PTSD..

Saturday, May 20, 2023

I wrote this post in 2017, and only now, 6 years later, in 2023, am I finally able to click "post" because I am not in this place anymore. 
My daughter is not in this place anymore. 
I am so thankful we are no longer struggling with PTSD.
I am able to post this in victory. 
We made it through the hell of TSW, and the hell of PTSD after.


Don't ever give up..
 
I am posting this for those struggling mentally. 

You are not alone.

~~~~

December 3rd, 2017 1:49 PM

Been putting this post off for many months..
..finally feel it is time, since healing is taking place..

..as I force myself to type this! 
..ha!😶

We have some wonderful things to share and some things that in my flesh, I would like to stay hidden..😬  

Ya'll know me.. 

I was brutally raw with emotion and feeling, when I brought our family out from behind the TSW curtain,
starting this blog back in 2013..

I felt that I wanted to share in full that truth, of what was our reality..

..to be able to tell our story in all honesty..

..and to be able to relate to those suffering like us..

I shed many tears through the typing..

..some that were more like 
uncontrollable sobs - where I had to physically get up and walk away from the computer to take care of Isaiah,
and regroup mentally..

..it was all consuming, and a struggle like I had never known..

It was an admittance of utter hopelessness in many ways, in my human nature.. but loving and leaning on my Lord, even when He seemed silent..


And that is not an easy place..

drought...

barrenness..

suffering..

pain...

..grief

..worry

..chaos

Knowing The Healer..

..but waiting on the manifestation of that healing..


Standing on the Psalms, and relating to David, as he cried out to the same God, in similar anguish of soul..

That which I knew in my spirit
as Truth.. 
..but having to walk out that Truth.

Having to turn away the negative from people, that may have meant well, 
but their words and opinions cut like knives.

The lack of others' understanding, and being too tired and weary to even begin to try to make them see or understand, made it become easier just to shut the door on life.. 
on them.. and on their opinions..

All the while, in our home, we were trying everything we could to help our son hold on for dear life, 
and keep what little bit of hope we had from totally unraveling.. 

While too, keeping our precious young daughter from losing herself in the pain and grief that was so thick and stifling here, 

day in and day out..


All the peace she had ever known came to a screeching halt, and life for us all took a drastic turn.

She kept the sweetest demeanor when it came to him, and always wanted to help in any way she could, from baths, to wraps, to feeding and supplements.
She would sing to him and play him songs..

~~~
There are truly not enough grievous adjectives for what we lived out..

Most people just did not understand.

I may not have either, lest I lived it out. 

Who knew skin could be so deep??

Who knew a cream, that could be picked up without prescription from the corner store, could cause so much damage?? 

It almost cost a life. 

Who could ever imagine being in a health crisis, where most of those in the medical field that should help, ended up doing more harm than good??


Having to trust our instincts.. 

...being led by the Spirit..
 
..following God, whom we cannot see..
 
..feeling that we are taking each moment as a step of faith into utter darkness..

..each breath being hard and heavy to even breathe..

..feeling numb and surreal day in and day out, where it seemed like we would never wake up from the nightmare..

..leaning fully on God,
when the answers were not laid out clearly..

..trusting and hoping, from a pit of despair..

..digging deep for courage, when being so shaky and unsure.. 

..trying to cast down doubt and discouragement, when we were so enveloped in it..

..most days, I was not even sure if I was truly able to..
~~~
My daughter and I were here 24/7, while my husband left daily for work.
 
I believe that is why the two of us were more affected by the crippling anxiety, fear of separation, and PTSD.

~~~
Isaiah turned a fantastic corner in October of 2014 and began for the first time since we started this journey, to have beautiful skin, full body..

By December we began to venture out and the PTSD that had tried to grip me for months, really tried to consume me.. 

It was wild, because here we were:
Getting back to life! 
I should be happy..excited!

But the reality was I had to force myself out the door, 
every single time I left..

This went on for months and months..

..and even little things like 
putting on makeup and straightening my hair seemed foreign and strange,
as I began to do it again for the first time in over 2 and a half years..

Getting dressed again in clothes other than balm and ooze stained 
t-shirts and jogging pants.. 

Going places other than the hospital and doctor's office, and trying to forget the dread that used to well up inside every time we loaded up to go..

Back then, the car doors would shut, and I would spin into deeper and deeper fear in my mind, each time we loaded up his little, broken body.. 

..my feet, mind and shoulders felt like lead, and it was always hard for me to breathe.
~~~
Putting a focus and care on myself again, even just to do those little things like make-up and hair.. 
when I had not even really looked in the mirror for months. 

It may seem silly, but it was so hard for me..

I had been so consumed with survival for Isaiah 
 that I almost fully lost myself in it..

The joy that I once had, I felt like it was gone..

..I knew deep down it had to still be there, it was just foreign,
like that blush and eyeliner..

I wanted so desperately to be out of the misery in my mind, 
and I wanted the anxiety to stop trying to choke me..

It was hard even being around family.

Where I was once so extroverted and constantly on the move with my daughter.. 
home school field trips, always at church, and out with friends..

I didn't even know how to do that anymore, and I tried to hide what I was feeling inside.

I had a total melt down having to escape a restaurant around the time of  my birthday, where we met with family for the first time since I had Isaiah.

I had to force myself to go, and almost didn't. 

Almost couldn't.
 
I didn't realize that there was a cake for me, and the waiter was asked secretly by a relative to come and have the others sing to me.
 
It sounds absolutely crazy now, even typing this out, but it took everything in me not to hyperventilate and pass out. 

By the time I made it to the parking lot, I was bawling, and could not even see to walk to the car. I was panic stricken in my mind and it felt like all 4 walls were closing in on me.

All the attention had been on me, and my mind could not take it. 

Everything felt surreal and seemed so much louder than it physically was.

There are just no words to describe how the anxiety made my mind feel in that moment, and so many other moments in those months following, like it.
 
Never - in my life - have I ever felt that way over something so small and trivial. 

It didn't make sense, and I knew it didn't make sense, but in my mind I felt like I would collapse from the weight of it.
 
I didn't even understand anxiety until this season of my life and I hated the PTSD, and how it made me feel. 

How simple tasks were now a struggle, and anything outside of my new comfort zone made me feel trapped, to the point of no escape. 

Even though, in the natural, I was not bound! It was all mental! 

Anything could trigger it, but
Isaiah's baby clothes were always the hardest to deal with. 

All those baby onesies. 


They were all stretched and stained, but every time I tried to get rid of them, I would panic and cry. 

I just couldn't do it. 

It hit every season when I needed to purchase new clothes for Isaiah, (because he was growing, finally!) 
..no more failure-to-thrive..

 I would see them and the waves of emotions would come crashing down.
 
Last year, I was finally able to bag them all up and move them to the hall linen closet.
 
That is where they will always stay. 

There were things I would come across from the hospital, or even helping others through our Etsy shop. 

Some days, I would just sit and sob, looking at those precious babies that looked just like our Isaiah, 
filling our inbox, and think, 
"Lord, you have given me this healing ministry.. as we continue to walk out our family's healing, please help me continue to minister.. 
Give me strength to do what you have called me to do..."

Seeing the words from those sweet people, telling me how our story has given them hope and strength, helped breathe another breath of hope and strength into me. 
~~~
I realized one day, that in less than 2 weeks, my licence was going to be expired - for two years!
I had not driven in that long.. 

I was in the backseat with Isaiah for all trips, and I even almost 
became fearful to drive. 

Because my driver's license had been expired so long, I was 2 weeks away from having to retake the drivers test! Praise the Lord He prompted me to look at it, for whatever reason.. 

..who knows if I could have even taken the test, when it was so hard to even step foot outside the door of our home most days.

I felt like a shell of my former self. 

I didn't even recognize myself anymore.. 

I was tired of the knots in my stomach and throat.. my heart always racing and teeth clenched.. 

I was tired of being frozen in fear and frozen in time..

Life was happening around me, and I felt like I was spinning out of control mentally..

I was watching the stress, that had made itself at home in our home, also try to cripple our daughter...

It really spiraled when she had a panic attack at a church bible school, and couldn't remember our phone number because she was so upset. 

She had made herself physically sick by the time they figured it out and called us. This was the first of many major episodes for her.

She was struggling with extreme separation anxiety, every time she would leave for violin lessons, or outings with family, and it got to the point where she would not go anywhere
without us. 

This season had forced her to grow up in so many ways, and the experience was too much for her precious little mind to bear most days.

~~~
At home with Isaiah as he healed, she was happy and calm, so most days, we just stayed here. 


The days turned into months, and it got harder for the two of us to even want to leave. 
~~~
 Blogging his TSW milestones and healing helped me tremendously,
as well as including our 
sweet TSW Super Heroes & Pals..

I never understood post-traumatic stress until it came knocking on my door throughout TSW, and the years that shortly followed..

I never knew anxiety or being triggered by so many things.. 

..sometimes daily.

I never knew how hard it would be just to venture outside of these four walls, and face life and the people, who had read in black and white, the depths of the suffering of my soul. 

Mentally, I had been in that fight-or-flight response for months on end
and it had tried to burn a rut of familiar in my mind.. 

I had cried more in two years than I had in my whole life, and the enemy of my soul wanted to keep me in that place..

Some days I almost let him win.. 

BUT GOD.

..and looking into the fearful eyes of my daughter made me push through my own fears, 
because I made up my mind that no matter what, I was not going to let this consume her, like it was trying to consume me.

I hid the panic attacks for many months because I did not want it to affect her, anymore than TSW already had.. 

I would lock the door to the bathroom and hyperventilate and pray. I would lay hands on my own head, and command the fear to flee.
~~~
When she would cry about leaving home, and I would hold her close, I would dig scriptures to read over her, that she could hide in her heart, 

and even me, in my own..

The main one being:
 
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. 

Power, love and a sound mind.. 

A sound mind? 

Could I ever even get back to that place?

What did that even mean for me, now? 

I had heard and quoted that scripture for years, but God was going to reveal the true meaning for our family, that we could dig into, and hold on to, with our souls.

Peace in mind and heart? 

Steadfast and set?

I had to..

for me..

but especially for her.. 
and for Isaiah..
~~~
I searched "sound mind" online and found this:

What Does It Mean To Have a Sound Mind? 

It suggests something that is delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, and protected, and is now safe and secure. One expositor suggests that the word 'sozo' (Stong's Greek 4982) could actually depict a person who was on the verge of death but then was revived and resuscitated, because new life was breathed into him.

Revived..

Salvaged..

Protected..

Safe and secure.. 

Having new life breathed into us?

Yes, please and thank you.. 👏

We had just fought for our son, 
who, thank God, would not even remember the hellish pain.. 

and now, it was time to fight for the mental health of both me and my daughter.
~~~
We didn't seek therapy, although looking back, having a Christian counselor may have helped

We did fight through with scripture.

And when I say fight, I mean battle, and it was fierce, and sometimes minute by minute. 

Having just come through TSW, there was no way I was going to let anything come against our minds and win. 

 We used the Sword and Shield of the Word to quench the fiery darts from the enemy in our minds.

Speaking the same Life into our thoughts, feelings and emotions, that we did into Isaiah's skin.
~~~~ 
 I am thankful for the Only True God who carries us, when we can no longer even stagger. 

I am thankful for the yoke that is easy, when our burdens are too heavy to bear. 

I am thankful for the grace and mercy of God, that stands us up, washes our souls, and breathes on us to keep pushing forward.. 
not letting up, or letting us give up!

I was relieved for our family, and for our son especially..

To see his smile, finally, made our hearts melt..


He would dance with our daughter, and play with toys.. they laughed and giggled, and it was precious. 
She would hug and kiss him.. we all could - without the worry of damaging his skin.

She showed him her favorite toys and cartoons, playing and dancing, and would make the sweetest videos with him. They would smile together in selfies, and life was better and better for him each day.


She was - and is! - the best sister to him. 

I know God knew exactly what He was doing, by single-handedly choosing each one of us to belong to Isaiah.

And picking Isaiah for us.. 

I love my precious family.. 
my sweet husband and both our children. They are truly a gift from the Lord. 

I am so thankful that the triggers are almost non-existent these days. 

We can leave home for field trips, visit friends and family, go to co-op and church, and not feel those feelings of dread or fear that once tried to consume. 

 

We have enjoyed vacations, and milestones and all the TSW anniversary celebrations. 

I know those will continue each year. 

We laugh and play games, sing and dance, and we "choose joy" because the joy of the Lord is our strength.


Thanks for reading my heart, yet again.. 
..and thank you for the kind words and encouragement so many of you have shared with our family over the years. I can't put into words how your love and prayers helped carry us.

We are saying a special prayer today for those of you struggling with anxiety, fear, PTSD, sadness and depression. 

God is able.. 

You are not alone! 

Mental health struggles are real, and your feelings are valid. Acknowledging them is the first step to freedom.
 
You can and will be free in your mind. 
Even if its just taking it moment by moment.. breathe and pray.
God counts your tears and sees your heart. Call out to Him.. He is faithful..
You will make it out! 
~~~
God bless & keep you, always..

Love, 
Stephanie & Isaiah Quinn
Psalm 91

Click here for Isaiah's first blog entry:

Also, look for a new blog soon after this one.. It's Isaiah's TEN YEAR TSW ANNIVERSARY May 22, 2023!

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