100 Days of Healing – Day 50

I’m getting a little tired of a juice diet, and I’m feeling really tired for the first time this week. I made a cake this morning, and not licking my fingers even once was much harder than I expected. But I did it. Two more days.

When my boyfriend and I talked about what happened Tuesday, we had completely different perceptions of what had happened. So now I’m wondering if this goes in the category of Big Misunderstanding or Relationship-Ending Behavior. I don’t know if my expectations are way off and I’m part of the communication problem and my perception is skewed by experiencing such a bad trigger, or if I’m right in line with what’s best for me.

What I have realized through this is that “You’re not valued”, however that message comes across to me, is the worst trigger I experience. It makes me bolt. Shut down, get out, get away, done. And I don’t even know where to begin with that one.

100 Days of Healing – Day 28

I got punched in the brain by my own brain last night. Shit.

One texted sentence that was completely innocuous lined up trauma after trauma after trauma in my brain, then jetted straight down that neuron path and off the rails. It was one of the fastest trigger-to-panic attack experiences I’ve ever had, and wow does the mind work fast.

I was at the start of flossing and brushing my teeth when it happened, so I kept on with that, and it kept me steady enough that when I finished I started to slowly climb through the wreckage to try to figure out what had just happened. I decided that was a great time to quit the day and go to bed, still carefully stepping through what could have done that.

Ah. That word, that experience, that feeling, what I’ve been concerned about for the last few weeks…and my brain connected them all and clubbed itself with it. Shit.

I woke up early because of my neighbor’s diesel truck, and had a lot of anxiety as soon as I woke up. I never like that, and usually try to go back to sleep to see if I calm down. I didn’t. I dreamt that I got a text message from a stranger, and because I opened it he was able to hack my phone, then my computer, so I was trying to work on my computer but realized I was being hacked and I couldn’t stop it and I didn’t want him to have what was on my computer but was still getting text messages that my phone wouldn’t let me delete or block. I got to the point that I knew I needed to wake up to get out of the dream, but when I started waking up I experienced sleep paralysis and I left my body for a few moments.

I’ve heard of trauma survivors feeling as though they experienced things from outside their body or being paralyzed, but I haven’t experienced those things myself until this morning. I didn’t like it, I had really high anxiety, and I went right back to sleep because I just couldn’t deal.

I’m cognitively pretty slow today. I was waking up when my boyfriend called, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t expecting what tumbled out of my mouth. I mean, who would? It was enough to make me get up and eat breakfast, and I’ve decided to stick with the easier side of what I need to get done today. I have a project my mom needs me to do for my grandma and I’m supposed to be at a bridal shower this evening with a gift and recipe in hand. I can do that. I think. Maybe.

I don’t feel like this was a setback, just a big bump that maybe blew a tire? It was a lot to handle, but I’m glad that I have been able to bring myself back to center while being forgiving toward myself about what I can and cannot do today.

100 Days of Healing – Day 16

As I’m “catching up to now”, processing unprocessed trauma, one of the hardest things for me about processing trauma is reliving it. Having to feel things I didn’t the first time because I was shut down or unable to while I was trying to survive what was happening.

Last year my parents were going away for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary early. They never went because my brother’s work injury happened on Thursday.

Fast forward a year and some change, and my parents are going a couple of towns over for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary. I am completely freaked out and have to stay close to home.

Because it’s a trigger. Because my brain tells me that my brother gets hurt when my parents plan to go out of town. If I go somewhere I won’t be available if there is an emergency. THERE IS GOING TO BE AN EMERGENCY.

This is now affecting my willingness to move forward with my travel plans, because I HAVE TO BE HOME THIS WEEKEND quickly turns into I CAN NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE. I go through waves of panic the whole time I’m trying to calm myself and disconnect the things that don’t belong together – trauma and my parents leaving town.

I got four solid days of work in this week, and I’m glad for that because yesterday I had to retreat back into processing space to deal with this.

When Someone You’re Close to Triggers You

My boyfriend triggered me the other day, and my brain is now reading him as a threat.

He didn’t mean to, but he did something that I’ve previously expressed can be triggering for me. It was a communication issue, and he dropped the ball, so to speak, without having a reason or explanation why. I was PISSED, not only because I had been triggered but now I was facing having to do the work to make him not be a threat. Work I really wasn’t sure I even wanted to do.

Avoiding is easier!

But.

I am working hard to not avoid, to face my challenges and the reasons behind them and I am really trying to heal. It’s hard, it’s scary and it makes me sleep a lot. It makes me react a lot when I even think it should be a fairly calm scenario.

Throw on top of that a person I am close to and trust triggering me because he didn’t bother to do something that is, frankly, common courtesy at least and for me a necessity.

So I did what I have a really hard time doing. In my last decade I had a lot of people run roughshod over my boundaries – a lot of that at work, but trauma stacks up, and I had some traumatizing work experiences. I set a hard line boundary of what I will and will not tolerate, and made peace with whatever outcomes resulted from holding that line.

The result has been both of us working to calm the effects of the trigger, a good weekend, honesty and some teamwork.

What It’s Taking to Stay Calm

Grandma gets up between 1 and 2am to move from her bed to her recliner because she sleeps better in her recliner. Which means I get up to move her. She says her legs hurt when she lays in bed, but she won’t sleep all night in the recliner because she wants to not be sitting for a couple of hours.

She makes everything hard.

Despite demanding that the air conditioner be turned off at night because it wakes her up when it kicks on (she claims she doesn’t sleep anyway so hell if I understand why we need to be unnecessarily warm), she pulled her throw over her legs after I moved her, and tipped her recliner forward. You know, like you do as a kid on purpose.

But this wasn’t (was it?) On purpose, so there’s a thunk and a panicked help and me bolting off the couch to set her upright before she lands on the floor.

I have PTSD. Bolting out of any excuse for a bed in the middle of the night is not great for me, because the sudden rush of adrenaline can be a trigger. And usually is.

Since my family won’t support me and I’m left managing my condition by myself, I’m trying to stay calm, take on as few responsibilities as possible and keep my panic response in check until I can go home tomorrow afternoon. Which means I’m exhausted by 5, hungry all the time and still not really getting back the brain function that’s shut down by anxiety. I have very little energy, and will likely spend the weekend in bed.

Coffee and Beer Aren’t Meals

I know I have a specific set of limits. If I don’t eat, my blood sugar drops and I get pissed at everything. If I don’t stay hydrated it’s a similar experience. If I don’t stay hydrated and I’m out in the sun I’m likely to vomit or pass out.

Drink water. Eat. It’s that simple.

So simple I forgot, so when all I had all day was coffee and beer and eventually some fried fast food garbage, I hit PTSD panic hard. Everything was bad, I couldn’t communicate, couldn’t figure out what I needed and couldn’t hit the pause button to stop and sort it out.

And I was pretty sure none of it was my fault.

Somewhere in the back of my head I’m probably resentful that I need that much effort to not go to pieces. I was busy and had a packed travel schedule, and didn’t want to take the time to do what I needed. Well, that’s going to have to stop.

I almost did it again this morning by not eating breakfast till 11 and then…

Drink water. Eat. No meltdown (at least not today).