The main character, Aaron, is in deep trouble. Being chased by a spy who has been altered physically and mentally. Aaron is the best, but he is losing ground against this machine of a man. They run into a building under construction. I am tensely watching to see what will happen next.
Rebar. The screen is covered in rebar poking out of concrete. Aaron is maneuvering his way through the maze. All I can see is rebar.
I don't intend to focus on the rebar. I'm watching a movie. It's just set dressing. It doesn't have anything to do with the story, but it's all I can see. Rebar like she raped and sodomized me with in the barn.
I start deep breathing. I adjust myself to a more upright position. I'm sitting up now. A more powerful position. One with more control. I slow my breathing. I have an internal dialogue. Whatever happens here -- control or anxiety -- is okay. There is no right or wrong reaction to the situation.
I couldn't have seen it coming. I can't quit going out in public or watching movies or reading books or looking at Pinterest, because something might crop up and trigger a memory.
I keep breathing and am suddenly re-engaged in the plot of the movie. I have survived the trigger without a full blown panic attack. I did it by myself, and I recognized what was happening in the moment. I stayed present through it all.
This is something huge. I am as used to triggers and flashbacks as one can ever become, I suppose, but this may be the first time I've made it through one fully present. It's a milestone of sorts. I took care of me. I didn't turn on me.
It doesn't mean it won't happen again. There will always be triggers as long as I am alive. And the odd thing is I wouldn't trade those horrific memories because, ultimately, they are a part of who I am. But I am truly grateful to have consciously survived this one on my own.
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