Wednesday, June 18, 2014


We are on vacation and watching a movie in the room. The Bourne Legacy. He has seen it before. I have not. Typically for us, I become increasingly engrossed in the movie and he falls asleep.

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 know it's happening, and I know it will go one of two ways. I shake my head and tell myself to stop it. Stop focusing on the rebar. I know even as it's happening. I am having a flashback. I will either breathe through it or move into a panic attack.

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.

linking up with Just Write


  1. Replies
    1. Yes it is. And I am proud of myself, and very appreciative that you understand. Peace!


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