Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Hitting the Wall
I’m certain most of you have heard that phrase sometime in your lives. Often you can’t quite put your finger on what the wall actually is but other times it’s pretty easy to define. You’re burned out at your job. You’re not getting enough sleep. You’ve battled hard for a relationship only to see it crumble and begin to affect every aspect of your life. It could be struggling to move on in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one.
About a week and a half ago, I hit my own wall. I wish I could say it was only one thing but in reality there was a collection of things that created a “perfect storm” scenario. They’d all been building in their own way over time, some of them over the past few years. One of them in particular blew me completely out of the water.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD.
Originally associated with returning military combatants, PTSD can affect anyone who’s lived through a traumatic event or circumstance – such as a child’s liver transplant.
This bout of PTSD blindsided me, although I probably shouldn’t have been surprised by the timing. I’ve continually sought to bury my own pain and deal with life as best I can. But it’s fruitless to believe you can have a “normal” existence when you haven’t dealt with the issues burning your soul. So this is where I live today. It’s not fun, it’s not enjoyable but working through the pain is necessary to regaining a hold on my life. Until I can rid myself of the residual crud, PTSD will rear its ugly head at the most inopportune times.
The good news: I’m alive and I will survive this. My little Sarah battled and fought through biliary atresia, a major bleed and a liver transplant. And everything that goes with it. I can overcome because of her example. So can you, if you’re living through the pain of a child’s illness or anything else but you have to WANT to work for it. There is no overnight fix.
My advice to other liver families and anyone else struggling with PTSD: don’t go it alone. We weren’t made to live alone and we kid ourselves when we think this is “our” problem and we need to fix it. People exist for each other. Let others walk alongside you and aid in your recovery.
Someday the sun will rise and this difficult road will lay behind you. Maybe we’ll meet each other in that place. Hang on.