"You're not crazy."
I still remember the words a more seasoned loss mom spoke to me when she pulled me aside during prayer at that Bible study. I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn't know how much I needed to hear that. I had tried so hard to pull it together, but there were moments when I didn't know if there was something wrong with me. Or if whatever "it" was, if it would ever be fixed.
I've never had an official diagnosis for PTSD. But when she proceeded to explain what happens to your brain when you go through trauma, and the symptoms that follow it, it all suddenly made sense. I'd never been to counseling, but she had, and it helped her do a really good job at encouraging and supporting me. My cousin, who had also suffered a stillbirth, did a lot of research and had explained to me that when you go through something traumatic, your brain often doesn't know where to put all the new pictures and this can cause flashbacks until you figure out how to help it store them correctly. So that was really all the info I had until I met this lady. Now I had someone to share with in person (my cousin lives out of state) and we were able to talk through what was happening to me.
My cousin's advice was to put together all the good memories of Hope into a book, and while I think it did help my brain let go of some of the bad memories, I still had problems with flashbacks and I still panicked if I turned around and didn't see Leah for more than five seconds. I panicked often while pregnant with Gideon, thinking I was carrying Hope all over again and she wasn't moving enough. My brain couldn't seem to differentiate between Gideon and Hope. And there was nothing I could do to convince it of the truth. It really was weird and frightening. My new friend explained that I actually had a brain injury to recover from. This brain injury still existed after the Lord began to heal me of grief.
During the last meeting at the Freedom Center, the beautiful pictures of Hope in heaven and the reassurances the Lord shared with me did much for my sorrow. But He did something else that day. As we were asking Him to heal my heart, I looked, and I saw Jesus put His hand over my heart where it was still bleeding, stopping the flow of blood. While still holding His hand there, He said, "Til there isn't a drop left. You will never bleed again."
And that's the moment I believe I was completely healed of PTSD and grief. I used to have recurring nightmares of dead babies. Those have stopped. When I had flashbacks, it felt as though I was stuck in an old scene, that just kept occurring over and over again. It was usually something I had tried really hard to forget, yet my brain was determined I needed to deal with it somehow. At night I would cling to my husband, or wake up sobbing into my pillow. But no matter how hard or close or long he held me, he couldn't touch the wounds deep within my heart. I couldn't be consoled. The flashbacks wouldn't stop until Jesus came and literally touched that place inside me that no one else could. Then He said to me, "I've got you. You are safe. You can come to me anytime and I will always hold your heart." No one else can make me feel as safe and protected as He can!