We've had some pretty bad storms here in Chicagoland. Sarah's PTSD kicks in during thunderstorms and tonight she knocked on my door and said she couldn't fall asleep and didn't know what to do.
This was huge! Huge. Bedtime was already going to be tricky as the town next to us had fireworks tonight and they were so close to us, the finale shook the house. She was already triggered heading to bed.
In the past, she's shared memories of being with her biological family and being made to walk outside during evening storms to another building to use the bathroom. We have no idea if this was once or frequent but we do know that she was under the age of 5. This coupled with her witnessing of domestic violence means that loud noises and darkness are triggers to her PTSD.
Most kids are afraid of thunderstorms. But as I Kaye's in her bed with her, I could feel her entire body shake. But we reached a point where she could trust me enough to 1) tell me there was a problem 2)tolerate my safe touch, 3) allow me to lay with her and calm down. I told her sometimes people say the thunder is the Angels bowling. We talked about how to ask our angels for help. I reminded her why she is afraid of storms. We focused on listening to the rain on the roof and we counted the time between lightning bolts and thunder claps. She said the last trick helped and when I felt her body calm, I left her to sleep. Which she did.
It's so hard to see my kiddo at a total loss of how to self soothe but I am so proud that she was able to tap in and use her tools to get help to get there. But man, 5 years later and the trauma and danger are still real for her. It's moments like this where the Mama Bear in me wants to hunt down the idiots who were supposed to be taking care of her and give them a taste of their own medicine.