Tonight’s post doesn’t involve sex, kink, or poly. It involves something very different… A PTSD response within me, and the resulting understanding that came with it.
I was talking to a friend about something fun, totally full of excitement, and right in the middle of telling her what I’d spoken to someone else about, I realized that I’d accidentally shared something about her that wasn’t mine to share. I stopped talking, looked at others in the room, and suddenly was in another time, with a different person.
My focus was gone.
She told me to keep going, finish what I was saying, and I couldn’t at first. I was too confused. I kept trying to call her by someone else’s name, even though my brain said she wasn’t that person. I tried to finish what I was saying, but kept saying the wrong thing. I wasn’t making sense, even to me.
Eventually, my face flushed with heat, my breath got shallower, even my eyes started burning. I was triggered, and I was waiting for the backlash.
This all happened very fast, and the moment I realized that I might have revealed something I shouldn’t have about her, and that was the catalyst for my confusion, I told her and said I was sorry.
She said it was okay, and she didn’t seem mad, but I still had trouble focusing. I almost told someone else’s private stuff in the process, and decided I just needed to shut up. So I told her that, and laughed.
See that? I laughed.
I didn’t take myself so seriously. I didn’t judge myself.
I have Complex PTSD. Getting triggered happens. It will keep happening. But tonight was very different in that shortly after company left, I got in the car to go to the store and couldn’t remember how to drive. This was my big red flag shouting, “You! You’re still triggered! Better get this under control!” I’d thought by merely addressing what I’d done, that the feeling would subside, and it mostly did. But not all. I needed to address more, but within myself.
I didn’t start the car, and instead, sat there until I figured it all out, because I couldn’t understand my response to the situation.
What I came to was that I’d been around someone in my past that used to freak out and scream at me if I said the wrong thing or shared something I shouldn’t have in her opinion. I felt like a hostage with that person. With more than one of these types of people, in fact. I kept hostile company in my past, and it’s because I was so used to being around crazy people, that those types of responses were what I thought was normal.
I did begin to see that normal, healthy people don’t scream at you when you accidentally out them about something, or share too much. Healthy people may get upset for a minute, but they accept your apology and move on. Or they tell you to give yourself a break, that there’s a lot on your plate. Essentially, they are understanding and compassionate.
Crazy people aren’t.
They belittle, tell you how terrible you are, and before I really started dealing with my PTSD and past trauma, I’d allow this type of behavior and treatment from people that claimed to be friends or family.
Tonight was a great example of how far I’ve come.
The moment I realized I shared something I shouldn’t have, I told her. I apologized. I owned it, even if she said it wasn’t a big deal.
When it became apparent that the feeling wasn’t going away, rather than have more panic, I stopped myself and asked myself why I was having this response. Doing that made me put all these things together.
This may not seem like that big of deal, but when I’d get triggered before, sometimes it could last a month before I realized it. Then, after therapy and weeding the unhealthy out of my life, those triggerings shortened to a week, then more healing, and they shortened to a day or two, and tonight, I figured it out within a half an hour. I addressed it. I explained to my friend that’s what was happening, since it can be alarming to physically watch someone disassociate, and I didn’t need to reach out to others to help me out of this triggery place. I did it on my own, by reasoning with myself and looking at each thing that transpired and compared it to other things I’d experienced.
This is a huge step and accomplishment for me, and I’m sharing because when I first realized I had PTSD, I never thought I’d be able to handle it. I thought it would cripple me, as it had been for most of my life. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Now I do.
Facing my past doesn’t make that past go away, but facing it does make it easier for me to be present in the here and now. It’s not been easy, let me tell you! Sometimes it hurts like hell to face these things, but they are necessary. Dealing with them, feeling the pain as I unfold the things that make me trigger and disassociate, means that when things like tonight happen, I can deal quickly and move on. I don’t have to dwell or continue to live in that terrible place of constant worry that I’m about to be punished for something.
Guess this means I’m free. 🙂