Aug 11th, 2021
Me: “What do you mean there’s nothing medically wrong with my daughter? Doc - she hasn’t been able to walk for 10 hours. Her legs are convulsing. She has no feeling in her legs.”
ER Doc: “Her MRI and blood work have come back normal. There’s nothing wrong with her spine, there’s nothing wrong with her brain. She‘s experiencing psychosomatic symptoms due to PTSD and the trauma of losing her sister”
Psychosomatic Disorder - Psychosomatic disorder is a psychological condition that leads to physical symptoms, often without any medical explanation. It can affect almost any part of the body. Changes to electrical impulses in the brain do not play a role, but a past trauma, and anxiety may be the underlying cause.
From Aug 11th to present, our daughter has had multiple episodes of losing feeling in her legs. She is unable to walk for about 2 - 30hrs. Towards the end of an episode, she is both physically, and mentally exhausted.
As parents, as siblings - we are helpless. It’s hard to watch her go thru this pain. All we can do is offer emotional support. We try to put on a brave face, consoling ourselves that this too will pass.
How are you supposed to treat something with no medical attention? Behavioural therapy - well she’s seeing a therapist. She has also started EMDR therapy for her PTSD and Trauma.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
We have been monitoring the episodes trying to pin point what are the triggers. We try to limit the amount of stress in her life. But the episodes continue. One minute she’s a ‘normal’ young adult going through the motions of daily life and the next the seizures take over and she’s unable to walk. Her legs are taking the burden of her emotional pain.
Once again, I’m helpless and I’m exhausting religious and spiritual options. Tie a black thread on her, make sure she doesn’t wear the colour yellow, feed fish, feed the poor, do this on these days, say these prayers, try acupuncture, try reiki. Once again, I’m reminded that ’I DON’T HAVE CONTROL’!
Psychosomatic illness originates from or is aggravated by emotional stress and manifests in the body as physical pain and other symptoms. The most common physical pain in kids are stomach aches caused by anxiety. Children today are stressed on so many fronts: challenged socially, academically, having to cope with physical changes and development, the demands and influence of social media, trying to fit in and be accepted.
As a parent, you must ask questions about anything you notice. Your child’s physical condition is trying to tell you something about their mental state, their emotions, their fears.
It’s not just a stomach ache. You have to dig deep to figure out the underlying cause of the stomach ache. Learn to spot the sneaky signs of child anxiety, identify triggers of anxiety and teach your kids coping skills. Empower your kids to manage their anxious feelings. Teach your kids on how to thrive in social and academic settings.
Not all psychosomatic illnesses are as drastic as your child not being able to walk. But every child goes through some sort of physical condition as a result of not being able to cope with their feelings and emotions.