In my constant search for more information and better solutions to my son’s diabetic problems and blood disorder, I stumbled across an informative article at Daddy Types that can be found at the bottom of the page under “Inspirations and Resources”. The article covers Parental PTSD and how an illness in children affects their parents. It was a great read, and the topic has shed some light on my situation as a father.
It’s almost cliché to say that there is nothing worse than finding out your child has a disease, illness, or disorder. Actually, it is cliché, but I’ll say it anyway.
There is nothing worse than finding out your child has a disease, illness, or disorder.
I’ve found that many friends, family, and acquaintances almost blow the whole situation off, dismissing it as not that big of a deal unless your child is laying on his or her deathbed. It’s sad that people will roll their eyes a bit when you say something about your children’s health problems, but a parent needs to get over the reaction of other people quickly. There are much more important things to deal with than the reaction of inconsequential and selfish people. Your focus needs to be on your family.
You see, when a child has a serious illness, it pulls on everything that holds your family together. Your relationship with your significant other is strained, and you can go through emotional, psychological, financial, and legal problems that are brutal on the entire family. When the dust settles, studies have shown that nearly all families in this situation have at least one parent with a largely undiagnosed case of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These parents suffer from fear, guilt, and depression.
Fear – In a 2004 study published in the journal of Pediatric Psychology, it was found that nearly all families that have been through the diagnoses and treatment of a child with a serious illness had at least one parent who felt anxiety when a TV advertisement for the illness played or when returning to the hospital for follow-up appointments. Many of these parents avoided talking about the issue out of fear.
I share this fear. For me, it’s more of an anxiety, where my mind tends to work harder than it should. Others aren’t as lucky.
Guilt – One of my first reactions to both my son’s diagnoses of ITP (blood disorder) and diabetes, although two years apart, was to question what I did wrong. Did I feed my son the wrong foods? Was there a problem with my genetics? I am the father and I take responsibility in my role as a father, so I immediately questioned what I could have done differently. The answer? Nothing. My son’s blood disorder has no known cause and just happens in people of different backgrounds for seemingly no reason. My son’s diabetes was type-1 and was not the result of a poor diet. My guilt still makes me question whether I could do anything differently.
Depression – Financially, I’ve been very depressed and sometimes even angry concerning the treatment of my son. His treatments are expensive and I am often without health insurance to cover part of those costs. The quickest and most devastating blow to my ego is when I feel I cannot provide for my family, and so I become depressed.
It only takes one person experiencing the symptoms of PTSD to affect the entire family and how that family functions. There are so many thoughts and emotions at odds with each other, both individual and in the entire family, that trouble is bound to occur.
The same protective instinct that drives parents to go to war against cancer can make the battles faced in treatment especially hard.
Inspirations and Resources
Thank you for viewing Real Men, Real Dads. To support the site is as simple as reading posts, spreading the word, or even clicking on our advertising links on the right hand side. Please enjoy your time here on the blog!
Filed under: Family/Life, Featured, My Son has ITP, My Son is a Diabetic · Tags: blood disorder, budget, children, Dad, daddy, dads, diabetes, emergency fund, expenses, family, family finance, father, fatherhood, Fathers, fear, Featured, finance, Idiopathic Thombocytopenic Purpura, income, ITP, marriage, men, money, parenting, parents, real dads, Real man, Real men, relationships, son, wife