What is PTSD?

The ‘formal’ explanation

‘An anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as survivor guilt, reliving the trauma in dreams, numbness and lack of involvement with reality, or recurrent thoughts and images’.

What is PTSD in reality?

(and/or PTSD symptoms) …

PTSD or ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’ has affected us in the following ways;

Avoiding people, situations or activities that remind us of the trauma.

For example, most of the Mums in our group cannot go to the hospital where they gave birth, feel distressed seeing a pregnant woman, isolate themselves from friends and family. 

Experiencing flashbacks.

I had a flashback when having a routine filling at the dentist. The lights above my head reminded me of being in intensive care. Unbeknown to me I started biting down on the drill and my heart was racing. I genuinely believed that I was back on a ventilator in intensive care.

Lack of self confidence and self worth.

Most of us lack confidence in our outward appearance and our self esteem is low. This is in direct parallel to our careers where we have been confident and capable. Sometimes even going out to the shops becomes a task too difficult to undertake. 

Problems falling or staying asleep.

Most of us cannot remember the last time we slept well….and this isn’t down to having a young baby! It can take hours to get to sleep and when we do we often wake after a relatively short time.

Nightmares and bad dreams.

We have all experienced frightening dreams, at times really horrific. They either involve the trauma itself or the death/injury of those closest to us. This leaves us with an awful sense of anxiety for the rest of the day.

Constant feeling of ‘doom’.

We talk about how the slightest thing will worry and panic us. Driving to the shops will result in a terrible car accident. Hubbie being ten minutes late back from work means that he must have had an awful accident. Our babies crying mean that they must be seriously  ill. I remember when I first came home from hospital I was convinced that my daughter had a serious disabilty and even compared images on the Internet to her……there was nothing wrong with her.

Exaggerated startle response.

We jump at the slightest thing, feel on edge alot of the time, have extreme alertness to our environment. One of the Mums in group talked about seeing a man with a large bag in a shopping centre. She was convinced he must be carrying a bomb and was about to detonate it.

We are Mums / PTSD Sufferers; not Health Care Professionals…

Whilst we are not qualified Councillors or Health Care professionals, the above are largely what we recognise we’ve experienced as Mum’s, to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms.

As a result, one of our aim’s is to help others like us, whom are searching for help after Traumatic Birth.

Prior to our fortunate introduction to self-help from the UK NHS, we had many questions for Google, questions like:

  • ‘Do I have PTSD?’
    – we struggled to understand or even research what was wrong with us.
  • ‘How to deal with PTSD’
    – You’ll find that info out there is largely on Military based PTSD.

Self-Help with PTSD…

Another aim of ours: Spread the word on ‘Coping mechanisms’, things like…

  • Awareness of CBT for PTSD
  • EMDR therapy

Again, we are not Health Care professionals, but we are working towards qualified support to backup our website and hopefully our ‘soon to be’ organisation.


5 Responses to What is PTSD?

  1. 19 years ago this month I gave birth via emergency c-section to my son. What started out as the most wonderful time of my life ended up being my worst nightmare. I am so happy this site has been created and wish you all the very best in your endeavours to help other Mums deal with birth trauma ptsd. You have given me hope that one day I will understand why I can’t talk about what should have been the most wonderful time of my life. Regards, Ann

  2. I’m so happy this site has been set up
    because I realise Im not on my own and shouldn’t feel
    stupid or crazy. Still badly affected as even reading the symptoms almost
    sends me into that panicky state of mind, but I’ll get there. I’m determined for my Childrens sakes.

  3. So glad to see this site exists, i had a stillbirth in 2005 followed PTSDand a traumatic c-section in 2007, wish you every success

    • Thankyou Sian for the comment and apologies for the delayed response. So sorry to hear of your own traumatic experience and we hope that you are doing ok? Did you watch the Dispatches programme on Channel 4 on Monday with Amanda Holden? Whilst it was a very sad programme it was very insightful and may be of some help.

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