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Troubles Tonight - Coping With Trauma Hysterics

Discussion in 'General' started by Jim, Dec 15, 2006.

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  1. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

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    My apologies, I've not really introduced myself here properly, but I am batgirl's uncle. We had a big problem with her tonight so I needed to write.

    I have returned from a short trip to the base. I knew it was upsetting my niece, my going to the base and then coming back. She was "triggered" as they say. Things seemed fine however until about an hour after I arrived. Niece then says to me, uncle do you really have to go to Afghanistan. (I am deployed in January.) Please don't go. And starts crying. Cries a long time, then starts saying through tears, I want my dad. I want my brother. Kathy my wife then says, your dad and brother are dead. Wrong thing to say I suspect, as my niece then covers her ears and starts screaming at the top of her lungs. So I slapped her. Rotten thing to do, and I feel rotten about it, but there you go. It stopped her screaming, but she still cried until she made herself physically ill in the toilet several times.

    Same time as this is going on, the wife calls the crisis line. They advise we can take her into the emergency room, but at this hour it will be a 6 hour wait for a psych doctor. So **** it, gave her gravol and a sleeping pill and put her to bed.

    Exhausted now and hope we at least did something right in this mess.

    Jim.
     
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  3. GR-ass

    GR-ass Well-Known Member

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    hugs Jim tight.

    You did what you had to do hon.
    Just keep an eye on her when she wakes.
    cass
     
  4. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Hi Jim. I'm Bec, it's nice to meet you.

    I am not suprised at Bat's reaction. This is a BIG trigger, not a little one. You were able to stop her reaction from getting worse (and trust me it could have gotten a lot worse) and able to get her to get some sleep. Great first steps. Yes, slapping seems severe, but when a person is having a hysterical reaction you only have three choices. A)slap them B) take them to emerg C) hug them and hope that works . None of them are great. So don't beat yourself up for slapping her. If you need to, explain to her that she was hysterical and you needed to slap her out of it quickly (which you did) or ask her to pm me here and I will explain it to her myself (PS. I am trained in Social Services...)
    Also, both you and your wife are going to have to learn, through trial and error, what to do when Bat has triggers. Bat has to learn what to do when she has triggers. This is not easy on anyone and you can not expect to do it smoothly everytime. I think you and your wife did very well under the circumstances. Keep in mind with Bat's triggers that they are fueled by the fear of losing you in war or you coming back and losing your mind from war and hurting someone. Bat needs tons of love and reassurance yet some of this she is only going to be able to learn from experiencing.

    Keep a close eye on Bat after she wakes. She will be exhausted, despite the sleep, and "off kilter" in her personality. She could be very irrational, cranky etc.. This is all normal. Keep your patience and love her lots.

    Remember, you both have done what you needed to do for her sake, so don't beat yourselves up over it.

    Bec
     
  5. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    Jim,

    I had her on my mind last night. I was surprised she didn't post about you arriving. She was very anxious about you returning. You have to understand how profound of a fear she has. She has finally opened the door to family after shutting them out for years. She is beginning to trust you...and you go off to war. I don't mean to make you feel guilty, it's just that to Batgirl, it's starting all over again.

    PTSD is a reaction to a traumatic event. Her body and her mind will FOREVER remember that traumatic event and will do all things necessary to keep it from happing again, hence why many of us have irrational triggers. All we are doing is trying very hard to keep it from happening again, as she is. There is no easy solution to this. I pray that all goes well and that you return safely. Batgirl will then see that you came back and that you did not do the same things her father had done. Even though this is a challenging time for her, this could also have the potential to heal some of the wounds she is carrying.

    As to what happened last night, Bec is right, she could be much worse off. I am glad that you were there to take care of her during that time. Keep an eye on her for us...she is loved on this forum. She's in our thoughts.

    (((hugs))) Jim. I'm so glad you are there.
     
  6. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

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    Much appreciated GR'ass, Becvan, Nam. Good stuff all, good to know. I am alarmed to learn that it could have been much worse. I don't feel bad about slapping her in that case. Becvan thank you. I will get her to PM you when she feels up to it.

    No worries Nam, I am guilty myself about deploying. Can't be helped, unfortunately. I am on high alert and watching her carefully. Thank christ she is still sleeping at present. Will come back on here later if need be.

    Jim.
     
  7. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Jim, you did ok mate under the circumstances. I think your starting to realize now how much this is effecting batgirl, and the impact it will have on you at this time. Batgirl will get better, trust me on that, but its going to be a long hard road to get her there.

    Now whilst you did what you thought right at the time, I wouldn't go with the slapping when she gets hysterical in the future. Why? Whilst a slap will often ground a person again from hysterics, it is often something that is only used once or twice with a person. Batgirl is not going to get hysterical once or twice, trust me, its going to happen often in regard to anything military related, and its going to happen a lot more when she starts to really face her trauma.

    My suggestion! I would go for the holding her real tight so she can't hurt you, your wife or anyone else, until she calms down from the moment. If you slapped her each time, eventually she will resent you for it because its a form of violence. Violence to batgirl is the evangalist of the world falling apart. Whilst she may take it this time, or another couple of times, she will run from it eventually.

    ER... they can't do anything for her at those times that you or your wife cannot. Hold her, talk to her in order to try and bring her back. Ground her basically, back to reality and out of hysterics.

    Batgirl will never get past the trigger of military, and I mean ever. Whilst with work she can become more tolerant of military aspects in small doses, if exposed for a constant short period, it will break her again. The reason is pretty simple, in that the military is the primary cause to her pain. Whilst trauma can be healed, the cause of it will never be fully accepted. Military comes with violence, and that is factual. The military is not a job that trys to talk their opposition to step aside, it uses violence, and so anything that stems military, to her equates to violence / possible violence against her.

    Batgirl does understand that her father and brother are dead, she just doesn't want to accept it yet. She will as part of her trauma therapy, but she hasn't gotten that far just yet. People often use the very appropriate phrase "walking on eggshells" when dealing with someone with uncontrolled PTSD and trauma. Often spouses and family actually. This is what your going to feel like at times in regard to batgirl, and this is whats really essential at times unfortunately, until she heals some of her trauma. She has healed nothing as yet, instead her pain has only grown over the past five years, because instead of getting any of it out, she has kept it all in not knowing what to do with it, hence the pain is on a continuous growth cycle, along with her suffering.

    Jim, all I can say mate at present, is brace yourself for one hell of a learning curve. Its going to get a lot worse before it gets better. At present, she is existing, not coping, not living, just existing... When she starts poking away at her trauma, she is going to be less than existing, instead she will be in constant suffering. Suffering will stem from having to face her past, face her greatest fears, face the reality of what was happened to her. I know that you may think she knows it, but she doesn't understand a single thing from what has happened yet, and that is whay she has to find, which is going to cause an extreme amount of pain for her, thus an extreme amount of suffering. As a result, those around her will also suffer her backlashes from trauma therapy. Its a painful process for everyone involved, it truly is.

    The next step from existing, is suffering. The next step from suffering is death. Trauma therapy is going to push her boundaries into these regions, and it is a very dangerous area to be within. I think you can work out just how much pain she is going to endure in order to heal her past.

    Jim, just remember mate, be kind to yourself during your supporting her, because whilst she may get very mad and angry at you, its not actually her true self fronting you or your wife, its her past coming through. You are both going to learn a whole new level of tolerance I believe. Don't be surprised at all if she runs at some point again. If she does, hopefully it won't be for long, nor permanent, just a temporary lapse to get herself some time and space from life.

    Batgirl has suffered some of the worst life could throw her way... and unfortunately, she is going to throw some of that your and your wifes way as a result, atleast until she is healed somewhat. It takes a good year of hard work and pain to balance out, then another couple of years minimum to fine tune skills, learn techniques that work uniquely for the sufferer and so forth. Its going to be a long hard road mate... and even longer for batgirl, because she has physical limitations that will be provoked from her mental healing process.

    Just please don't take anything she does personally towards you Jim, because she's over the moon mate that she has you both back in her life, she just has to find her feet now to no longer exist, but live.
     
  8. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    I rushed home, just got in the door, so that I could post further about the hugs and Anthony beat me to it!! LOL, I just didn't have time to go into further before work today. Well said Anthony.

    I will just add my personal experience with the hug (that is what I call it when I go there.. lol) My partner does the hug. He had to learn how to do it. Getting close to me during a trigger is not easy as I get violent to protect myself. He steps into my space, I swing he ducks, grabs and wraps around me. He pins everything possible and watches for possible teeth until my tears hit. Then he just holds me and lets me cry. It's actually dangerous to do. I consider him to be quite brave as most males I know won't go near me with a ten foot pole when I'm not triggered, never mind when I am. Slapping me might have worked 20 years ago but now I would just fight back and there would be no calming me down. Anthony is right, it only works once or twice but as he pointed out and I was attempting to, is that you had to do it until you learn further skills. Anyways, back to my point, the hug can work, but you are going to have to work out how to get to that point. We are all different (and yet so alike) in how we react. Bat might not get violent, whereas I do. You just don't know. I wish there was more to do or say to help but my brain is still stuck on work. LOL

    Bec
     
  9. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Its funny you just said that bec, cause I just went out for a smoke, cooked some toast and was thinking exactly what you just said, in regards to the attached warning in regards to the hug. Brace for impact, slip into their space and hold everything you can. Must say though, didn't think about the watch for teeth aspect... good point bec.

    Spooky telepathic thing or something going on here....

    Added: Oh, thanks bec for covering that one... well said.
     
  10. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Hehe, as usual eh? Anthony!! yeah, everything is a weapon when I'm like that.. teeth, feet, knees, head, hands, elbows, pots, hammers, anything nearby. etc.. I'm rather dangerous LOL I have to be tied up like a pretzel!

    Bec
     
  11. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

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    I have done the hug thing once before, in the hospital 3 weeks ago, when she was smashing an oxygen machine and pulling the tubes out of her arms. She does punch and kick, but she is such a tiny thing and not very strong, so it has little impact. Mostly she lets loose with the obsenities. She would make a good drill sargeant, with that mouth. Biting hadn't occurred to me. Will keep that one in mind. I am happy to proceed with the hugging over the slapping, since she is physically very easy to subdue.

    After a long sleep she was up briefly this afternoon, not in the best of moods. Threatened to throw a boot at my head, and I told her, go ahead, but you won't like the results. So she thought better of it. Took her for a short walk outside, she then had some tea and toast which thankfully stayed down, and she is now back to sleeping. She had no desire to come on the forum, and usually I have trouble keeping her off it. Which indicates to me that she is indeed feeling very poorly.

    Anthony, Becvan, thank you once again. I am bracing myself for the next couple of years. Quite frankly I am not happy to be going overseas, I am very concerned about the impact on my niece. Not to mention both my wife and I are becoming extremely hesitant to leave her on her own. My oldest son lives quite close, and he is more than pleased to check up on her, however he is also in the military, living on the base I just came from. So more triggers for her, each time he should visit.

    I can tell she is relieved to have us here, and I love her as my own daughter, in fact, consider her my daughter really, now that her own family is gone. So any obnoxious behaviour on her part is water under the bridge.

    Jim.
     
  12. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Ohhh, Jim. I would have paid money to have an uncle like you in my younger years!! I laughed at the "she is a tiny thing." I'm very small myself. I'm glad you know how to handle it (I keep forgeting about the whole military thing, training etc...lol) You should be very proud of yourself, your family by sticking by and being so good. Many of us on here didn't get that and it's not a born trait.. it's a decision. I have to say, your growing on me just like Bat did!!! LMAO.

    You military guys keep up this enduring thing and I just may have to get over my whole anger/trigger thingy! (yes, that would include you Anthony and the rest of the boys on here... )

    Bec
     
  13. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

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    Yep, she is a tiny mite. Just under 5'1" and current weight 96 lbs. The majority of folks in our family, including the women, are on the tall side, so we used to tease her, saying she was the runt of the litter. But what she lacks in size she makes up in attitude.

    My wife and I were praised for taking in our teen nephew, as well as how we raised our sons. To be honest, I never understood the praise as our extended family has always been close. I was raised to take care of my own and can't fathom families who won't step up. Unthinkable, especially when you have a youngster in need.

    We military men are not so bad I hope. You folks on the forum are growing on me as well. I am glad I decided to write.

    Jim.
     
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