The sun will come out tomorrow

Four years ago I wrote this blog post about eleven years prior. Tonight everyone in my house has a cold, except me. Tomorrow, well, tomorrow is the fifteen year anniversary of the flashpoint that initiated  the most most traumatic experiences of my adult life.

I started a new job in October. Every morning I drive by the clinic where the events of December 30, 2002 unfolded, and I see the tree that I clung to while the sun was setting. Every night I drive back the same way, but I don’t see the clinic or the tree in the dark from the opposite side of the road, approaching from a different direction.

Fifteen years later, I’m approaching everything from different direction. In hindsight and with five long years of intense therapies and reading everything (especially clinical research) I could about dissociative disorder and PTSD, I see clearly now that what I called grief in my first book was really severe trauma. I reread my own book last weekend, which is not a thing I do – reread my own writing. Still, I did read it, and I highlighted in green all the obvious instances where I was clearly traumatized. There’s a lot of green in that book.

In the first chapter I wrote about an act of dissociation that was so “textbook” I could have submitted it to an actual text book  – but when it happened in 2006, and when I wrote about it in 2010, and even when I read that chapter aloud in book stores in 2012 . . . I had no idea what dissociation was. I had no idea how genuinely damaged I was, but what was worse is that I had no idea I could get better.

I’ve spent the last five-plus years since my book was published learning and unlearning. The saddest part was how much of my life and myself I lost to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The worst part is that I validated living in trauma because I didn’t know any other way to live. I regret that. Living in trauma is only valid until you know another way. The good part is I found a way out. I found a way through my PTSD. It was long, and complicated, and painful as fuck (Moira knows what af means, and so I’m throwing that one in for her). I found a way out, and I’m not all the way there yet, but I see the light. I know that I don’t have to live in the fear I described in my first book, only through it, and I did that. I’ve come so far; we all have.

I don’t like to write “about” Liam any more because he’s almost fifteen and has a big honking life that is not mine to narrate, but I will say that my success with PTSD therapies is bringing benefits for him too. I share that because I know it will give parents like me who still read my scarcer and scarcer blog posts great hope to know it.

I am still writing. I’ve written articles for the New York Times Motherlode, Dame, and recently Self magazine after Jimmy Kimmel’s son William shared the same surgeon as my William. I’ve written several full length books since Heart Warriors, but I’ve not had the heart or the time to push them through to publication. It’s a tedious process to get a book published, and I’ve been preoccupied with working on my own wellbeing.

I will say, it is humbling to see your own mistakes laid out in front of you on a printed page, but it is also inspiring because I now can see how much I’ve changed and grown. I recognize in my mistakes the capacity of the human heart to evolve and heal over time. The greatest strength a human can possess is the vulnerability to admit we are wrong so we can adapt and move forward.

Had this forty-three year old woman sitting here tonight encountered that twenty-eight year old girl who excitedly entered into a OB/GYN clinic fifteen years ago tomorrow and came out a broken shell of herself, I wouldn’t say a word to her. I would just hold her like Jim held me in the parking lot and tell her the truth, “We’ll get through this,” and we did.

If you would like to read the chapter about December 30, 2002, I’ve posted it here for you. 

 

3 Comments »

  1. Wow! Great article. We think of you often and wonder about Liam.

    On Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 9:23 PM, Amanda Rose Adams wrote:

    > Amanda Rose Adams posted: “Four years ago I wrote this blog post about > eleven years prior. Tonight everyone in my house has a cold, except me. > Tomorrow, well, tomorrow is the fifteen year anniversary of the flashpoint > that initiated the most most traumatic experiences of my adult ” >

  2. Thank you Amanda. You seem to post exactly what I need at the right time for me to get it. You gave me my first glimmer of hope 4 1/2 years ago and you continue to give me hope today.

  3. I knew what you were enduring was PTSD, in fact I see in almost all CHD parents … which is why so many of us grow and feel so guilty. Whether it was us butting heads over Shawn White, or me trying to explain to you that one day Liam wouldn’t be so into this CHD stuff, as you told me he would always want to advocate … I knew you were suffering. Most people dive into the world of CHD online trying to not drown in their own lives, I know it’s why I joined as an adult and it took me years to admit I was looking for a therapist instead of a friend. I’m glad you’ve sought out help. After my heart and liver transplant, I had to as well. It’s helping to realize that it’s okay to endure this and not be okay. That is something my therapist reminds me of often, that it’s okay to just not be okay. If we are 1% of the population (1 in 100) than that means 99% of the world will never experience what we have, so diving into a world where we believe everyone will be like us is what seems to be the most rational thing to help us. It’s not. It brings about undue fears, honestly I have my transplant friends but now I advocate for those who haven’t endured a transplant to donate their organs and support those needing them. I was reading over you comment from years ago, and decided to go to your FB page (sent you a request due to my PTSD I did step back for a while) and saw you had posted this! You are missed but I am glad you are taking care of you. I hope Liam is kicking ass and taking names in the game of life and only good and fun things are in his future. I now review blog and also talk about life post-transplant.

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