Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Special Needs Parent

I’m a huge believer that many special needs parents suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  My beliefs are backed up by both my therapist AND my GP.  (Did I just admit to working with a therapist?  What can I say?  There are somethings a girl can’t work through on her own.)  Yup, PTSD isn’t just diagnosed in soldiers anymore.  There’s more than one type of battlefield, and medically fragile kids with special needs come with their own variety.

This battlefield is comprised of parents fighting for their children’s lives.

It’s frustrating to look at my former self and think of all the balls I was able to juggle with such ease.  When something new popped up I simply added it to the shuffle and on I forged.  Martha Stewart had nothin’ on me…except maybe the jail time.

Then came Parker.

You’d think,  being as seasoned of a veteran as I am with this medically fragile stuff, that things could only be getting easier.

Alas, you’d be thinking wrong.

Instead I find myself in the midst of great anxiety each time something new occurs in my carefully laid plans.   This might not seem important at first glance, except I’ve always been one greatly skilled at shooting from the hip.  An emergency zig has never thrown me for a loop.

Except for now.

And Christmas is becoming one of those zigs that is causing some extreme apprehension.

  • Will I be able to pull it off?
  • Will there be money for gifts? Even an extremely modest Christmas takes some money.
  • What happens if I spend money on this gift and Parker has unexpected out of pocket costs, like say a recent week long hospital stay?  THEN what will I do?
  • When is Parker’s Cardiologist going to start pushing for another right heart cath?
  • Did Parker blow his Nissen when he had that major aspiration incident?
  • Maybe I should get a job so I can help out with the never ending bills around here.  Oh wait.  I can’t even leave the house most days.  How am I going to WORK?
  • OMG, is this state really crazy enough to elect Carl Wimmer to Congress?

It’s not just big events that throw me for a loop though.  It can be any change of plan.  Anything I wasn’t expecting or had on the schedule.  Even the most mundane of surprises can goes me to go into overwhelmed mode.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those who looks good covered in overwhelmed. It tends to bring out shades of b*tchiness, discontent, and apprehension that aren’t in the least bit flattering.

It can also make a person worry if they are truly beginning to crack up.  And the forgetfulness?  To the point of believing that I’m coming down with a raging case of early Alzheimer’s so intense that my poor GP sent me in for an MRI just to reassure me that my brain was still in place and in fact hadn’t leaked out my ears.

So, while it’s nice to know there’s a name to what I’m dealing with, PTSD, it would be even nicer to know that there are others out there who are experiencing the same kind of feelings.

And what you are doing to work through them.  Because, seriously, there’s a lot of life out there to be lived and I’d like to be a part of it again.


PS:  All images compliments of Google Images.







  1. Petra Dec 7, 11
    • Tammy and Parker Dec 7, 11
  2. maggie Dec 7, 11
    • maggie Dec 7, 11
      • Tammy and Parker Dec 7, 11
  3. Sun Lasko Dec 7, 11
  4. Monica Dec 7, 11
  5. Lacey Dec 7, 11
  6. Lisa Bailey Dec 7, 11
  7. Candice Dec 7, 11
  8. Chris Dec 7, 11
  9. Regina Dec 7, 11
  10. Edd Fear Dec 8, 11
  11. Rebekah Dec 8, 11
  12. Tiffany Dec 9, 11
  13. Renee Garcia Dec 9, 11
  14. Sue Searles Dec 15, 11
  15. Noah's Dad Dec 26, 11
  16. Yena Feb 15, 12
  17. RM Aug 9, 14
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