Parent Support

PTSD affects more than just war veterans

So I would say my kids have done well overall these last few months with all the restrictions that have been placed on our society.

So last week when I started to notice that one of them was being distant, disrespectful, and really obnoxious it made me wonder what was going on. I asked him what was up and if I did something to cause this behavior change I would like to know about it, so I can address it.

After much huffing and eye rolling he said I was annoying because I said the same things to him every day. “You constantly tell me to put my bowl in the dishwasher, pick up my glasses, and put the milk back in the refrigerator, I eventually do it.” My retort to that was, “yes you do, but putting a breakfast bowl in the dishwasher after dinner just doesn’t do it for me, and if the milk stays on the counter for seven hours it will spoil.”

I didn’t believe his reason and I honestly wanted to knock his obnoxious, ear pierced head right off his body. Instead I went outside to mull it over and cool off. The mulling turned into the beginning of a panic attack as I managed to take nothing more than him showing irritation for me and I turned it into a full blown flashback to our old life and all the things that I experienced and how I couldn’t possibly go through that again, etc. etc.

I convinced myself that he had fallen in with a questionable crowd, despite the fact he has never failed to communicate where he has been. I was certain that he was smoking pot and probably even growing it, or figuring out how to start a dispensary business, with absolutely zero clues or evidence. The more I got worked up the more it oozed out of my system, and despite me thinking I was containing it, I knew that wasn’t the case.

Drug testing has been a part of our life since he has been home from treatment. Most recently in an effort to be empathetic to the fact he finds it insulting and demoralizing, I offered to put $50 toward the money he is saving to buy a car each time the test is negative. If the test comes up positive, no cash, and no driving for a month, until the next test. I felt this was fair to reward him for something that isn’t easy for him and many other teenager these days.

My husband told me he would give him the test on Friday, so I spent the next few days living the life of the old me, the me I didn’t like and the me that didn’t serve me or anyone in my family well. I was paranoid and analyzed everything he did. I had a constant desire to know where he was and what he was doing, and while I didn’t verbalize it, I was exhausted from the thoughts running through my head. I felt horrible both mentally and physically because my mind was in the past.

PTSD is defined as a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. In my mind this was reserved for people who were really traumatized, like military personnel or someone who was assaulted. It took me a while to acknowledge that my terrifying event was watching my child self destruct, and almost two years later it is still very easy for me to be triggered by what some would call typical teenager behavior; being obnoxious and moody.

So on Friday my husband took him to our bathroom and gave him the test. A few minutes later, I heard this laughter coming from my bedroom. My husband walked out first and my son yelled from behind him with a huge sh*t eating grin. “Show me the money”. My husband and I looked at each other and then at the test, burst out laughing and said, “Well I guess we were wrong, he is just a regular teenage a**hole.”

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