For me it was many things. The blood. Feeling Dr. B’s hand and arm inside my body, massaging my uterus over and over again. Fear of closing my eyes. Vomiting on myself. Being nude in front of all those strangers. The surgery. Not holding Miss J. Demerol. Tranfusions. Uncertainty about life and death. The death of my grandmother.
Thinking about it all.
Everyone’s definition of trauma is different. When I started this blog and began my research on PTSD, I was shocked at how few resources there were, and most of them pertained to army veterans. I found that PTSD, especially when associated with mothers, often gets misdiagnosed or associated in the same category as PPD (Post Partum Depression). Although there have been many advances made in educating the public about both conditions, the reality is often PTSD and PPD have huge stigmas attached to them, causing many women to avoid discussing their feelings due to embarrassment or fear of being mislabeled and judged negatively.
Have you ever suffered a bad break-up or been bullied? Are you caring for a loved one with special needs or mental illness? Have you ever been abandoned or mistreated by your family or close friends? Have you ever been affected by a natural disaster or involved in a crash? Ever been divorced or widowed? Have you ever had a miscarriage, or tried to conceive many times without success? Have you or a loved one ever been diagnosed with a terminal illness? Have you ever been mentally, physically or sexually abused? Have you lost a loved one due to natural or unnatural causes? Have you ever witnessed or been the victim of a violent act?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have experienced trauma. I can answer yes to more than one of the above questions. I know some of you can too.
Trauma has many faces.
For Christine, her husband Michael and many parents like them, it was traumatizing to find out that their son Mikey was diagnosed with Autism. To come to the realization that Mikey would not have society’s definition of a “normal” life was devastating. Instead of deciding on things like public vs. private school and baseball vs. football, Christine and Michael were faced with deciding on what type of therapy Mikey needed. Would he ever be able to speak? Would he ever be independent? Will Mikey ever get married? There were so many questions about their future, and no clear answers. I thought it such a cruel irony for Christine. The woman who loves weddings and her brides so much, may never get to experience the joy of planning a wedding for her own child.
I laid on that table and I thought about Christine, Michael and Mikey. It was a welcome distraction from watching Dr. Richmond in the monitor. How many families like them were out there? How many women like me were out there fighting these battles alone?
What could I do?
I had been offered the chance to make a fool out of myself many times on TV and turned them all down. I wanted to tell stories about women who are survivors. If there was room for shows about pawn shops, men who fish with their bare hands, exterminators, bitchy brides and bad girls, surely there was room for one a show that would tell the stories of women and their families overcoming life’s challenges. I wanted to create a show that not only highlighted my talents in the beauty industry, but also took an inside look into how people face their trauma head on and how they find the strength to cope and move forward with their lives.
If given the opportunity to have my own platform, I wanted to use it for something good. The idea had been born with Miss J. I wanted to know more about women like myself. I wanted to find other women who had hit rock bottom, faced their trauma head on and were working hard to overcome it. Those are the stories I wanted to tell. Those are the stories the world needs to see.
I was not alone.
If you have experienced any type of trauma, you are not alone.