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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Book Review- PTSD and the Holidays

I just finished reading "Holidays and PTSD: A Parent's Guide to Survival" by my favorite blogger, Ranae Eddy (Every Star is Different).  Her and her husband (Jason) write about homeschooling their four special needs kids and have tons of free Montessori-style printables on their blog.  Even better, though, is how honestly, openly, and encouragingly they speak about life with special needs kids.  Not only are they parents who work hard to give their kids all the advantages, but Jason is also a family and marriage therapist (just like my dad!).  The combination of therapist who is also a parent lends a lot of credability to their writing.  I love hearing about their joys, fun, challenges, and victories.

In Renae and Jason's new e-book, they continue their gentle, practical wisdom as it relates to the holidays.  It's a great book for parents who are just beginning to understand PTSD as it relates to their children or parents who feel like they already understand their children's triggers.  The book manages to be helpful without being preachy and instructive while remaining humble.  The combination makes the book very encouraging for parents.  It's like a latte at the kitchen table followed by a big hug.  Few things could be better for a struggling family.

How I Became Your Mother- Dragonfly
My children do not have nearly as many diagnosis as the Eddy children, but I found the book very helpful for thinking about my children's triggers.  Dragonfly came to our house at three months old after being in three other families (you can read her story here).  Although I don't know all that she experienced in those first three months of her life, we have discovered some of her PTSD/anxiety triggers.  One of her fears is masks or anything that changes a person's face (make-up, hats, etc).  We have learned to help her by avoiding places where people might be wearing things on their face, like Santa, Halloween, dress-up costumes and the like.  If we can't avoid the situation, then we try to prep her very well for who is behind the mask and why they're wearing it.  Dragonfly is very rational and is very comforted by a good explanation.  She can often talk herself out of her fears or will spend a lot of time explaining to everyone else how she would deal with all sorts of bad situations.  In a lot of ways, she's been very easy to help, because she wants help herself.

When she finds herself in a new situation or is anxious about something, she always must have her Baby with her.  I can often tell how Dragonfly is feeling by how she is holding her baby.  Even at age 5, her Baby is so important to her that she will not sleep without her.  When Dragonfly was younger, we had three identical Babies.  I would swap them out on her constantly, so that she never developed a favorite.  Whenever a Baby got dirty or wet or skinky, there was always a clean baby to replace it.  This system worked great until she was about four and got too smart for my system.  She found the others and has since developed a favorite.  It was a sad day for me.  The other two Babies are still hanging around the house.  Dragonfly insists that they are her brothers' Babies and doesn't want to get rid of them.  The brothers will snuggle them occasionally, but they never cared as much about Baby as Dragonfly does.  As long as we have Baby, nothing in Dragonfly's world can be too big or too scary.

I was encouraged by the Eddy's book to continue trying other PTSD helpers and anxiety tools.  Check out their book for all their ideas.  Holidays and PTSD: a Parent's Guide to Survival



And check out today's blog post: I Think My Husband Has Autism.

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