Children and PTSD

Just like adults, children can suffer from PTSD. The symptoms may look a little different in children, but it’s still PTSD.

First off, what is PTSD? PTSD is Posttraumatic stress disorder. This can occur after a very traumatic event. In prior history we associated PTSD with soldiers who had faced battle. Now we understand that it can affect anyone.

What can Cause PTSD in Children

  • Bad accidents, such as car wreck
  • Invasive medical procedures, especially for children younger than age 6
  • Animal bites
  • Natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes
  • Manmade tragedies, such as bombings
  • Violent personal attacks, such as a mugging, rape, torture, or kidnapping
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual abuse
  • Witnessing the death of a loved one
  • Emotional abuse or bullying
  • Neglect

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD in Children

  • Have problems sleeping
  • Have nightmares
  • Feel depressed or grouchy
  • Not understand why they are crying
  • Change in eating habits
  • Feel nervous, jittery, or alert and watchful (on guard)
  • Lose interest in things they used to enjoy. They may seem detached or numb and are not responsive.
  • Have trouble feeling affectionate
  • Be more aggressive than before, even violent
  • Stay away from certain places or situations that bring back memories
  • Have flashbacks. These can be images, sounds, smells, or feelings. The child may believe the event is happening again.
  • Lose touch with reality
  • They may cling to the person that they feel safe with
  • Reenact an event for seconds or hours or, in rare cases, days
  • Have problems in school
  • Have trouble focusing
  • Worry about dying at a young age
  • Act younger than their age, such as thumb-sucking or bedwetting
  • Have physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches
  • Sometimes PTSD in children can look like ADHD

What to do as a Parent

If you notice these changes in your child and they persist, talk to their doctor. Get your child into counseling and keep every appointment. Listen to your child when they want to talk about what happened. You have to admit that the event happened and acknowledge it for your child. Let the child’s school counselor know what happened so they can check in on your child. Talk to their doctor about medications that could help your child. Take it seriously! Don’t just pass it off as nothing. Understand that your child may need you more. They may cling to you because you are their safety net.

https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/ptsd.html

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=post-traumatic-stress-disorder-in-children-90-P02579

Mama Bear

I am a mama bear. Don’t mess with my kiddos!

If you were to ask me who or what I am, one of the first things that I will say is, I am a mom. I wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl and being a mom is my favorite thing. It is my most prestige title. I can’t image not being a mom now.

I have two boys. My oldest is 22 and my baby is 12. When it comes to my boys, I am the mama bear! I am protective of my cubs, regardless of their ages. With all of that said, if you mess with my boys, be prepared to get my wrath, anger, and sting.

Yesterday a counselor at my son’s elementary school stepped over the line. Earlier in the day she and I had discussed my son, a medication that he is on, and an issue that he was having. She encouraged me to call his pediatrician and inquire about changing the dosage of his medication.

Without going into a lot of details, my son already sees a counselor for PTSD and anxiety due to a traumatic event that he went through a couple of years ago. My son had seen her on Monday. (this with the school counselor happened on Tuesday). His private counselor knows his whole story and about his medication. https://www.aetna.com/health-guide/kids-anxiety-whats-normal-seek-help.html

Mama bear claws

So yesterday afternoon, I get a call from my son’s pediatrician’s nurse. Come to find out that the school counselor went behind my back and called my son’s doctor! She apparently told them, or left them a message, on what she thought we needed to do. Ironically she did not give them the whole story. And there recommendation was ridiculous! Especially since they didn’t have all of the information. My blood pressure went through the roof!

When I got off of the phone with the nurse, I called the school counselor. Luckily for her, she didn’t answer her line. I did leave her a voicemail. I told her that she had stepped over the line. That I was his mother and I could and would do what I needed to do for my child. I didn’t need her calling his doctor. I told her that she had undermined me and that I didn’t appreciate her doing this behind my back. Am I sure that her intent was good, but she crossed a line.

Now the question is, will she call me back, or will she avoid me.

https://skyehelps.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1373&action=edit

Your Song

What’s your song?

Have you ever heard a song and the lyrics of that song expressed exactly how you were feeling? The lyrics of the song might be the very words that you needed to hear. At that moment you crave that song and those words. They give you strength, courage, hope, or faith. The song may, may you cry tears that you need to shed. Music has a way to get to the very core of our being.

My story for today

This week has been a really tough week for me. If you have read any of my blogs from earlier this week, you will know that this week marks the 25 anniversary of my father’s death. https://skyehelps.com/he-took-his-own-life/ I have also been worrying about one of my best friends and I got some news that left me feeling disappointed.

All of this really took a toll on me. I went to bed feeling beaten and I woke up this morning feeling defeated. I felt like I wasn’t good enough and that maybe in this one area of my life I should give up and move on.

When I turned on my music this morning the songs shuffled to my song. My Fight Song. Hearing this song reminded me that I shouldn’t give up. It reminded me that I am powerful, I can make a difference, and I am definitely enough! Hear are the lyrics to Fight Song and a link to the video. I hope that they inspire you to fight today.

Fight Song Lyrics

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep
Everybody’s worried about me
In too deep
Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)
And it’s been two years I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

A lot of fight left in me

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong (I’ll be strong)
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

Know I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

Dandelions

 Children everywhere rush to pick dandelions, so that they can close their eyes, make a wish, and blow the seeds into the air. (And so do some adults). I still make wishes on dandelions. Doing this reminds me of my childhood and always make me smile. Blowing and wishing on dandelions is something that my children do now and they always bring one to me so that I can make a wish.

In addition to granting wishes, many people believe that dandelion seeds will carry your thoughts and dreams to loved ones when you blow them into the air.

I love this thought. I love the idea that dandelions can carry my thoughts to loved ones that are waiting for me on the other side. It like sending them my love through the air and up to Heaven.

The Dandelion means:

Healing from emotional pain and physical injury alike. Intelligence, especially in an emotional and spiritual sense. The warmth and power of the rising sun. Surviving through all challenges and difficulties.

The meaning of dandelions hits home with me. My sister and I just got matching dandelion tattoos in memory of our dad who died by suicide 25 years ago. We both had a lot of emotional pain from his death that we had to work through. The fact that the dandelion represents surviving through challenges, reminds me that we made it through his death together. It made our bond stronger and brought us closer.

I always see the wishes and never the weeds.

https://www.mofga.org/resources/weeds/ten-things-you-might-not-know-about-dandelions/

He took his own life

25 years. That’s how long it has been since my dad took his own life. Yesterday was the anniversary of his death. The anger and anguish are still with, me even after all of this time. The questions that I had then, are the same questions that I have now, but there are no answers. There is only silence.

I remember the evening that I got the phone call about my dad. I was at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga with some friends. My mom paged me, so I went back to my car to call her back on my bag phone. (This was before everyone had cell phones). The first thing that she asked me was who was with me. I told her and she wanted to talk to the friend that was right beside me. I asked her what was wrong? She asked me several times to let her speak to someone else and I told her no, she had to tell me what was going on. The next few sentences changed my life. She said, “it’s your dad. He shot himself.” I asked her if he was ok and she said, “No baby, he’s not.” I remember screaming and crying. I remember getting in the car to go home and talking to my mom on the phone all the way home. I remember the empty and sick feeling I had. I thought I was going to throw-up. I couldn’t breathe. I thought I might die because of the pain and shock my body was going through.

The rest of the night and following days were a blur. I remember sitting at the funeral home with my sister, aunts and uncles to make arrangements. I remember saying that I wanted to see my dad and everyone trying to talk me out of it. My sister stood up for me and told everyone to let me, it was something that I had to do. I was going to do it regardless.

The night of visitation I got to go back to a room and see my dad for the last time. Other than a bruise on his cheek, he looked like he was sleeping peacefully. The funeral director wouldn’t let me stay long with him. So every time I got the chance I would sneak out of the visitation room and go back to the room where my dad was. I got caught more than once being in the room with him. I spent that time talking to him, asking him questions that he was never going to answer, and stoking his hair. I didn’t know how to say good bye when I didn’t understand anything.

I don’t know if my dad couldn’t take the loss of his mother, she died just a few week before, or if he couldn’t deal with his dad being terminal with cancer. Maybe he was just tired and fed up with this world. I still ask why weren’t my sister and I enough? Why didn’t he love us more? Did he even think about us prior to his decision? Did he think that we would be better off without him? I wonder what lies the devil was whispering in his ear. I wonder what demons he was fighting. I wonder if he had been planning this all along or if it was a quick, snap decision that he made.

I think about everything that he has missed. He wasn’t there when I got married. He has four amazing grandsons who would have adored him and he has a great granddaughter who just turned a year old. He has missed Christmas’ and Thanksgivings. He has missed graduations and birthdays. He has missed those just because days that are filled with laughter.

I think about the impact that it had on me and my self-worth. There was a period of time when I felt that if my own father didn’t love me, how could anyone else love me. I felt that I wasn’t worthy of love. I felt like I was the problem and that I was bad for people. I felt like a failure. I cut myself off from others. I didn’t want to ever get close to anyone or love anyone because it just led to pain. And for years I didn’t let anyone in. I closed myself off from feeling to deeply for anyone, other than the people that were already in my circle. Sadly, I didn’t realize what a injustice I was doing to myself.

I now realize that whatever it was, my dad had some reason for doing what he did. It breaks my heart that he felt that was the only way out, but I have excepted it. I realize that we were enough and that the battle he was fighting won. I realize that it wasn’t us, but the lies of the demons he was battling. I know that he loved us and I believe that he knew we loved him too.

Self-esteem

I think that all of us struggle with our self-esteem and self-worth. As women we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others and talking negative to ourselves that we lose sight of who we really are.

So I decided to make a list of ways to improve your self-esteem and self-worth.

Hero Pose

This is one of my favorites! The first time I saw anyone do this, was Amelia on Grey’s Anatomy. She was about to go into a very difficult surgery and she did it to boost your confidence. Now I will do this pose when I need a boost. I also have encouraged my son to do it when he needs a confidence boost. It’s empowering.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/strike-a-pose-the-super-hero-pose-for-greater-power_b_59a05026e4b0cb7715bfd507

Stop the negative self talk

Before you say it to yourself, think, would you say it to your best friend or spouse? It is really true? We have got to stop talking down to ourselves. Let’s face it, we talk to ourselves more than anyone else does. We have to tell ourselves the truth of our worth and value. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/self-esteem/art-20045374

Control What You Can

Wow! This is a big one for me. I want to be in control and I hate being out of control. So controlling what I can and letting go of what I can’t control is still a work in progress for me. Here’s an example, my sister and I decided to get matching tattoos for the 25th anniversary of our father’s death. We are half sisters, so we don’t have that same mother. I was afraid to tell my mom I was getting the tattoo because of how she feels about tattoos and my dad. So when I told her, I told her why we were going to get them, the meaning behind them, and why I felt that it was something that we should do. That was all I could control. I couldn’t control her response and I wasn’t going to argue with her. I also wasn’t going to let anything she said change my mind. Knowing what I could control helped me with the conversation and the end result. https://au.reachout.com/articles/how-acceptance-can-help-you-cope-with-things-out-of-your-control

Celebrate the Small Things

Give yourself a pat on the back for the small things that you do or accomplish! Tell yourself “good job” or “way to go” when you get something done. You can even dance to celebrate it! Ya’ll I do this when I clean house! I tell myself what a good job I did and how great the place looks. All the while I’m dancing around. I may look crazy, but it makes me feel good about myself. http://www.femestella.com/10-little-ways-to-boost-your-confidence/

Do What Makes You Happy

Stop trying to please everyone else around you and do what makes you happy. Trying to please others is exhausting. Half the time you can’t please them anyway. Be yourself and do what makes you happy. People that love you and want the best for you will be happy for you. When I started doing what made me happy, life got better. I was able to be myself. And that was a gift in and of itself. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tame-your-terrible-office-tyrant/201811/can-happiness-lead-confidence

Repeat Positives

If you can tell yourself negative things and believe them, then you can tell yourself positive things until your believe them. Yes, I know, this is easier said than done. Look in the mirror, or not, if you aren’t there yet, and tell yourself positive things. I am a good mother. I’m a fantastic friend. I deserve this job, promotion, etc. Every time a negative thought enters your mind, try to think of two positives. This is not an easy one for me. I have talked negative to myself for my whole life and that habit is hard to break. But I still try. And after a while you will start to believe the positive things that you are saying, even if you didn’t in the beginning. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/50-self-esteem-affirmations-repeat-them-daily-to-build-self-worth/

Things to help you relax

Things to help you relax

I can be uptight.  I get weighed down by my own thoughts and responsibilities.  I need things to help me relax.  So I decided to share a few things that work for me. Enjoy!

Breathing

Sounds simple, right?  I take deep breaths with my eyes closed and release it slowly.  I also listen to my breathing as I do this exercise.  And I do this for as long as it takes for me to feel relaxed. 

https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/breathe-in-and-breathe-out-the-calming-effects-of-deep-breathing

Soaking in a warm bath or taking a long shower

Water relaxes me.  I don’t have to be in the water, I can just see it. One of the things that I do is soak in a warm bath, with bubbles or bath salts and the lights off.  (I have a night light I will turn on if I need to).  Usually when I’m in the bath everyone else leaves me alone.  If I need to relax and my shoulders and neck are holding all of the tension I will take a long shower.  I will just stand under the water and let it flow over me.  I will stay in until the water gets cold or I feel like I’m relaxed.

  https://www.verywellmind.com/relieve-stress-with-a-bath-meditation-3144781

Yoga

I know that yoga may not be for everyone, but everyone should at least give it a try.  Yoga relaxes me.  I focus on breathing and listening to my body.  The movements are slow and the music is relaxing. (added bonus).  It also allows me to see what my body can do. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression

Listen to soothing music

The key here, for me, is the soothing part.  I need music that is calming.  I also listen to different CD’s that are natural sounds.  My favorite one right now is thunderstorms.  I even go to sleep at night listening to it.

Write or keep a journal

I love to read and write so this one is a no brainer for me.  I will write poems, write my feelings, and even letters that I will never mail. These letters have been to people I have lost and to people that have hurt me. Sometimes I write and then shred it up. But getting whatever is eating at me out, helps, and I feel better afterwards. https://www.verywellmind.com/journaling-a-great-tool-for-coping-with-anxiety-3144672

Take a walk

When I need to relax sometimes I go for a walk.  I clear my head.  I listen to the sounds around me. I even run sometimes.  Sometimes it relaxes me and sometimes it just wears me out. Either way, my mind and body are in a different place than when I started.   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/well/move/an-awe-walk-might-do-wonders-for-your-well-being.html

Get a massage

I love to get a massage!  Oh my goodness, an hour with someone working on my muscles and getting the tension out of them relaxes me to the point I could fall asleep.   https://sageblossommassage.com/5-ways-massage-makes-you-feel-better/

Sing out loud and dance like nobody’s watching

I will turn on my favorite song(s) and sing as loud as I can.  I dance around and hope no one is watching, but if they are, they can join in.  Usually these are upbeat songs and they help me relax and refocus.  Plus I laugh at myself and laughter is the best medicine.

Laugh

Hey I just said that laughter was the best medicine. Did you think it wouldn’t make the list?  Find something to laugh about or laugh at yourself.  Even if you fake it in the beginning.   https://experiencelife.lifetime.life/article/8-ways-to-laugh-more/

Play with your pet

Oftentimes my dog can sense when I need her.  She will jump up in my lap and give me kisses while I pet her.  Petting her and the warmth of her body next to mine relaxes me for some reason.  Maybe it’s because she loves me and doesn’t want anything else from me but love. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm

Scream

Sometimes I just have to scream!  I hold so much in or over think so many things sometimes screaming helps.  I guess it takes the energy that I put into over thinking and puts it into the scream.  Afterwards, I feel better.

I am sure that there are many other ways that I relax, but these are my top few.  I hope that they help you.

Pain Ends

Pain Ends

By Katy A. Brown More By Katy A. Brown

Breathe in the fresh air,
Put your mind at ease.
Let down your hair,
Let it flow in the breeze.

Let your eyes wander
To all the beauty to be seen.
If those toxic thoughts you still do ponder,
Then let out a scream.

Scream until the pain is gone,
Until you no longer feel afraid.
Open your eyes to a new dawn,
Let the darkness fade.

No longer compare yourself
Or your flaws to others’ perfections.
Take the negativity off the shelf.
Focus on your direction.

Pick the sadness up off the floor,
Sweep it into the wind.
Close the door on self-hatred.
Never let it back in.

For the lies it would often tell you,
You will no longer agree.
Happiness and love are what you should hold onto.
They are whom you should give the key.

Pay no attention to the toxic thoughts,
Listen to those who adore everything you are.
Overthinking was what you once were taught,
But now those thoughts you put in a jar.

Focus on your goals,
Never lose your fight.
It’s time to open new scrolls.
Everything will be all right.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com

Doctors that we need!

Here is a list of the 7 doctors that we need in our lives.

I love this list! it was posted on sun-gazing.com I gave this list a good bit of thought before I added it to the blog. I realized that all seven of these things make me feel so much better. They help with depression, anxiety, weight, and my overall being. http://www.facebook.com/sungazing

Think about it, don’t you feel better, happier, and less stressed when you are out in the fresh air and sunshine? I enjoy walking, so I get the exercise, sunshine, and fresh air all at once.

I read a book years ago, Eat Right For Your Blood Type, https://dadamo.com/. When I follow the diet that is right for my blood type, I feel amazing! It’s crazy, but there is a difference. I have more energy and feel less sluggish.

We have heard all of our lives that laughter is the best medicine. And it is!! So laugh today. Get outside in the sun and breath in the fresh air. Walk your dog. Drink some water. Eat how you know that you should and get the rest that you need.

Have a wonderful day!