For a long time it seemed as though this storm of remembering came suddenly and out of nowhere, and in a way that really is the case. Though it seemed that life was going well in several areas, looking back I now have a better understanding of just how much this has impacted me all along, without me realizing it at the time.
I’m going to be documenting my story from when I perceive the “storm” to have hit, that is when my life took a sudden detour into the unknown of flashbacks, memories, C-PTSD, and the discovery of dissociative identity disorder. Before doing that, I want to start by sharing how now, after learning so much about these conditions, I can see how it was affecting me even before the memories came back. (I will discuss the controversy of recovered memories and how that fits in with DID in another post).
Even though I didn’t acknowledge,accept, or address my childhood trauma until 2017, I can see the evidence of it bubbling up to the surface before that. In 2013, I found out I was expecting baby number 3. This was a very exciting time for our family, but this was the first time in my life I ever experienced a panic attack. Now, I’ve had anxiety before but a panic attack is much more intense than general anxiety, though neither are particularly enjoyable.
It was during this pregnancy, that I would out of absolutely nowhere, feel as though something was terribly wrong. It only happened a couple of times, but I would rush to the Dr’s and ask for a non-stress test on my baby because I was just sure something was wrong. Something felt wrong. Something was wrong, but it wasn’t with my baby. I fought very hard to deliver my baby via vba2c (vaginal birth after two cesareans). While my labor was going beautifully, something changed when I hit transition. Transition in labor is described as when a mother is going from 7-10 cm dilated, and is about to get ready to push. Any momma whose gone through natural labor can tell you this is extremely intense and typically the part of labor where a woman just wants give up.
It was during this time that my peaceful demeanor quickly vanished, and I was left feeling terrified. Panic and adrenaline surged through my body, and didn’t leave for months after. I had no idea what was happening to me, only that I felt this awful sense of foreboding as though something terrible was going to happen, specifically to me, physically. When I hit transition, it unlocked a hidden beast. As soon as I no longer felt in control of what was physically happening to my body, it triggered an extreme state of fear. I think what made it worse, is that I didn’t recognize it for it was, I had no idea it was connected to something that had already happened to me, and it was a terrifying feeling.
Though this eventually faded to the background, I would still experience odd and unsettling things in the next few years. Feeling dizzy out of nowhere, suddenly feeling very alone and depressed (which I would later find out was actually something they call “switching” in DID), a compulsion to turn to food for comfort, and a deep sense of shame in who I was. I couldn’t pinpoint it at the time, but the evidence was there all along. I won’t even begin to dive into my teen years right now, but that’s a telling story as well.
Not so coincidentally, these are also the years I really started to grow in my faith. Though I had grown up believing in Jesus, I had no idea what it was like to have a personal relationship with Him until my mid 20’s. Looking back, I can see how it was His grace and mercy that my memories and healing didn’t come before it did. I needed that firm foundation before I would be able to withstand the storm, and so it was during these years that I grew in the Lord and thought that I had an unshakable faith, but all that was about to be tested.