Photo taken of my Mother and I (Dawn Hyland) in November 2014
In 2006 my Mother was correctly diagnosed with PTSD. The time before this diagnosis was a terrifying time for an eleven, six, eight year old and a very lonely time for my older sister; who was pregnant with her first child during this time. Being the oldest in the home, this experience taught me to be strong during this time of confusion for our family. I knew my Mother was in the hospital but could not be told why or when she would be coming home. I knew I was scared that she would never come back to us as the Mother we all knew and loved. My Mother is someone who did everything she could to raise us in a better way then she was raised growing up. Unfortunately that meant working 3-4 jobs at a time just to provide that life for us.
Looking back now I see so many things that were 'off' about my Mother during this period. But as a kid you don't really understand what is going on, you're just told that something is so, and you believe it. Sadly, my Mother's case was so extreme because of the manic-bipolar, and schizophrenia medication that she was on which in turn made her body copy similar symptoms. Many people that are caugt in the remberence state that my Mother was don't come back to reality. My Mother says it is because she had us girls.
Photo taken of my Mother, sisters, and I on Halloween 2004.
From left: Nea-C, Me, my Mother, Sea-c (in the middle), Ree-C
PTSD is something that is very close to my family's heart. I feel for those who's lives have been touched by PTSD. For someone to experience such trauma in the first place is horrific but then to relive it over and over again to the point where it debilitates the mind, body, and soul is unspeakable. It is NEVER the person's fault whom is experiencing these things, therefore people with PTSD are NOT crazy. While my Mother was going through this some people caught wind of what was going on with my family. Instead of extending out a hand to help us in our time of need, they gossiped about, "How Dawn lost her mind!" or "Yeah, Dawn is crazy." Even though it is now ten years later, my Mother is still dealing with her PTSD, it is not something that just goes away. And even if my Mother is being silly and I or one of the girls says, "You're crazy ma" she feels the shame of ten years ago, and tells us not to call her that.
The stigma in place with the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an irrelevant form of shaming. My mom always says, "I don't judge anyone because I don't know their story, and I know that everyone has a story." Remember that before you place judgement on people because they appear different or act a certain way.
Photo of me and my mother Dawn,
taken when I was 2 years old.
To My Mama
Did you ever know that you're my hero? You're everything I wish I could be....are familiar words--(lyrics) to us, that still resonate with me to this day. Thank you for always putting all of us first. Even if it meant you never EVER getting a break. You never cease to amaze me, to this day you work two jobs and are in school to finsih up your degree. Everything I am has been created by what you have taught me, and not everything you have taught me was through words. Much of what I have learned from you has been through actions. I have learned to love whole heartedly no matter what (this is something that is our curse as well), I have learned that I am capable of anything, I have learned that our lord God loves me unconditionally, and has a plan for all of us. Through you I not only know of right and wrong but how to be more then just a decent human being. You inspire me everyday Mama, thank you for being the wind beneath my wings.