Living with PTSD: When Good is a Trigger

In the last two days I have started to feel good. My PTSD symptoms seem to be significantly reduced, I have more energy and am more interested in personal projects, and I am willingly exercising, taking breaks from work and stopping work when it’s time to stop for the day. I’m looking into creative projects for myself and for work, and I seem to be paying much more attention to what’s going on around me.

The last two times this happened I was blindsided about a week later by trauma. It has taken me months to recover from both.

My parents are headed on a vacation that my mom is really excited about, and rightly so. They’ve been through the same trauma, and it’s been a long, hard effort to get everyone well and stable. I’m excited for them, and I think it’s long overdue.

My parents were supposed to leave town the day after my brother’s accident. They spent the weekend and the week after in the ICU with him.

My body remembers. Parents plan to leave town: trauma. I start feeling really good: trauma. I’m usually blindsided by trauma anniversaries and triggers, and I spent the month of October struggling to cope with the terror lodged in my brain. This time I know what’s coming, I know how I feel, I quickly recognized the circumstances, and I am making a plan to address them the best I can. I’m having someone stay with me this weekend so that I’m not alone (and therefore all up in my own head), I have plans to do things I enjoy with people I enjoy, and I don’t have any set responsibilities, only a plan of action in case an emergency happens. I communicated how I feel and what this is like for me, my concerns have been acknowledged and accommodated without negativity from anyone involved in helping me, and I am so, so grateful that even though positive growth and change can be a trigger, then can also be an opportunity for better.

100 Days of Healing – Day 56

I have had a lot of boomerangs in my life – people who just won’t stay gone. Mostly guys I’ve dated come back around for another chance, but sometimes it’s former friends who can’t help reminding me why I stopped talking to them in the first place.

Boundaries, right? I’m learning to do that.

I had a pretty long Monday, and my workday ended when my internet cut off mid-email to a client. It eventually came back, but I was dead in the water as far as what I was trying to get done, I couldn’t do a yoga video, and I decided to go for a walk.

Something was really bothering me though, and I was pissed.

When I finally sorted it out, it was over a shitty comment on social media.

I had been transcribing an ordinance that had been so badly scanned that my software couldn’t convert it. It was badly written to begin with, and full of Oxford commas, which I don’t use so they are not in my typing pattern. I kept having to stop and insert them back into the transcribed text, and I found it annoying. I shared my annoyance on social media, posting, “My workday is plagued by Oxford commas.”

My brother commented that he likes them. My friend’s wife asked her who she is associating with. A girl I went to college with replied, “Well, if you really want to risk losing millions in a lawsuit, you just go right ahead and leave out those lovely, clarifying Oxford commas 

And no, she didn’t punctuate her sentence.

This is a person I finally stopped talking to several months after we graduated because she was so negative all the time. She drained me, and I couldn’t take it anymore. We’re still friends on social media, and have had very little interaction over the years. I did congratulate her recently when she earned a significant professional achievement – and this is how she repaid me.

I’m not going to lose millions over it. The ordinance, which I did not write, might generate some lawsuits if not fixed, and it has nothing to do with the commas – any of them. And she had no idea what I was working on or why, because we didn’t talk about it. So I find her comment unnecessary and, like so many comments of hers before, negative without real basis. And negative about something I’m doing that has nothing to do with her.

Which got me thinking about two other people who sometimes reply to my posts and always with completely unnecessary and unwelcome comments.

I don’t talk to any of these three people in real life, and with the exception of my congratulatory note, I don’t comment on their posts.

So why am I so hesitant to unfriend them? I don’t have any real consequences from cutting them off, and doing so will remove a negative aspect of my life that I genuinely don’t enjoy or appreciate. Do I wait for another annoying response to one of my posts to pop up? Do I let them know I don’t appreciate their comments? Do I unfriend them in the dead of night?

I very rarely cut people off, even people who have done me a lot of harm. Maybe it’s time I stop allowing that kind of behavior?