Uncategorized

Trauma Changes Us: How a Traumatic Illness Changed Me and My Family Forever

Part I “Trauma Changes Us Forever: How a Series of Traumatic events Changed Me Forever”

True transparency for a moment. Rest assured, I am not sharing my story for sympathy. I’m sharing to reach the heart’s of others who may find themselves on a similar dark, frightening, and taunting journey!

The past 2 years have threatened to take me down more than I care to admit! Especially, the past 4 months have been the traumatic icing on an extremely awful and fearful cake!

Friends, this Christian counselor who continually points people to the Hope of Jesus, found myself struggling at times to find the ability to face the day (afraid of the next attack)!

I showed up at work (most of the time), I tried to be the best wife I could, I tried to love my kiddos the best of my ability! I continued pointing people to Jesus, as much as I could! It was effective for the most part, ( I sure hope it was, my prayer is always that God would fill in the gaps when I’m feeling weak. This is the hard part of ministry, we’re called to be on our game all the time, yet we’re all human and we will never be at our best all the time.).

Something within me, kept me from connecting at the deepest level with God, my husband, my children, my friends, and my clients. I know when I’m at my best and know the way I’m able to connect with people. It wasn’t happening at the same level. It broke my heart, and at times made me question my value and effectiveness as a wife, mother, friend, and counselor. Even as a Child of God! Thankfully, I know how to talk through the negative talk enough to keep going! I don’t think my clients noticed it, at least I hope they didn’t, but I felt it in my spirit! I did my very best for where I was during this trial! It’s all we can do… our best!

Why did this happen to me? Answer… My heart was crushed! I was afraid! I was terrified! There were a series of attacks and when I was feeling overwhelmed beyond my ability to handle the weight of it all, the largest attack came at us completely out of left field. When I realized I needed soul rest, decided to go on vacation to the beach, and upon landing in Florida my little girl immediately became gravely sick.

For five days I took care of her and worked with every ounce of my being to help her get better. Sleepless nights worrying about 104 fevers that seemed impossible to maintain and several other symptoms. Three trips to the ER with poor care and inaccurate diagnosis. Two urgent care trips. Three virtual appointments, this all took place in a 5 day period. This doesn’t count the doctor and nurse friends I reached out to for guidance. For five days her body was quickly dwindling and no one could tell me what was wrong. This was traumatic in and of itself. Then the final and correct diagnosis occurred on the fifth day when I took her to the best hospital in the area and risked being charged, as it was out of network. When it comes to saving your children, money is no longer an issue! They diagnosed her with MIS-C (Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children). A life-treating condition that comes on about 4 weeks after Covid and causes the bodies antibodies to go crazy and frantically begins attacking the organs. They said she was in critical condition and that you’re little girl is very sick. You brought her in at the right time! We need to work quickly to get her stablelized and get her to St. Petersburg’s, John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. They sent a lifeline to transport her and that was the longest and scariest trip of our lives! This is where our lives went into survival mode and sensual overload became overwhelming to our brain’s ability to properly file away memories, input, sounds, thoughts, information, and unanswered questions. Caroline and I both developed PTSD due to this near death and extrmeLy scary situation. In part II, I will explain more about the journey with MIS-C and how the trauma revealed it’s head upon returning home.

Friends, during this 4 months time frame it seriously felt like I was living out a real life game of Wack-A-Mole! Every time I’d feel a little bit stronger, another attack would crush me right back into my brokenness! Every time I felt I was coming to grip with the status wiping her condition and starting to find peace, the phone would ring informing of another concerning blood test result. I was on high alert for several months, watching every symptom to ensure she would be safe and healthy. At times her heart rate accelerated for no reason and got to the 180’s without exercise being the cause. It was a scary time! Praise the Lord her body is returning to a more normal state, her emotional well-being will take some more time! Although, she’s made great strides in this area by talking to me, her dad, her brothers, her counselor, and her art work! I couldn’t keep up and my stomach couldn’t either.

Stomach issues became a real issue, tension, headaches, sleepless nights, nightmares, and I even had a few clients who during my trial acted in ways that made it feel like they were stabbing a knife right into the deepest places of my heart. Of course, I can’t tell the circumstances, but just know that ministry doesn’t come without its own share of heartache, pain, and frustration. Especially, when the counselor has endured their own trauma. Usually, I’m more equipped and confident to handle these situations. At this time, I was barely hanging in and the attacks were overwhelming. When you are a counselor who truly cares for your clients, it opens you up to great potential for hurt. Therefore, many counselors remain emotionally absent and completely neutral, it’s “safer” this way, but it doesn’t produce the path to healing. Love is the only avenue to healing! I am so thankful that the majority of my clients were so very caring and chill throughout the process. They were patient when I had to cancel for Caroline’s doctor’s appointments, or had to take important calls from the hospital during a session (which I never do), or I messed up my schedule and botched up appointment times. So thankful for this blessing during this trial in my life!

My heart has faced so many of Satan’s attacks at such an accelerated rate, that there were times I thought to myself “I want to stay in bed all day, bad things happen out there!” I knew this was the epitome of living in fear! I’ve seen how this impacts my clients and I didn’t want to go to this dark of a place. I knew that he key was never giving up! I kept fighting!

Thankfully, during these intense attacks, I knew that succumbing to the defeating voices of Satan would only destroy me. After all, God says “Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy!” Even on the hardest days, I forced myself to get up and face the world! I’d always read at least a little scripture and listened to a lot worship music, even though to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t feel it! At least not like I’m accustomed to. This was the most terrifying aspect of the experience. Why? God has been my firm assurance throughout life and Jesus my one true hope, wisdom provider, almighty counselor, and hope! Not feeling in connection fully with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, created the most noice and discomfort in my soul. It wasn’t God, it was my trauma, my fear, my struggle! Trauma does this!

Something inside of me threatened to shut off all emotions and connections! It was in these moments I developed a greater understanding, compassion, and empathy for how Satan can cause us to spiral downward fast! I’ve always been sensitive to this, but living through it has a way of bringing more and more empathy and love to others in pain!

In part II, I will continue sharing our healing journey through the illness, the traumatic impact, and how I’ve been able to work through the journey. Check it out!

Love you all!

Blessing,

Crystal