Tag Archives: trauma survivor

Maybe Tomorrow, I’m Triggered Today

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*this post is gently re-blogged from Jennifer Kindera*, Trauma Recovery Coach

I can’t look in the mirror today. I’ve done it before, looked at me when I’m triggered and I know what I will see. Vacant eyes telling a thousand stories that I can’t face yet again. I don’t want to face it yet again. When I’m like this, it’s all I can do to get out of bed. Function normally? Yeah, not so much. My brain knows that it’s because of the PTSD, the funk of being triggered, marinating in the past, reliving pain that I put to bed over and over again, through therapy, EMDR and mindfulness. I recognize the signs, my signs. I’ve been doing this thing for a while, walking through triggered, the chaos of heart rate, the anxiety anvil which sits on my chest, over-reacting to the little things, bottling up, stuffing down all the emotional warfare going on inside me, the chaos waiting to swallow me whole.

My Littles have been tearful and enraged by turns for a few days. It’s not my new normal, just my normal. Holidays, I trantrum. We put the Christmas tree up yesterday and that always seems to send me into the darkness. The abyss that is so real, where other people have twinkly lights and nice families and happily-ever-afters and I just blindly can’t see in the pitch-black pit of silent gore. But it’s not the tree or the holidays or <fill in the blank.> It’s my trauma rearing it’s head again. It’s wading in the desolate mire that says, oh you didn’t think I wouldn’t visit again, did you? My Inner Critic delights in the coming, it’s like a four year old the day before their birthday party, jumping up and down telling me everything I’ve done to heal isn’t enough, I better get busier, be better, let go more, or my old frenimie Shame will come a-knocking.

 

How long does it last? The awful apathy, nothing is good enough, leave me the fuck alone backasswards like I’m Sissypus and just one more time I’m gonna push that boulder up the mountain and it’s going to slide right back down.

Maybe tomorrow it will fade. I took my herbs today, made sure I ate, tried to work, used my tools. The lethargy is all-consuming though. I do know that once what took me three weeks to work through now might take three days. That’s great, wait what day am I on? How many layers are there anyway to this trauma recovery?

A friend said today, don’t give up. Don’t give in, whatever that looks like. If it means my socks don’t match and I stay in my pajamas all day, then that’s a win because I’m upright. If I hold my tongue when the nasty words want to spill out and rip across another person to project my pain, then that’s a win. The broken pieces of me are like shards of glass and as I keep on keeping on, shining light into the dark places it feels like infection spreading. There was a time when I thought I was the infection. I know in my head, if not in my heart that if I am struggling it’s okay.

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s my mantra today. It’s.Okay.

It’s okay if you are struggling too. It’s okay because our healing isn’t linear or logical, it’s messy and ugly sometimes. It’s okay because some days it’s all we can do to breathe in and breathe out. It’s okay because no matter how dark it gets, the dawn will come. It’s okay because I may not be able to see the dawn for a few days, but at some point this panic weight will lift and I will settle again. It’s okay because I get to lean into the feelings, and peel back another layer of my painful past. It’s okay when it sucks and I don’t want to do just one more thing. Longer perhaps in between now and the next time, maybe. The Roman philosipher Seneca said, “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” I agree.

And, it’s okay.

 

 

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that little dog Norm….

Even though Norm lost one leg, he is adapting well to having  3…

Suffering in any form is a huge trigger for me.  Animal suffering is a trigger so big that I almost instantly spill over the edge, very little warning, just simply gone.

I take huge precautions that the average person probably doesn’t in terms of limiting my exposure to any information. Current events, politics, visual images or stories retold by friends at a gathering are heavily censored items.  I do not watch the news. Ever.  The chosen stories are tragic and sensationalized for the purpose of gaining followers (translating into more money) and rarely report anything truly noteworthy or with purpose.  After all, how many house fires, bodies in the river, assaults can one really stomach without just losing their noodle?  These images most likely will pass right through the average Joe but its totally different for a trauma survivor with PTSD and huge anxiety issues.  Mostly, its like someone took a branding iron and seared the image into my brain.  It stays there and hurts for a very long time.

Thank goodness one can limit/pick/choose what they read on Facebook. And I really struggle with the agenda of  the animal and rescue organizations which often cite cases of abuse, not exclusively for gaining readership but in an effort to inform and rally support for a cause.  Somewhat different in my book.  Such is the case of Norm, a dog found near death, barely breathing, in a weeded area in St. Louis city during a record heat wave of temperatures over 100 degrees.  This dog was found so mangled that the rescuer angel and saint, Randy Grim of  Stray Rescue of St. Louis, recognized immediately that this dog was not only a victim of a dog fighting ring that operated in the area but it had been used as a bait dog. What? Did I hear that right? My brain winces and sizzles… At the mere mention of the word “bait”, I was gone….eyes glazed, mind numbing gone.

What kind of soul-less creature would purposely and maliciously use another for the purpose of entertainment of such a vicious nature?  What kind of person is so removed from their essence to set out to harm an animal in such a way?  Then it hit me.  I knew those people.  I knew those men.  It wasn’t a reach to remember that I not only knew them but experienced their cruel and selfish acts.  Acts perpetuated for the sole purpose of their depraved pathology and base pleasures.

This story is just ripe with metaphors for me.

One of the characteristics of a psychopath is having a lack of empathy for another, showing no remorse or guilt.  The people who participate in baiting dogs against each other and leaving them for dead, are psychopaths.  And here I am again, totally having to find a way to hold onto myself as the world starts spinning around, just because I read a story about a dog rescue.

The word “rescue” has huge meaning for me.  The obvious points to my blog title but the concept of a rescuer has always been incredibly alluring to me.  When one is a child who is being molested/abused/violated/shamed, it is the only thing you can imagine.  That child’s ultimate hope isn’t for great toys for Christmas, ice cream for dinner or a vacation to Disneyworld.  That child wants to be heard and rescued. Plain and simple, they want relief.  And I’m speaking for myself and probably other surivors when I say that the concept of having a figurehead in your life so strong and emotionally together, that they come to rescue you from a horrid situation, is so far fetched that it borders on fantasy.  From my experiences, its far more likely that a superhero will swoop down and intervene than for an actual rescuer to manifest in an abused child’s life.  Cynical yes, but sadly, fairly close to the truth.

So the actual manifestation of a person who rescues is so enamoring to me, that although Norm’s story is gruesome, I can’t get enough of the giddy feeling of liberation that I feel when this dog is carried to safety and ultimately to a well equipped facility who will give it round the clock emergency care.  I’m absolutely mesmerized and am carried back in time to many childhood moments of near breakdown, pleading with the divine for help, for a rescuer.

Norm hovered for days near death.  Hundreds of people prayed for him and left messages on Facebook wanting continual updates.  I couldn’t get him off my mind.  During this time, with the image of Norm branded on my brain I ultimately emerged with the final thought of this post.  Could a soul, animal or human, stripped of dignity and depersonalized so savagely, come out of the experience anything less than a monster?  Would this animal ever be able to trust or lead any kind of life resembling normal or worthwhile?  And the obvious parallel is how do I?

I’m going to let the photo below speak for itself to answer that question.  Hope is renewed.

After days of growling and biting his caregivers, he licks the face of Randy Grim, the man who rescued him.


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