my desk muttering about the bad guys, or anything.

But on the other hand, the thing where I feel like I am currently living my life clenched for the next nugget of bad news, the thing where I either can’t sleep or have nightmares, the thing where I cannot, no matter how hard I try, shake the ridiculous fear that Monkey is not destined for adulthood (and yeah, the seizure and subsequent testing DID NOT HELP on that score), those things… those are things I would like to overcome and put in the past. And I guess I don’t really care what my therapist wants to call it if he can help me do that.

Still. Remind me to tell you about all the bodies I saw in ‘Nam, man.

* PTSOFFSWTH = Post Traumatic Stress… Oh For Fuck’s Sake, What The Hell?!


  1. Beth R

    I’m not a mental professional… hell, I’m just mental!… but I can see where both your therapist and Monkey’s are coming from. You’ve had MORE than enough to justify looking into this: being a parent has got to be traumatic enough without all of the out-of-the-ordinary things.

    You know we’re all here for you. Just because you’re functioning doesn’t mean you’re living. And you deserve to LIVE. Big hugs and thanks for getting back into therapy.

  2. RebeccaF.

    Go with it ’cause you are getting help. It does not matter what it’s called. PTSD has a different connotation for us lay folks so just think of the big picture – you getting help for you.

    Go, you!

    Thanks for putting yourself out there. I think you’re awesome and, also, pretty!

    Love and hugs and best wishes during this season of your life. Amen.

  3. Katy

    Going through a very similar process following a trauma this summer (lightning hit house, house caught on fire, everyone okay, house okay after seven weeks of sharing one hotel room with husband and two kids, kids having anxiety, mom falling apart once the adrenaline wore off). I am also finding therapy helpful, and am doing some EMDR work–not sure if anyone at your therapy practice does that kind of voo-doo?
    p.s. prozac & Klonipin also very helpful. ;) better living through chemistry

  4. Jamie

    I guess I’ve never really thought that the “Stress” of PTSD didn’t have to be war or something crazy/awful. The way the therapists have put it, it could be little stresses; I just never thought about it that way. Hey, at least he didn’t suggest it was way-post-partum depression or something…. :)

    Talking is good, autopilot is good at times, too. LIfe just keeps speeding up crazy and I feel like I’m on autopilot a lot of the time. I’m feeling like I don’t get as much joy out of things since they’re passing so quickly, then I tell myself to get used to it, it’s just going to continue as the kids get older. Whew, that was refreshing, wasn’t it?!

  5. Annette

    I have a friend who suffers from PTSD after a nasty divorce. Then she was caught in an earthquake, and then a bad storm. All events she had no control over which made her terrified of bad weather. Fast Forward 20 years. Her daughter gets pregnant by a real jerk in high school, out of wedlock, then traumatically loses the baby. This sent her into a real tailspin. PTSD. There you go. I think those of us woth control issues are more prone.

  6. Leandra

    I took the SAT once with a 104 degree fever and did surprisingly well. May Chickie have the same success!

    As for Monkey, I know sometimes it’s hard to picture him as an adult, but that’s because you’re looking at the HUGE picture. There will be millions of tiny advancements and successes between now and 18. I know you know this, but maybe it will help to just focus on the one tree instead of the forest.

    Hang in there. {{Hugs}}

  7. carmie

    I have secondary PTSD from a lot of similar events, and am working through some trauma for a, well, traumatic series of events too. For me, just putting a label on it and realizing that it was fixable and TO BE EXPECTED was a relief. Breathing exercises have helped with the really bad moments, as has group & individual therapy. I haven’t ruled out meds yet, either.

    I sort of have a mental picture I refer back to when things get really bad and I feel like it’s never, ever going to get better. I picture myself standing in a maze with horrible things waiting down every pathway, and no clear way out. Just when I’m about to break down, I look up and realize the maze walls only come up to my knees, and there is a beautiful vista of some sorts on the edges of the maze. Sometimes it’s the beach, sometimes it’s a meadow, sometimes it’s my living room floor cleared of toys….you get it. It’s such a relief to know that feeling this way doesn’t have to last forever. The crappy stuff might, but I am hoping that my coping skills will get better.

    Hang in there Mir. Thanks for your honesty.

  8. Katie in MA

    Hmmm…I kinda like that title. Calling it like you see it, brutal honesty, and a side of humor. It works. :) I also totally get the whole, “I don’t know, but hey, if it works – let’s not argue with semantics!” attitude, too. I don’t see it so much as a willpower and sunshine issue so much as I do having an open mind and trying as many different approaches as it takes to find what works – and I think that’s what you’re doing. If it’s secondary PTSD, or wth they’re calling it, well I don’t think anyone would think that was unusual. You are dealing with some very different and difficult issues and have been for a long time. You’re sensitive and loving and compassionate – why *wouldn’t* it get to you after awhile? You are a delicate flower, yo. :) It’s not crazy – it’s completely and utterly normal.

    If only knowing it and feeling it were the same thing. <> to you, Mir!!

  9. elz

    Have I told you that I think you are incredibly brave? For putting everything out there on the internet to read? Every time you write (honestly and beautifully) about your experiences, someone else can say ‘It’s not just me.” How freaking amazing is that? That, my friend, is power and you have it. I’m so glad that your therapist really sees you.

    And, I wish you nothing but good things forever and ever and always.

  10. Cindy

    My dad had PTSD (Korean conflict) and it can get you seriously FUBAR. It seems to me that anyone can get that given enough stress and craptastic experiences . Sounds like you have a good therapist! Happy thoughts to you!

  11. Ani

    Just a big hug, b/c dealing with kid health issues is tough…and finding the chink in the Super-Mom armor is both a relief and terrifying.

    I vote that part of the PTSOFFWTH therapy is wine and chocolate and scheduled massages…all medically necessary, and covered by insurance. (Hey if I’m gonna dream, it’s gonna be full-blast)

    Salud. To all of you. (a toast, and a wish)

  12. parodie

    Good for you for being proactive – therapy, etc; I think PTSD would make sense given what you’ve gone through (and knowing that us blog-readers only see bits & pieces!). Beth in the first comment gets it right: functioning is not living. I hope your therapist can help you find things that really help!

  13. mamalang

    I actually have a lot to say about PTSD and the way it has been portrayed in movies and such…but this just doesn’t seem like the place. I’m glad you are getting help, and I hope things get better for you all soon.

  14. Aimee

    ” PTSOFFSWTH = Post Traumatic Stress… Oh For Fuck’s Sake, What The Hell?!”

    Well, I like your title!

    I’m so sorry that things aren’t just EASY. I don’t know that much about PTSD, but given all of the difficult things you’ve had to deal with, maybe it’s not really that far-fetched. I’m glad the therapist is working out, and I’d like to second Ani’s suggestions as well. Let’s face it, wine, chocolate and massages won’t hurt!

    Just remember you have an awful lot of people out here pulling for you and for the kids and sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. We may not know you IRL, but you’ve shared so much with us and we lurve you.

  15. dad

    In case you hadn’t noticed Mim, you have always tended to live life far more intensely than the average Jo. As you matured your sarcasm became more relavent and your sense of humor tempered your reactions. You haven’t done 90% of anything in say…ever. That’s one of the reason we love you.

    As for your recurring nightmare: the survival of one’s progeny is the everlasting primal fear of every caring parent. That doedn’t make it easier. It just means you’re normal…whatever that means.

  16. Jennifer Joyner

    This is intriguing…I never would have thought of PTSD, but now that you present it this way, it makes sense. Thank you for being so open about this topic…mental health is not something many people feel comfortable talking about, so you starting the dialogue is sure to help others!

    **sending good health vibes to Chickie and Monkey!**

  17. Tracy B

    I know several people that suffer from this since Hurricane Katrina. (yes, I’m from Louisiana but not NOLA (thank goodness). I’ve always heard that “stress” does weird things to you and I’ve witnessed some of it. I’m glad you are getting the help you need but really, just talking about it always makes me feel better. There may or may not be a solution but hearing it outloud makes it better. I’m praying for Monkey and you!

  18. Megan

    Once again – your dad is amazing.

    How I avoided PTSD I do not know – but I have no doubt that there is a short list of things that would absolutely put me right there. It’s good to have a name, good to have a therapist who can give you that name AND hopefully can now help sort out those lovely knots that intense, 110% life-livers tend to get tied into.

    Also: thank you for interpreting the title. I was sitting there going ‘hmmm… pissed off south-west… um… thomething?’

  19. Rinatta, the Health Conscious Mommy

    You know, that makes sense. But PTSD is not a mental illness. It’s what happens when people deal with a certain kind of stress, chronic or acute, but it’s not permanent. Actually, here’s a weird thing. If you play tetris after a traumatic event, it’s less likely to cause PTSD symptoms. I swear, look it up!

    Also, EFT has been proven by research to effectively treat PTSD.

    And on last note, I am reading your post and identifying with it. Which may very well explain a whole lot of things.Hmmmmm….

  20. Amelia

    I am a little late to the show, looks like…Monkey had a seizure? I read regularly but have been out a bit here lately. For whatever it’s worth, my sister began having seizures when she was a sophomore in high school. They ran a bunch of scary-sounding tests. She went to a couple neurologists. Verdict? They’re tied to her sleep cycles, somehow, and no one knows what the cause is.

    I’ve since heard of lots of people who suddenly had a seizure or two as teens. I know that’s not terribly reassuring, but it does happen. As for my sister, she had a seizure about once a year for a few years. Then in college she started taking her medicine exactly as it was prescribed (as opposed to willy-nilly)…and hasn’t had one since. She has a perfectly average life…driver’s license, marriage, career, kids, and all.

    As for PTSD…maybe it would help to think of it just as a shorthand for a collection of symptoms that tend to go together. That’s all it is, really, anyway. Sending good energy your way.

  21. Karen R.

    Sustained, long-term stress (and what special needs parent doesn’t have at least some experience with that?) can certainly lead to PTSD. If the treatment helps you to feel better, go for it!. Toss a few health issues into to mix (Chickadee’s skin issues, Monkey’s seizure, your jaw) and the stress can go right through the roof.

    I hope you get Monkey’s MRI results soon. My experience with an HMO and a frequently-injured (now former) gymnast was that it usually took a month just to get the MRI (and this after a month of “wait and see if she heals on her own”), then another 2-4 weeks for the MRI to be read and an appointment scheduled to get the reading.

    Surely you don’t feel that Monkey should be ashamed or reluctant to get the extra support he needs. Well, neither should you. If you don’t feel you should do it for your own sake, do it for Otto and your children. They need you to be more than functional.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. RuthWells

    Screw the label — if it helps, go with it.


  23. Frank

    Just wanted to pop in and both cheer and echo your dad’s assessment and sentiments. There are 100 little ways to prove he is on the right track and why PTSD isnt so hard to believe. Putting it that way might make it easier to see….

    Thinking about you guys…..

  24. Jill

    Thank you for sharing the insights from both of your therapists. I understand the waiting for the next terrible thing to happen.. it’s a tough way to walk through the months. In fact, it has even colored my perception of happening that are really quite innocuous over the past five years and is hard to shake.

  25. Another Dawn

    I betcha that therapist is right. Stressful events that don’t seem that bad in and of themselves can really wear you down when they come at you one after the other and having an ongoing stressor with a long road ahead is also very wearing.

    I’m so glad you have people around you who recognize how difficult it can be. After a year that included a mis-diagnosis of a stage 4 cancer of the then 4-year old followed by scary, invasive tests, tentative diagnosis of either celiac disease or cystic fibrosis (yikes!) of the then 6-month old, husband (at the time) having a tentative diagnoisis of multiple schlerosis and my mother having a relapse of lung cancer and subsequently passing away, I went to see my GP because my hair was falling out. Not threatening total baldness, just at a much speedier rate than I thought was normal.

    After examining me and saying it wasn’t a dermatalogical problem, she asked if I was under any unusual stress. To my credit, I did not laugh hysterically at that question. Upon being told that my mother had just passed away (and doc was well aware of the other issues), she more or less shrugged and said, “Oh. That’s probably it, then.” End of discussion. Yeah, so way to treat the whole patient, doc.

    I second (third, fourth?) the suggestion of massage therapy. I find it very helpful. And a glass of vino from time to time never hurt no one either.

    I hope things ease up a bit for you. It’s a lot to carry around in your head, isn’t it?

  26. Diane

    Oh, Mir,

    A few months ago I started going to a group for moms of special needs kids. My daughter’s therapist recommended it to me and for some time I resisted. (My daughter’s Aspergers isn’t severe, and I have had –and am still having, really — identifying with the “special needs” thing. No denial here.) Anyway, I finally decided to give it a try. So I get together with 6 other moms and the group is led by 2 therapists, both of whom have kids on the autism spectrum. And despite the wide range of differences in our kids’ issues, we present a very similar array of emotions: grief, fear, exhaustion, joy, anger, love of course, deep determination to get our kids what they need, and more. There’s a common sense of being “shell shocked” — we are in a daily battle and work and fight so hard for our kids that stopping to see how it affects US as women and moms isn’t something we’ve done much. We’re too busy just dealing with daily stuff.

    So I can totally see the PTSD thing. The issues you live with every day, every minute, expose you to constantly difficult things in a way that is just overwhelming and exhausting and all-consuming.

    We’ve actively recognized and been working on my daughter’s aspergers and migraine syndrome for 4 years and this is really the first time it’s hit me to realize how it affects ME. And that’s kind of huge.

    Anyway, be gentle with yourself, and listen to the therapist’s suggestions, and know that even while a lot of stuff is battering at you, you are still standing there strong. Tired, but strong. :-)

  27. Heather

    Oh honey. That only sounds *slightly* stressful, yeah. And you put it so well with the “mental illness can be overcome by willpower” because SERIOUSLY?! (I also like, can be overcome by prayer…which, yeah, maybe, but God doesn’t always cure cancer or diabetes or any number of diseases for which we might pray for healing and ARRRGH.)
    Ummmm. You’re pretty. I like your hair.

  28. Rachel

    I have nothing informative to say other than I am glad someone else loves that Geico commercial….cracks me up every time.
    Mamby pamby land. Hehehe.

    Sorry that thru this whole post that’s the thing I comment on…guess that’s kinda crappy of me but I don’t have much to offer on the rest….other than my entire family it seems is in some sort therapy and I am the only that is either a)relatively ok for the time being b) in denial and/or c) a good actor.

  29. Mamadragon

    Ice cream. I’m sure ice cream is the preferred treatment for PTSD.

    For kids or adults, I’m a fan of “whatever works”. So if it helps to nod your head and say, “Yes, maybe it is PTSD…now how would the treatment for that be different than what we’re doing now?” – do it. If the new treatment regime isn’t helping, you’ll know pretty quickly. But whether you have PTSD or not, if it helps to change things up – go for it.

  30. Rasselas

    For what it’s worth, I can tell you one thing: I lived through a war as a child and it hasn’t left me nearly as scarred as family stuff has. I am not joking or exaggerating here. And my family wasn’t even horribly bad! Pretty bad in some aspects, but not nearly as bad as some get. The war is just a distant memory, while the family stuff I am still untangling to this day because it has shaped me as a person in all kinds of ways. So, while we may not agree on some subjects regarding therapy (I still cringe a bit when I remember my past comments), I can tell you as someone who’s been in a war as a kid: don’t feel guilty or underestimate family trauma.

  31. Mare Martell

    I went through many years of PTSD before a therapist (I LOVE YOU PAT!) got it right. It was a lot of therapy, but the nightmares started to ease. Things that would have sent me crying before her started to look conquerable. I ran on auto-pilot just to attempt to deal with everything. Detachment was a way for my mind to handle what I wasn’t dealing with because it was too big and scary. It was like I’d forgotten that I’m just as important as all of the events currently around me.

    I’ve been a faithful reader for a while now. I can identify with the stress of health and learning, emotional and intellectual power that it takes to get through a day. When the reserves get so depleted that things just don’t seem to work any more, it’s time to re-evaluate, recharge, and reconsider how to handle things. PTSD is a scary label, but it can be helped so that the stress eases. That is a tiny ray of sunshine in a chaotic world of dark clouds looming. It can’t be rainy every day!

  32. 12tequilas

    I’m wondering why it matters that you might be suffering from PTSD. Does establishing that change the way the therapist will relate to you? It seems to me he must have had purpose behind looking into all that.

  33. raina

    I have always had the same morbid/scary thoughts about my oldest son. He is the one Ive talked to you about, the one who also recently had a seizure/faint thing and we are also going through testing.

    so. We have to stop copying each other. ;-)

    I think perhaps our reoccuring dreams and thoughts about our sons is maybe our brain telling us that something is “off” with our kids, and by “off” I certainly dont mean “dead”. But maybe both of us were getting messages from our brains about the autism things long before the kids were diagnosed. So our scary dreams are not a foreshadowing but simply our inner mind yelling at us that our kids need some help. Which we are both already doing, so our inner brain can shut the f up now.

    Or I could be a rambling crazy person. Either way.

  34. Beth R

    @12tequilas: What matters is not that she “has PTSD” – it’s that “it’s not just in my head, this is something real and it has a name which means that there are things we can do about it”.

    I was in therapy for several years and on Lexapro for depression with anxiety. I was able to get to the point where I could implement the coping strategies I had learned, but several issues just weren’t improving. A chance comment of mine about my problems with money (not a new topic) kick started something in my therapist’s brain – he hopped over to the DSM, dug around a bit and found the actual issue that I’m dealing with – cyclothymia, which is a form of bipolar disorder, not depression. With that label, I was able to release my guilt over my inability to handle money and we were able to shift our work to better suit my issues.

    Did this make me better? No. Does it help my outlook to know that there’s a name and research to support me? YES. Absolutely. Not all physical issues are treated the same, the same goes with mental/emotional issues.

    Sorry this is so long, but I’m a great believer in the power of the label to aid in understanding.

  35. Sassy Apple

    You’re not alone (kind of an area 51 lead in there….) I was disbelieving, embarrassed and finally convinced when my therapist diagnosed me with PTSD several years ago. I never went through TRAUMA, but as we’ve trudged through my psyche (no pretty ponies there, my friends) I have had to grudgingly agree that she’s right, AGAIN. Anyway, don’t dismiss it. It explains a lot.

  36. Becca

    I have both types of ptsd, because never let it be said that I am an underachiever. I have trauma from my feet (Walking all your life? Now you’re not! Eight surgeries later, I’m walking again, mostly) and from my mother, who has a mental illness herself and thus inflicted quite a bit of emotional abuse.

    The rest, my therapist suggests, probably comes from having severe sensory issues (comes with the aspergers) my whole life, and thus just living in this world causes trauma. Er, not to make you worry about Monkey. This got a whole lot better once I was diagnosed with the aspergers, and could make adjustments in my life such as periods to hole up in my head and filter out all the sensory stuff. I just didn’t get diagnosed until 23.

    There are all different types of treatments for ptsd, and it depends on how it’s affecting you. I was having crippling emotional (not visual) flashbacks, so I needed a way to get through those as much as prevent them from happening. What helped me was a lot of things that sound like new-age mumbo jumbo, but I was desperate enough to try. Energy psychology, rapid eye movements, and listening to my body.

    There isn’t a cure for ptsd. It’s a life long condition. But it can be managed, and mine is now under control. Taking the time to get it there was the best thing I ever did for myself.

  37. Celeste

    When I was having marital problems, my then-minister insisted that we come for counseling with him. In his opinion, every problem we have is related to depression, which exists because we are not close enough to God. He trots out that theory for EVERYTHING. Ok, I recognize that we are all imperfect beings. But blame the victim much? After he came up with that, I refused to go for more than one session.

    Oh, and yes, I divorced the husband and left the church.

  38. Em

    Considering the very important subject matter of the second half of your post, my comment is going to sound like I am ignoring the elephant in the room or something. I’m not. I just don’t know enough about any of it to offer a comment. I don’t know if it would be a good thing or a bad thing. I just don’t know.

    Something caught my eye at the beginning of the post though, about Chickie’s past anemia and that she is on iron supplements. That reminded me of a little fact I learned in nursing school that makes me stop and ponder every time I take a multivitamin myself. They said that caffeine inhibits the absorption of iron but that citrus juice facilitates it. I don’t know if she is at the age that people start their morning coffee jumpstart routine yet but I thought I would mention it because you said it felt reminiscent of that time and hey, who doesn’t love nuggets of advice on your childrens’ health from strangers on the interwebs? Nobody, that’s who!

  39. Lucinda

    Not even reading all the comments so maybe this has already been said. But my first thought is, yes, it’s easy to deny and feel embarrassed about. Whether or not you have PTSD doesn’t change how you currently feel. BUT considering that option gives you and your therapist a whole new bag of tricks to help you feel less apprehensive and more like you are standing on even ground and that can’t be a bad thing. I know I was thinking the other day when I read about Monkey’s latest thing, “My God, can’t this woman get a break!” and I know I don’t even know the half of what you have gone through. So good luck and hope this new avenue of possible treatment gets you some much needed relief.

  40. J from Ireland

    Aw Mir. Fuck the embarassment with titles just do whatever it takes to make you feel better, dear. Even just reading your blog we know you have been through so much and you seem to handle things amazingly well and with a fantastic sense of humour. I really wish you all the best and I feel really grateful that you share so much with us, your readers. Take care dear Mir.

  41. jessica

    Wait, so constantly telling everyone you’re a jinx because nothing ever goes right and feeling that never ever will because, well, it never has in the past, so why would it now? — that could be PTSD? I always just thought it was because I was born a jinx and I’ll die a jinx. I’m pretty sure that nothing good has happened where something bad hasn’t followed either directly from the good event or closely related to it. *sighs* I don’t know that those fears would be irrational so much as “well, that’s how it’s always been, so life’s just like that,” you know? It is what it is.

    Keeping you and your family in my prayers, Mir. (Don’t worry. I haven’t jinxed anyone by praying for them yet.)

  42. MomCat

    I’m just wondering, when does the ‘post’ part of the title come into play? Cuz it just keeps coming at you, from what I’m reading.

    Cyber hugs from here.

  43. Wendy

    I honestly believe that after three nightmare pregnancies, that I have a touch of PTSD myself. Nausea and vomiting freak me out, whether it is me puking or my kids. I guess what I am trying to say is that I can see where the therapists are coming from. Definitely not something I would have thought, but it makes sense to me when I think about it.

  44. Half Assed Kitchen

    He hasn’t had any more seizures, right? So, that’s good. Monkey has to be destined for adulthood. He’s going to make such a sweet and fine grown up.

  45. mamaspeak

    Em, #38 stir a memory for me. You mentioned giving Chickie coffee (effectively a sweet latte, from what I read) to try & help her get going in the morning. Wondering if that became a regular thing. If it did, I would certainly have her iron tested again, if you haven’t already.

    OK, so Wow! You write so well Mir. The first time I was diagnosed w/depression I felt what you did; embarrassment & the sense of, well if it is, then how does having a name change things. I was raised in a family that says they believe in mental illness, but really doesn’t. Not such a good thing when you have a kid who obviously has it. (raises hand) Eventually I was diagnosed with Fibro, of which depression is a symptom. That title changes a lot. It changes the meds I take in a very big way. And I found that to be extremely helpful. After years of living with Fibro, I’ve discovered a huge thing about it; my sleep determines everything. If I’m on a low dose of an anti-depressant to help me sleep well, everything else falls into place. It sounds like, wha?, but it really does. It took me understanding myself and a doctor who knew a bit about I was going through to figure that out. It is the difference between functioning and living for me (says the girl who’s kinda in the edge of just functioning again). It doesn’t matter what they call it, if giving it a name results in help for you, then go with it.
    ((hugs)) (for all of you)

  46. Lady M

    ((hugs)) If I can send you a Hello Kitty pencil case to help, let me know.

  47. Brigitte

    Actually, when researching my own issues (because . . TALK!? To a total STRANGER!? When that’s one of my stressors?) I fit every sympton of PTSD, except for the one major traumatic event thing.

    My trauma was merely 13 years of intense bullying to my delicate flower self, so it didn’t apply. But I’ve been pleased to see recent research coming around to my way of thinking.

    And like a prior commenter said, your stuff is STILL going on, so it’s no wonder that any little thing sends your stress levels over the top!

  48. Lori


    I AM a therapist and if you have some secondary trauma, it’s nothing to feel yucky about or think that you’re somehow “mental” because clearly you’re not. You are dealing with HARD stuff and that does tend to have an effect. Give yourself some grace. Continue therapy, talk about what you need to, take care of YOU so that you’re able to be present with others.

    I love this blog, such an encouragement for me, especially as a mom with a son with aspergers myself.

    Hang in there.

  49. daysgoby

    Shoot, and I read it as Pants Off With. Man, this fall/winter has not been kind to you, Mir!

  50. Nancy R

    I think I had PTSD after my first daughter was born – it was a scheduled c-section, but I kept having flashbacks to every single thing that squicked me out before/during/after the event (catheter insertion, anyone? maybe uncontrollable shaking/shivering in the shower while a stranger stands nearby?).

    My third daughter was very…colicky? crabby? Something. She cried. A lot. To this day, hearing a baby cry with intensity (not the little hungry, wet, sleepy cries) causes me to tense up…and I realized about a year ago that when this same daughter gets to coughing with a Reactive Airway flare-up I tend to clench and hunch like I did during the first year of her life. Better living through chemistry, indeed.

  51. Kira

    You know what gets me, sweetheart? When I was freaked out and trembling under the table a few months back, you could say, gently and directly, “Look. You’ve been through some terrible stuff. It’s pretty normal to have lasting effects.” And you were kind and loving about it.
    Look, darlin’. You’ve been through some terrible stuff. Grant yourself as much patience and kindness as you were willing to give me. You deserve it.
    Love you.

  52. Amy

    1) I love your dad and Kira! 2) I totally want to come to your city and hug you!

  53. shadymama

    hunh. that’s interesting. i would be kind of blind sided by that theory, as well – mostly because i picture PTSD as linked to really dramatic, violent experiences. but then, ya know, you think about it and…a lot of life can be really traumatic. especially when the health/well-being of one’s children are involved.
    i think you should ditch the therapist. (hi! i’m shadymama! you don’t even know my real name, but *SURE* i’ll give you advice about yer current mental health regimen! yer welcome!) tangents, sex life oversharing and the reactionary zoning out seem like not the greatest…
    maybe find someone a little more willing to look in their own mirror?
    *completely* just a thought.
    lady? so many of us out here are completely inspired by you, yer bravery and the fact you are putting yer mental and emotional well-being in the forefront of yer conscious thoughts.
    be well, mir. sending you the mellowest, deep breathingest faeries to hang with you in tough times.

  54. Jen

    Oh well hell. If you’re PTSOFFSWTH, then I probably should have a deeper chat with MY therapist. Sigh… While I haven’t had nearly the “shit hitting the fan sprayathon” that you have had, the last year has been pretty close.
    I’d send you a rainbow-farting unicorn to cheer you up, but I’m still looking for mine.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest