Joshua, Mom

What to do when stress from past trauma lingers

10/10/2007 Carol-Beth’s journal

Tonight Joshua went to dance class. He’s taking a hip hop class and a tap class. During the tap class a little girl who’s about a head taller than him decided that staring at him, but not speaking, would be fun. He didn’t think it was fun. I checked in on him and could tell he wasn’t OK, but he signaled the OK sign through the glass window. I went back a second time, and when he saw me, he asked to be excused from his class. I took him around the corner and he began to cry in that way 9 year old boys have, where they have somehow already decided they need to be brave so they breathe in deep,stand extra tall and pretend they don’t know there are tears leaking out of the corner of their eyes.

“What happened?” I asked.

That girl wouldn’t stop staring at me.

“I know,” I said. “I think she likes you, because you’re cute.”

I don’t want to go back in there.

“Why? You love your tap class.”

Sam used to look at me like that. He stared at me all the time when you didn’t know about it.

“That must have been terrible, baby. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.”

Well, I can’t go back in there.

“Isn’t there some way we can figure it out?” I asked. “I know you’re strong and we can figure out a way to deal with this little girl.”

I don’t want to be around her anymore.

“But then your tap class will be taken away. I hate that. Don’t you?”

Yes.

So, we went to his teacher and he found a class he’s going to try tomorrow. He talked it through for a good hour after we came home. He’s getting ready for bed right now.

I hate it that even now, four years later, he is haunted by evil eyes from his past. That little girl had no idea what she was doing. I am glad that he knows he has every right to leave a situation where he’s uncomfortable. And, I’m grateful his dance studio was so ready to help.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s being haunted by your past. We do well much of the time, but it is still there. This is how we dealt with it today.

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