PTSD and Depression

I didn’t want to write this post nor did I want to share the contents of my heart so publically. For a long time I knew that I needed to write this post, but I deleted it many times before finding the courage to finish and post it. I am not writing this for sympathy, nor do I want sympathy.

It’s been nearly two years since PC’s heart stopped.

Quick review, my husband’s heart stopped one morning about 3AM due to Brugada Syndrome (it causes an irregular heartbeat that stops the heart, previously called sudden death syndrome).  Mercifully, God had different plans and PC’s death wasn’t permanent. I was able to do CPR until the paramedics came and shocked his heart back into rhythm. As a result he has an internal defibrillator.

Two big results of this traumatic experience are that I struggle with PTSD and Depression.

My PTSD caused nightmares at first where I would wake up screaming. I haven’t had any nightmares for a while now.  If I hear any disturbance in PC’s sleep it causes me to wake up and sometimes I have flashbacks; though they are growing less frequent.  Certain smells or images will also cause flashbacks.  It makes it very difficult emotionally for me to leave PC overnight for any reason. I have panic attacks. I can’t think about this difficult time without an emotional response.

Early 2009, I started to sink into a deep depression. I stopped many of the activities I enjoy like writing, reading and taking pictures.  I withdrew emotionally from my friends.  I quit “fighting.”  I no longer felt the need to defend myself or defend issues that were important to me.  I felt so hollow and empty inside.  I prayed and read the Bible but felt disconnected and lonely.  In retrospect, I wish I had the courage to talk to my friends about how I felt.

My co-workers noticed the change in my mood. I didn’t realize how much my mood reflected my soul until now when they comment that they’re glad to have the old Anna back. 

I assume that PC’s heart stopping and the PTSD caused my depression. I was prone to occasional down moods but never had such a long dark period in my life.

It took me a while to realize that something was wrong with my mood.  When I finally realized that I wasn’t doing the things I enjoyed and that I wasn’t happy or excited about things anymore, I knew I needed to do something. I did pray whenever I felt my dark moods coming. I prayed for rescue and deliverance. I forced myself to do the things I used to enjoy, even if I didn’t find enjoyment in them at that moment.  I talked to my husband about my depression.  My mood started to lift and I started to enjoy life again.  I still had dark moods, but they were becoming less frequent.

In December we found out that we are pregnant.

I am aware that after the baby is born that I could relapse or suffer from postpartum depression. I now recognize the warning signs to let me know something is not right. If I find that I’m slipping I know that I need to force myself to do the things I love even when I don’t feel like it, to exercise, and to talk to my friends who can walk beside me and hold me up when I need help. I pray the dark moods stay away, but if they come, I am better equipped to combat them.

I am not a professional and none of the advice is professional advice.  If you are struggling with depression or PTSD, especially if you are having suicidal thoughts, it is important to find help as soon as possible. I do not recommend trying to fight it on your own, like I tried to. Don’t let depression steal your light.


2 responses to “PTSD and Depression

  1. Oh Anna,

    I knew a little about the PTSD, but I don’t think I fully recognized the depression. I may have been a little too self absorb to do so. It’s so funny how after the fact or once we see a brighter light we’re able to talk about it. You are loved and I hope you know I’m willing to do anything for you. I’m happy you were able to go to LA with me, I hope it wasn’t too stressful to be away from PC.
    Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do.

    • I didn’t share. I know that wasn’t the right choice now, but then I didn’t want to bother anyone. It’s a vicious cycle.

      It was easier being away because it was only one night.

      I know that I’m not in control and that my anxiety isn’t necessary nor does it help anything. Convincing myself is the hard part.