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I’m here to tell you….there’s life after RAD. I’m also here to tell you RAD is the monster that sucks up your life, your identity and makes you question your faith and your marriage. Wow, that doesn’t sound like a good thing! After B went into the RTC I realized the hell we had lived. Obviously I knew it while we were in the midst of it, but it just becomes your life and you can’t remember anything before it. Then after B left S began her own rages and dealing with RAD. M has never had the rages but dealt with everything in his own passive aggressive way. The bad news…..B never attached and has chosen to no longer be a part of our family. The good news…..after years of therapy and constant work S is healing! By leaps and bounds! She is happy and content. She has separated herself from M and is a joy to be around. Now I know puberty is right around the corner and that will probably throw her into a tailspin. But we can handle it. M, however, is a kid filled with anger who won’t let go of control for one instant. I’m convinced that he has to be pushed to his limit to let go of that. If he does not, I fear that his future as an adult is a scary place. He will have only learned control and have no love or relationship with God to go with it.

Today I realized I’m back in the pattern that I lived while B was in our home. PTSD symptoms. Sometimes I think I throw that out there as a defense mechanism but after studying these symptoms I believe it applies to so many of us RAD moms. Except for us, it’s not the occurrence of a single event, but one that happens over and over and over again. You wake up determined today will be different. Then your kid gets out of bed and everything falls apart. shares these symptoms of PTSD:

Re-Experiencing Symptoms

* Frequently having upsetting thoughts or memories about a traumatic event.
* Having recurrent nightmares.
* Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event were happening again, sometimes called a “flashback.”
* Having strong feelings of distress when reminded of the traumatic event.
* Being physically responsive, such as experiencing a surge in your heart rate or sweating, to reminders of the traumatic event

Avoidance Symptoms

* Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event.
* Making an effort to avoid places or people that remind you of the traumatic event.
* Having a difficult time remembering important parts of the traumatic event.
* A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities.
* Feeling distant from others.
* Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love.
* Feeling as though your life may be cut short.

Hyperarousal Symptoms

* Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep.
* Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger.
* Having difficulty concentrating.
* Feeling constantly “on guard” or like danger is lurking around every corner.
* Being “jumpy” or easily startled.

Many of these symptoms are an extreme version of our body’s natural response to stress. Understanding our body’s natural response to threat and danger (the fight or flight response) can help us better understand the symptoms of PTSD.

So where is the good news in all of this? I have had days of normalcy when I was interested in life, felt I had something to give, was energetic and made good use of my time and priorities. I didn’t dread getting out of bed. I laughed. Wow. For how many of us is laughter a lost art? But today I realized I’m slipping back into the old way of life as M struggles to push me away and make our home unhappy. I have to make the choice to change me and pray for him. Because at this point it’s all up to him. I have to deal with my PTSD so I can be healthy for everyone else who needs me. Don’t let RAD take over your world. There is a life beyond it, and even in the middle of it. Hang onto hope because some days, that’s all there is.

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  1. marythemom says:

    I totally agree. I do EMDR to help with my PTSD. It has helped quite a bit.

    Mary in TX

    PS – LOL! My word verification was dulnerdn – sounds like what my kids would say I’m doing all the time. “dull nerding”

  2. MomInTheTrench says:

    Good post. I know I am living with PTSD, as well as my kids.

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