Monday, December 12, 2011

Breath Holding Spell Creates Trauma--Created BY Trauma?

I was writing my Christmas letter in my head today. What a roller-coaster year! Highest highs and lowest lows.
If you read the last post, you saw that my youngest grandson choked, and thank God for the knowledge and quick wits of my daughter, is ok.

But two weeks later he had what appeared to my daughter as a seizure and death. She was terrified and helpless. Nothing he was choking on this time. She called 911, they came and he had started breathing again. She followed the firemen with her older two in the car to Children's Hospital. That's when she called me. It seemed forever till she told me he was breathing again, but she had no idea what was wrong.

As soon as we hung up I went and told my husband and we talked to God together about the situation. We were both shaken, but ok as we waited--me hating the 3,000 miles between us. Finally she called again and said it was Breath Holding Spell and he was ok.

She explained, we were relieved, as was she, but then the reaction to the trauma started. As involuntary as was his losing control of his breath, was her losing control of the images in her brain.

She has written a fabulous blog describing it at showing how hard it was for her to go back through the incident in her mind with her feelings. She called me because she couldn't sleep, and we walked back through her memory with her crying, and me guiding her to move through the next second. She looked for Jesus and found Him in the memory.

The next two days she was so much better. Her husband was the one experiencing the trauma: anger at his fear. A common reaction for men. We found a false belief, we asked for healing, he was better.

The end of the second day, she called again, disoriented and going in circles. We began looking for the "lie" that had her stuck. The doctor had told her it would happen again, and she was sure she couldn't go through it again. That was one lie (false belief), the other was that he wouldn't come back. We asked God for the truth and received it, and she has been much better since.

I share this because I have learned so much about trauma in the past two weeks. I've even begun to wonder if this "Breath Holding Spell" isn't PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in babies and toddlers. From listening to her, the episodes terrify the baby as much as they do her.

Thank God, she didn't just try to push through it and store it in her body somewhere, to have it surface through an emotional trigger, and spin her out of control without warning. Thank God also, that the baby hasn't had another episode (that went completely to fainting) until yesterday.

She was able to go through it, and though shaky, she has been able to be present and take care of him and the other two in peace.

Meanwhile she has put up a website, because when she looked, she couldn't find anything on it. I am so grateful to God, and proud of her, for turning her pain into a blessing for many. Now there will be a site for support, for other terrified mothers who go through this.

Next time: this incident and the big picture.