PTSD is not just for Veterans

You always hear about in veterans. But did you know there are LOTS of others that suffer from PTSD???

PTSD Is Not Just for Veterans Grief Child Loss Hypervigilance

I have PTSD.

One of my most prominent symptoms is hypervigilance. Do you know what hypervigilance is? If not the medical definition is “Preoccupation with possible unknown threats, constantly watching and scanning surroundings. A persistent sense of insecurity”

What could be more extreme for parents than the death of their child? This is the greatest nightmare of any parent.

I have lived that nightmare.

And yes I was actually diagnosed with PTSD in 2005 after my son’s death when I was seeing a psychologist for my panic attacks, grief and these issues. You do NOT have to be a war vet for this to happen to you (go ahead Google it – you know your going to anyway).

For me, as a mother who lost a child, my hypervigilance is an intense stressor. This means even though my other son is almost 7 years old I still get up and just make sure he is breathing at night. It means the thoughts of being away from him for longer than a school day are horrifying – heck even him being at school I worry if he is safe or not. It means I don’t let anyone babysit him because all I do when I am away is worry – the only people I trust with him are his father and his sister – he went to his grandmother’s for 2 nights last summer and it was the longest 2 days ever and we picked him up a day earlier than planned. It means that when his father recently mentioned taking him on the Super Duper Looper at Hershey Park next week all my mind can think of is he will fall out and be injured or killed because he is only 6 and that’s too big of a ride for him.

For me it’s a very real and scary feeling to possibly lose another of my children. It’s not something you can just “get over” by any means and it’s not something you can control to have these intense feelings. It’s something I hope that none of my friends ever have to experience. I would rather they NEVER know this feeling than to be able to relate to what I go through. And yes I recently had a ‘friend” tell me to get over it and go to therapy. Does this woman really thing if it were that easy I would not have already been ‘cured” – this is not something you just get rid of, medicate away or get over. This is ingrained in you after a traumatic event.

For those of you who know me (or someone like me) get used to it. We cannot change this way of thinking. You can help by understanding and supporting our decisions that you don’t agree with – it makes us feel safe. You wont understand it so don’t try, don’t ask us to do things differently. Just let us feel safe even if to you its “irrational” to feel and act this way and be over protective. THIS is how we function and cope with our new found way of living life.


  1. Kristi P says

    Suzie…there is a form of treatment for PTSD called EMDR. You would want to seek out a mental health therapist who’s trained and certified in this type of treatment, but you should google video testimonies from people that have received great relief because of it. I have also lost a child and suffer from PTSD. Blessings!

  2. Robyn R says

    Very big hug to you Suzie. You are very brave, and you are also very brave to share your story and feelings so honestly. My heart really goes out to you. I wish you much love and light in your journey of healing from PTSD.

    • says

      Thank you so much Robyn. I have learned how to cope with those moments (for the most part) or things like him riding the roller coaster I sit and just try to breathe until its over!

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