Autism, PTSD and Me

I have helped you learn a lot about my family over the past year or so but I never really delve into what makes me tick. I thought is was important to share some things that make me…..well…me.

I don’t remember if I ever said anything about this or not but I’m dealing with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) mostly due to everything I saw while working as a paramedic. I never really spoke with anyone about these things as most simply won’t understand.

Some of the things I saw, most people simply could never imagine. The calls involving children haunt me the most. I will NEVER forget what it feels like to perform CPR on a child that I already knew was gone because I didn’t know what else to do and I not only wanted the parents to know that I did EVERYTHING possible but I needed to know that for myself as well. The only thing you can think about is that children are NOT supposed to die and that some how it’s your fault if they do because you weren’t good enough to save them. I know that doesn’t make sense but you have to be in the situation, I think, to really be able to understand. Thankfully, not many people have been and that’s the way if should be.

I also remember one case in particular where an older gentleman and his wife had been fighting right before we arrived to take him to the hospital. He declined so rapidly while in route to the hospital that no matter what I did I couldn’t help him. The last thing he said to me was ” please tell my wife that I love her and I’m sorry”. That call changed my perspective on MANY things. I have NEVER been able to shake that and it effects my relationship with Lizze because I always have to resolve an issue instead of walking away angry.  I don’t ever want to be in that situation where we part ways or go to sleep angry at each other in the event something should happen. I dont want the last words we ever spoke to each other or the boys for that matter to be in anger.

A huge part of the reason I quit being a paramedic was not only due to my back and Gavin but also because I was burning out and these calls were getting tougher and tougher to cope with. Put simply, I couldn’t take anymore. The last call I remember running was a young girl, under 6 years old, hit by a drunk driver in HER OWN FRONT YARD.

Witnessing a child die, especially when it was my job to stop that from happening, is something that follows you the rest of your life. Living with the knowledge or guilt that I couldn’t save a child’s life, is something I struggle to live with.  It changes you at a core level, in a way that most people will never understand. It’s also one of those things that you can’t just talk about to someone as it’s a significant burden to place on anyone and again, most won’t understand anyway.

Last night I met with Dr. Patti and she was kind enough to let me purge, as I desperately needed to. It helps me to be a better parent to my children if I’m in a better place. I just laid it all out there and told her everything. She reminded me that I was clearly dealing with PTSD and that while the situations I live in now are different the principles are the same as the traumatic experiences I had been through. Basically, the really bad calls I went on as a medic where situations that no matter what I did, I couldn’t save the person in question. I also fear what “could” happen because in my experience I saw repeatedly what often times does happen. Like the man fighting with his wife and not being able to take anything back.

Fast forward to my current life situation and I’m basically in the same situation, over and over. I watch my wife suffering every single goddamn day and I can’t do anything to make it better for her or take her pain away. I watch my kids struggle with many things and face many challenges that most don’t. No matter how hard I try, I can’t make take these burdens away from them.
I have had countless conversations with God and I begged him to PLEASE let me carry these burdens for them and it never happens. I realize how crazy this makes me sound but I can’t rely explain it better then that. What Dr. Patti is saying is that while the situations are different now the impact is still the same. Every day I’m met with the fact that even with all the my knowledge, experience and willingness to shoulder their burdens, I can’t take there pain away. As irrational as it may appear from the outside, I assure you that it doesn’t feel that way from where I sit.

From where I sit, I’m supposed to make their lives better and I just can’t seem to make that happen. I honestly do everything I physically and emotionally can and it’s not enough give my kids and wife a better life.

I felt that by sharing this maybe it will help you to get to know me better. At very least give you some insight into what makes me tick. There is so much more I want to say but honestly, this was exhausting so this is it for now. I will make an effort to be a bit lore transparent about things like this because it will help me to recognize the impact these things have on my daily life.

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rich

Rob,
I appreciate your honesty and the time you put into your blog. It's very comforting to know that I am not alone in my ASD-kid struggles.
I'm sure you know this, but God is sovereign. Many times I have asked God to change things in the manner I see fit. When he doesn't, I know that my choice was not for the best.
Rich

Zoila

Man… oh man. We must of walked the same path. I had worked in the ER setting for a little bit, and I still wake up with nightmares. I spent my first 5 yrs of life in the hosp.. needless to say… I do well, holding everything together.. but then I unravel…..

The boys, home, the fiances, therapy upon therapy, everything becomes so overwhelming that it feels that I take 3 steps forwards and 4 steps back… In many ways, I have started to expect that shit will hit the fan at least twice a month.. because it never fails that something will go horribly wrong… and oh the ER visits….it's never ending and being married to someone on the spectrum has its own problems… I have yet to blog about.. I donno If I am ready to..
My recent post Frog Life-Cycle

mattallica76

Rob, you're an amazing individual. I'm sure you already know this, but God gives us no burden that we can't bare. Everything that you've been through has made you stronger in one way shape or form. With 3 boys of my own, I know the struggles of parenthood, but you handle your trials in such a way that it gives you the strength, patience, and love to be the parent you are.

Dee Brake

You are brave to open you family to us, and now this…. this story about yourself probably even harder to share. people crave for information about Autism so that they can find answers, support or just the knowledge that they are not alone in their struggles. an eye opening reading, and like people say to me all the time raising twins, one with special needs, and working part time… people say "i dunno how you do it" well i answer " i just do what i've got to" i need to make it through the day, one day at a time. and i guess it is the same for us all. even you, who's proverbial laundry pile of life issues, is overflowing, you do it because you've got to, one day at a time. however you do it, just keep puttin one foot ahead of the next. God bless.

Lost_and_Tired

Thanks Dee. You are SO right. I feel better getting a lot of this stuff out into the open. 🙂

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