I read your post last night after returning from a trip to Children's Hospital. Your story has been on my mind and I appreciate you sharing it, as hard as it is to hear. It is hard to know that people suffer so much and face constant, unavoidable reminders of things that can't change. At the same time, it gives me strength to know I am not the only one who faces such pain. I have shared my story briefly before, so won't repeat it. But some of the things you mentioned shed light on some of my struggles as well. I was not actually in the ICU because our rural town doesn't have one. I was in the "closest section to the ER charge station" which counts as ICU. I went from being healthy to nearly losing my life in a matter of seconds when I experienced a postpartum hemorrhage. To save my life, they put me to sleep, tried to stop the bleeding, but could not. I woke up and was horrified to find my womb and other female organs had been removed. As in, I would never again have the possibility of having a baby. The shock was incredible. I still can't believe that happened. Upon going home a week later, the staff offered no mental health support other than a website which told me I was no longer a "real" woman because of my loss. They were so glad they "saved my life" and I was devastated that I would never be the same. It has affected my sense of identity and purpose, and now I know that other women who have experienced such loss suffer with suicidal thoughts and depression as well. The scar I carry is huge, and a constant reminder of how I was "gutted." That's how it felt. Something I have struggled with following the shock and loss is how people respond. They don't allow me to grieve the loss of my future as I had hoped for it. They don't allow me to grieve the loss of every time seeing a pregnant lady knowing that has been taken from me. They don't allow the sorrow and disappointment to exist. It makes me feel even more alone in my experience. I wish we as people were "allowed" to grieve loss and voice our disappointment with how things turn out.
This is only part of my story, I have also lost a baby to stillbirth from no known cause and my six month old son spent five weeks in the PICU last summer. He was on dialysis, had a colostomy, multiple surgeries, and is currently dealing with severe peroneal nerve damage and left ankle contracture. He will have another surgery next month and his scars and injuries are also a constant reminder to me of everything he went through and his trauma. I struggle too with guilt from seeing his medical challenges and feeling I should have/could have prevented them somehow.
I hope that you can find strength to be kind to yourself in everything you are facing. You said you struggle with a lot of guilt from attempting suicide. I have struggled with suicidal thoughts too and have wondered why I do. For me it is an expression of how deeply my grief and frustration and loss have changed me. It is a crazy feeling to be out of control, and yet we all are. No one is really in control, and that is a hard reality to face. I hope you can find grace, kindness and much patience with yourself. I will be thinking about you and wishing you strength for what you need. And, keep writing! Your words can give strength to other people struggling with PTSD too. You are not alone