Thursday, February 23

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I'll be the first to admit that I'm the last to admit I need help. Maybe it's an only child thing, a trait inherited from two strong willed parents or just who I am. Whatever it is, I am fully aware without the ability to overcome.

This was never so painfully obvious as it was in the first year after Bryce was born.  In the beginning, I could hardly put together a coherent thought let alone ask for help.  And as I learned to cope by bottling my fear and emotions, pulling away from close connections and trying to control every possible situation my PTSD raged out of control.

My OB prescribed Zoloft and though I despise daily dose drugs, avoid plastics and generally hug a lot of trees, I took it without question.  For awhile anyway, but that's another story.  It helped me shift out of overdrive and find a bit of balance in my upside down world.

But as we brought Bryce home and transitioned into the solitary confinement of bringing home a micro-preemie during flu and RSV season, we faced new and different challenges.  Now all of the people that I'd been forced to let into my life and heart - the nurses, respiratory techs, clinical techs and neonatologists at Dell - were suddenly and completely gone.

Over time therapists and other service providers have come into our lives, we reconnected with old friends and found ways to stay in touch with our dear Dell friends but some of the most valuable people in my life, some of my most valauble resources for raising a medically fragile child and coping with the stresses that come with that tough job are my fellow Hand to Hold moms.

My Hand to Hold mentor proves to me everyday that we can get through and find a way to keep coping.  The quarterly discussion series have taught me that I don't have to be nice all of the time (for instance, to gawkers in line at the grocery store) and where the best therapists in town are, and the Preemie Mom monthly dinner gives me a night to look forward to every month.  We've done play groups and have plans for more, we've become friends and connected beyond our initial shared experiences. And Kelli Kelley, Hand to Hold's founder, is a friend, mentor and one of my most admired people.

No one of these things alone would have gotten me to where I am today - which is a far cry from where I was a year or two years ago.  So, thank you Hand to Hold for coming into my life and giving me so many things (& people) to be grateful for.  PTSD isn't something that just goes away but with the right resources you can get better.

{The following video, which shows here Bryce's NICU-mate Luke and his awe inspiring momma Kathryn, was produced for Hand to Hold by DadLabs with the support of St. David's Foundation and just so happens to feature yours truly at about 8 minutes in...I hope you enjoy!}



  1. You were great on the video! I can definitely relate. Just seeing the pics of the micro-preemies in the video brought me to tears. I finally saw a counselor, but I'm like you in that it is really hard to admit you have a "problem" when you define yourself as a strong, successful woman. Looking forward to our next get-together and let's do a playdate soon!

  2. Who is that crazy lady with 5 kids?! Oh, Katrina, my life is so much richer for knowing you and your family. Even though Dell was the third ring of hell, you were an angel in the hallway that day. You articulated the stress of PTSD so well on the video. Thanks for sharing!


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