Memories of yesterday

Yesterday was an interesting day. My middle daughter and I were invited to speak to a group of young student doctors. Fresh faced, open and with such a beautiful energy. They still have their training wheels on. And it is such a privilege to be able to speak with them, an opportunity to help them to see the real people behind the diagnoses, behind the labels.

I had my ‘mother hat’ on as my daughter spoke about her condition. I was so proud of the way she tackles things. That she understands that the way she sees the world helps her to rise above and overcome any additional challenges she may have. And she is so different from a great many other children who have the same condition.

The doctors asked different questions, some directed at me, some for my daughter. And as they did, I experienced myself being taken back to those days of her early childhood. Because the questions sparked memories. And the memories brought back the emotions.

The terrors, the uncertainty, the fear.

In those early days I didn’t know if I’d lose my child. And I dissociated just remembering. I couldn’t remember the question the doctors asked because the emotions carried me away. Professionally I knew exactly what was happening. But I couldn’t stop it. Because under each ‘professional’ there’s always a human being with all our human ways. Even so, I must confess I felt a little silly. But it’s just what happens.

They call it peri-traumatic dissociation. There’s a name for what happens when you fog out, cloud over, withdraw psychologically when you’re confronted with the overwhelming. Maybe it’s being involved in an accident, maybe it’s a violent crime, maybe it’s just being witness to something so horrifying that your conscious mind shuts down. And we space out for a time.

Sometimes a long time.

That’s what can happen with the shock of diagnosis too.

Yesterday I was reminded of those difficult days. Emotionally reminded. And afterwards I was so very tired. Because emotions are like that. They can tire us.

I have so much gratitude that these days I am in a different space now. That while once I was so traumatised that I found it difficult to function, now I have moved through those feelings. And while I can remember them, and they may still have an impact, it is just a transitory thing. Because the spell is broken and I have moved on. And today is a brand new day…

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