Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

by Jill Bender on May 7, 2012

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If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you know that Jonesie, my youngest, was attacked by a dog and bitten nearly three years ago. His physical wounds are healed and scarred, but it’s been the psychological ones that have stuck around.

Immediately, our lives changed. He wouldn’t go into our backyard because the people that live behind us have a dog. Just knowing that there is a dog on the other side of the fence terrified him. He has regular nightmares and wakes up screaming. He has learned to control his life just enough so that there are no surprises. He has gotten better with dogs and we have just learned to cope with what seemed to be his “new way of life”.

It was only when he refused to trick or treat in October of last year, an eight year old refusing to trick or treat, it was more clear than ever that his emotional scars were getting worse. We had him psychologically evaluated and he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and high anxiety. It was somewhat of a relief because it felt like if we had a diagnosis we could get treatment. But due to the lawsuit or some dumb legal crap we had to wait to begin therapy.

We finally started therapy this week with a session where he met the therapist and they talked over the goals and what-not. And we discussed the routes of therapy that he will be taking; play therapy and something called EMRD. Long story short is that EMRD is a technique that uses the left brain and right brain back and forth while talking about the incident to get it “unstuck”.

This week we started EMRD with headphones that play a tone back and forth. To get started we had to have him find a happy place while the tones are going. He has to visualize, to feel, to smell, and BE in that place. The theory is that when we get deeper into the issues and he starts to freak out that he can go to his happy place (and here I thought it was just a saying!). He thought for a minute and then said his happy place was when he was hugging me. And that there was one time in particular recently where he hugged me in my room. He recalled warmth, love, the color white of my bedspread, the color brown of my walls, and being next to the light switch.

Seriously, you guys, I cried. And I thought to myself “wow, my job here is done.” Like, as a mother, there are days where I just want to run as far and as fast as I can go because I think I’m just not cut out for this job. And for all of the bullshit that we’ve been through with this ordeal, in this very moment I know that every moment I have spent fighting for dear life even during the really shitty parts was the right thing.

And then I thought that maybe this is a job I’d like to hold onto forever. icon smile

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dee May 7, 2012 at

How sweet! I hope that the therapy helps! I love dogs – almost pathologically – so what he is going through sounds literally like what I would imagine hell to be like. We had 2 dog bit incidents in our region recently and it’s just so sad because it’s irresponsible owners who are at the root of it. Good luck! Keep on with those hugs!

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2 Jill May 9, 2012 at

It is going great. He did his first “real” session yesterday while I sat in the waiting room. I could tell he cried when I went back in. It’s heartbreaking, but I know this process will help. Thanks.

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3 Jeannette May 7, 2012 at

I am so sorry for your son but so glad he has you as his “advocate” in doing whatever it takes. It is cool(as in interesting) how he will be helped.
Keep up the great job you are doing as ‘mom”, Jill!

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4 Jackie May 7, 2012 at

You have done a great job with the boys and you should be so proud of them and yourself!

I know that I’ve said it before but I am so glad that everything is over and you guys can start working on getting things back to normal there!

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