I want to scream this during NAAM! We adoptees and foster kids are often terrified, but would never tell you.
Yes, we are literally shaking in our boots almost 24/7.
We sleep and eat fear…gut-level fear.
We hate it, but can’t throw it. We struggle with it only to end up being paralyzed by it.
If there were such a diagnosis as ADOPTEE AND FOSTER KID PTSD…we would be the poster kids.
Listen to what experts say about PTSD, fellow adoptees and foster kids. I bet anything you will identify.
- Intrusive thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams; or flashbacks of the traumatic event. Flashbacks may be so vivid that people feel they are re-living the traumatic experience or seeing it before their eyes.
- Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event may include avoiding people, places, activities, objects and situations that bring on distressing memories. People may try to avoid remembering or thinking about the traumatic event. They may resist talking about what happened or how they feel about it.
- Negative thoughts and feelings may include ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted”); ongoing fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame; much less interest in activities previously enjoyed; or feeling detached or estranged from others.
- Arousal and reactive symptoms may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way; being easily startled; or having problems concentrating or sleeping.
I don’t know about you, friends, but all of it rings true for us.
And, we’re so ashamed of the darn thing….the gut-level fear.
But, this crummy fear consumes, engulfs, surrounds, and ties our tongues. It condemns beautiful personalities, prompts self-protection at any level, and requires all dangers to disappear. It thrives on isolation and multiples with broken promises. It cripples authenticity and encourages sickness.
Thinking back over a lifetime, I remember what was missed because of fear.
- Promising to meet a friend but panic and never contact or follow up.
- Hiding in a hotel instead of attending a party thrown in my honor
- Backing out of a friend’s celebration for no reason except anxiety
- Not wanting to follow through with commitments
- Not being able to tolerate the stress of growth in my journey
- Unable to relax with family and friends
- Wanting to disappear
- Fake being sick as a child so that I wouldn’t have to go to the first day of school…every year
Fellow adoptees and foster kids, my heart goes out to you. Fear is so awful.
For me, part of my journey was getting medical help for my anxiety and fear. Nearly 30 years ago, my shrink put me on a baby’s dose of an anti-anxiety drug, which provided immediate relief from social anxiety and showed my brain that fear doesn’t have to equate with normalcy.
Please let me know how you are doing and what you are learning as you begin to deal with gut-level fear?
I love you.