I’ve been debating about whether or not to continue writing about my feelings related to Eli’s injury because I know that probably plenty of you are at the point of eye rolling and irritation with how much of this space those issues are taking up. And I get that. Trust me, I get that. But I’m going to write about it anyway, because it seems to help to get this stuff out and right now, I’ll try anything.
Things are no better than the were last month, in fact, most of the time, they’re worse. I haven’t slept through a night without waking up in a blind panic in more than 2 weeks. I’ve woken up three times in the past 4 days, out of my bed, trying to rescue an imaginary baby from some terrible scenario that my unconscious crafted and I’m just exhausted. I am physically hurting all over today and I honestly think it’s because of lack of sleep and stress.
During the day, I’m typically fine. I can manage my anxiety well enough that almost no one knows it’s there. I am able to let Eli explore without hovering, but it kills me inside to watch him doing risky things and feel like I shouldn’t go intervene. I watch him walk near coffee tables and fireplaces or around a playground, and in my mind I see what it would look like if he fell, if he hit his head again, if he got hurt. But I fight against that urge to scoop him up and I let him explore, knowing full well that there are risks to his safety everywhere. It’s like my insides are pulling in 2 different directions with wanting to keep him safe and wanting to let him be free and it’s emotionally excruciating.
Yesterday I had a therapy session with my therapist (who is an intern) and her supervisor (who came in to our session because she thought, as a mother, she might be able to help provide some insights) and it was hard. They asked me to retell what happened to Eli and while I’m perfectly capable of talking about what happened to him, I struggle to talk about what happened to me that day. Because Eli is the one who was injured, but I am the one who was damaged by it.
I am not the same person I was on the morning of March 23rd. I can’t be, and I don’t know if I can ever be that person again. I will never be able to forget watching my son fall. Watching him moan, barely conscious on that hotel bed, and thinking about how he may have just been neurologically devastated while on my watch. I can’t even begin to describe how that felt because there aren’t words for that kind of agony. It was horrific and I feel it all over again whenever I think back to that morning.
I want to move on from what happened. I see my husband move on, my family, my son. But I feel stuck in that moment. I still see the whole thing happen over and over when I close my eyes. I wake up night after night, convinced that my son is in our bed and is seconds away from falling off. I don’t know how to make it stop. It’s not as easy as letting it go, because if that was the answer, it would already be gone. The therapists I saw yesterday agreed that I am reacting to a trauma and my physician last month said that I am displaying all the signs of PTSD (corrected from earlier because I somehow deleted words here) and all of them warned me that it’s a long road. I just don’t know how much longer I can do this.
I just feel damaged. Like I should be able to more forward like everyone around me, but for some reason, I’m trapped in that moment and the feelings are every bit as intense as they were 4 months ago. I want to go back to before this happened not because I was carefree, but because I wasn’t broken in the way I feel broken now. I feel like a shell of myself. Like the outside still looks the same, but the inside has been scooped out and filled with anxiety and fear and guilt and now I’m missing all the tremendous happiness that is all around me.
I really just don’t know how to repair all that is broken.