Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) isn’t something that is only for those who have been fighting wars. It’s not something that is related to age or something like that. It can happen to anyone. It happened to my son. This is about that moment when you realise that your child isn’t “normal” and it’s caused by factors beyond your reach.
My son was diagnosed by a psychiatrist. The conclusion did not really land for a couple of days. Yes, I knew that there were things going on. My son changed in 2014. He became this child who did not want to go to school anymore. There were numerous times that I had to drag him to school. I offered to reward him with presents if he would go. I know this isn’t the right way to go. I know this now, based on the diagnose PTSD.
In 2014 it became clear that our son was going through a difficult time in his young life. He was six years old and it felt like you were talking to someone who was much older. He was also diagnosed as highly gifted (IQ: 149). My father in law died that year and this had a great impact on his life. He was the only grandson. All the other grandchildren were and are girls. Not that he was treated special or different, but he was the only boy. He loved his grandfather (Dutch: opa).
The passing of his grandfather wasn’t the only trigger to cause the PTSD. There was one more thing that “sparkled” all of this. At his first school, he was intensely bullied. This wasn’t just limited to his classmates. Children of different groups were bullying him, even causing injuries. He fought back but finally decided to give in. I remember those dreadful moments when he said to me, he wanted to die. Just like his grandfather. This isn’t normal for a child of his age!
We decided to seek help. The long process began. First the general practitioner, then other experts. Some of them were brought in with the help of his first school. They decided to blame my son for all that happened. Even with the reports of the experts, they still didn’t feel that there was a need for change. He should just change, not the others who bullied him.
We decided to transfer him to another school. This was a Waldorf school (Waldorfschule) or as we say in The Netherlands: Vrijeschool. It was such a relief to finally meet parents who thought like us. People who showed genuine interest. This was priceless. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Our son was traumatized and again had to change school. He was now sent to a special needs school (2016).
They say when someone in the family becomes ill and is diagnosed with cancer, everyone in the family is affected by this. When someone is diagnosed with PTSD, everyone is also affected. PTSD isn’t something that is cured with just one therapy. My son went through several stages of therapy, including EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). He fought his demons and was finally able to say that he didn’t like the bullying at his first school. This might seem like a small step, but it was an enormous step.
Now it’s 2018. Our son has made several of these enormous steps. He isn’t there yet, that’s for sure. But he will get there. He has shown willpower that is hard to describe. No, I am not writing this down because I am his father. I see what he can do and can relate all of this. I see a young child, a boy who is capable of remarkable things. Things that I am more than proud of!
It’s one day off, one day on… That’s basically it. That is what life looks like when your child has PTSD. No day is the same. Yes, this is not really related to PTSD, I know. Every child has issues and moments that they are going through some difficulties. With PTSD it’s always this plus one. Emotions are intensified. Even when they shouldn’t.
So, this is in general how it’s like when your child has PTSD. Well, this is how it’s like for our son.
This article appeared first on the website of De Goede Huisvader.