Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Triggers and Learning To Do Things Differently.

     Last night I was triggered and ended up feeling helpless and cornered which led me quickly to rage and the familiar feeling of wanting to run away. I felt like I hated everyone and wanted to throw things and scream.  I wanted to run away from home. I became short tempered and it felt like my nerves were raw. Noise bothered me even more than usual and I was seething inside. I snapped at my daughter for making too much noise while doing the dishes and was furious with my son for unplugging the wireless router by mistake. I pushed the dog away from me and wished I could disappear.
     However, I didn't run away from home or scream or throw things and I didn't allow myself to disappear.  I toughed it out and talked about it. The difference for me these days is that I can recognize triggers sooner and talk about it which helps it go away quicker and not to escalate. Last night was a good example of how choosing not to act instinctively on my feelings, but listening to my head is a much better choice.
     My feelings last night were not really rooted in the “here and now” anyway. These feelings had much more to do with the "back there and then." My usual emotional reaction has been to feel cornered, get mad and then to run away either physically or emotionally. If I had listened to that and reacted as I'd always done, I'd still feel badly today and be fighting with my "here and now" family.  In reality, it was really my "back there and then" family that I was mad at.
     Because I did what I knew to be right rather than what I felt like doing, I was able to talk to my husband and even to apologize to my daughter for biting her head off. I decided to post it on Facebook, (which I NEVER would have done before), and got some good support from people I wouldn't have expected it from. I told the truth about how I felt and I didn't die! That might sound silly, but that's really how I used to feel. I was so afraid of letting anyone see the ugliness I had inside that I actually thought it might kill me to do so. In the past, I always pretended I was alright, no matter how bad I felt.     
     Today I am learning to be real with myself and others, so, today is a whole new day and I'm OK just as I am!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Will the Real Me Please Stand Up...

I’m beginning to emerge from my recent hibernation and today, 
I can see that light at the end of the tunnel! 

     I had gone into hiding for a couple of months feeling pretty hopeless. I stopped returning phone calls, stayed home alone as often as I could and I found it difficult to find my words. I was feeling disconnected from my family, friends, my therapist, God and myself. My mind wandered back into thoughts of self loathing and despair. Again, I found myself in that familiar dark place. 
     When I go there it frightens me because crazy things begin to seem rational. In that place, death feels inevitable and welcome. I flirt with the macabre and fantasize about dying. When I’m there I am unable to reach out for help. I don’t even want help when things are that bad. I want only unhealthy things. I don’t sleep enough and I eat too much. I can’t stop worrying about how messy my house is, yet I feel powerless to clean it.

When I’m that bad, I can barely manage to shower or brush my teeth.

    Considering how badly I have been feeling, it seems especially freeing to crawl out from the isolation and sadness into the light of a new day. I have turned another corner and I have hope. So how did this happen exactly? What is different today than last week or last month?

I think there are a few things that may have contributed to this upturn. 

     The days are getting longer and there are signs that spring has indeed “sprung!” Warmer weather and brighter days have always helped to lighten my mood, but there is something more going on here.
    I’ve continued to move forward with the work of healing even when I didn’t feel like it was working because I still have faith that it will. I am blessed with a loving husband, dear friends and an awesome therapist, but mostly with the belief that God has not forgotten me.

These things sustain me even when I feel like I cannot take one more step.

    Even though I can’t always find my words, I still connect through on-line support groups and social media like facebook. Reading what others have written about their struggles, writing about my own; supporting them and being supported by them has helped more than I ever would have imagined.
    All these things have made a difference, but perhaps the biggest change I have made is that I have become more genuine with others, with myself and with God.

I am allowing myself to be real. 

     It’s not that I’ve been a phoney or have pretended, but it has been my practice to try to be what I think others want or expect me to be. I have a real fear of letting people down or disappointing them. I hide my pain, fear and shame. I worry about making others comfortable at my own expense. I stuff my anger and I hide my true self because I’m sure I’m no where near good enough.

I want to please and I want to be acceptable, although I rarely believe that I am.

    Today, however I am choosing to believe that I am God’s girl and that He loves me; therefore I’m lovable. I know that I will have hard times again and I pray that I can remember how I feel right now. I want to remember that today, I feel hopeful. I want to be helpful to my fellow survivors when they too have dark days. I want a better life for myself, my husband, my kids and for God who does indeed have a plan for my life.
     I will end on this positive note and I hope that you, the reader will help yourself to my strength today. God knows, I may need to borrow some of yours someday!