In my last post, I presented Dr. Louis Tinnin’s questionnaire, which helps people determine whether a medical procedure or surgery they experienced in infancy affects them today. As a survivor of infant surgery, here’s my layperson’s questionnaire. The intent is similar to Dr. Tinnin’s. If you’ve had an invasive medical procedure and/or a surgery as an infant before the mid-1980s, consider the following questions. Since it is very likely that you were not anesthetized for pain, you may have Post-traumatic Stress, depression, or any number of conditions because of this early experience.
1) Are you afraid of your body? Do you feel it’s out to harm you?
2) Do you often find yourself holding your breath without knowing why?
3) Do you pick at yourself, i.e. bite cuticles mercilessly, scrape off scabs, peel skin from your feet, and/or scratch itches until they bleed?
4) Do you wake up gritting your teeth? Is your jaw sore or tense from grinding?
5) Do you breathe shallowly?
6) Do you overeat or undereat? Do you starve yourself and then gorge?
7) Are you addicted to substances, such as alcohol or drugs? Have you struggled with addiction throughout your life? Once you kick one addiction, does another kick in?
8 ) Have you had suicidal thoughts? Have you tried to kill yourself?
9) Do you self-mutilate or self-harm? Have you cut yourself intentionally?
10) Do you take unnecessary risks? Do you put yourself in dangerous situations unnecessarily?
11) Do you find comfort in going to sleep at night? Do you feel comfortable relaxing in bed before sleep? Does sleep restore you? Do you wake with a sense of dread?
I would have answered yes to all of the questions above before therapy in my mid-twenties. I only recently figured out that I’ve had Post-traumatic Stress from my infant surgery without anesthesia my entire life. The good news is that once you realize the connection between your symptoms and the cause of those symptoms, you can recover from the trauma. You can find relief. You can even find ease and joy in life. There are steps one may take.