Wednesday, January 22, 2014

PTSD and Triggers

"There will always be triggers."

But so often in such unexpected places. A pin on Pinterest? Really? A simple crochet pattern?

It never occurred to me to steel my courage before going to Pinterest. Why would it? But there it was. Harmless to others and an immediate reminder for me of terror and pain.

Life can be a minefield for abuse survivors. I find myself going along just fine. Fully accepting my past while living in the present and moving toward the future with so much less fear. And then WHAM! The rug is pulled out from under me. I am a terrified 5 year old again (or 6 or 7 or 8 . . . ). 

I talked with my therapist about this after the last trigger hit. It caught me so off guard, and she reminded me that's the way of triggers and PTSD. I was reminded how much I hate the lasting impact of trauma. Trauma isn't a one time event. It stays with me indefinitely. Even when it's dealt with, it can still rise up out of nowhere and stab me in the chest. 

The key is to apply those lessons I've learned. To put all the therapy to use in that moment. To recognize what's happening and address what is real -- the abuse is not happening now. I have already survived this episode. This is just a reminder, and if I breathe deeply and focus on the present, I will survive this too. Being shaken is not a sign of weakness, but rather a normal reaction to a traumatic event. I'm not a bad person, living in the past, because the present reminds me of the past sometimes. I am a person who survived trauma. It's part of who I am. Every day.



2 comments:

  1. I am so sorry you were triggered. Your responses are healthy and truth-filled.

    Christy @ A Heartening Life
    www.ahearteninglife.com

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