Growth is hard. If it was easy, more of us would take part. I’m in a new place of personal growth right now. One where when I get triggered, I’m wanting to work through it on my own using my tools. This is a shift for me. Which means it’s also a shift for those that have been my support until now. I still need my support structure, but I’m not needing others to be there in the same manner.
Adjustments are also hard. Change is something that many humans fight. Even when that change is good. Part of this is that change is uncomfortable and we humans do like our comfort. But change that makes for more comfort in the future is what’s tricky because we may want it and fight it at the same time. This is a bit of where I am now. I want to work through triggers on my own, but I also liked having folks I could call and lean on. I liked having a security blanket of people around me.
My current triggers have been some of the toughest to deal with. They are from events that used to lead me down the path of a planning my demise. These things were just too overwhelming, which meant the only reasonable option I could see at the time was planning for my death. But all that’s changed too. It’s taken years of hard work for me to get to this point, and now that I’m here dealing with the biggest triggering items, I also don’t have that ‘go to’ of a plan. I have nothing to fall back on. No exit button…
Yet I’m doing it. I’m working through this tough stuff. I’m working through it without jumping to suicidal thoughts. I’m doing it without freaking out and needing others to calm my triggers. And so much is me taking one step at a time and growing.
There was a time when people told me I’d have PTSD for the rest of my life. That all I’d be able to do was treat symptoms. And I know this isn’t true.
While I may always have unknown triggers pop up, I’m proving to myself day after day that hard work and the ability to grow make the difference. Most of my past triggers no longer trigger me. I’m confident that even the ones affecting me now will fade one day too.
Yesterday I ran into someone that I don’t know very well, but she’s someone that made a big difference in my life a while back. When I saw her, she told me that she knew I was going to be okay. Because the one thing she saw in me was that I knew what I wanted and needed, and I went for it. This has been true for much of my life. Though it’s only this last year or so that I’ve really seen the fruition of this.
Mostly, I had to get out of my own way. I had to stop allowing others’ judgments to prevent me from getting what I needed. I had to stop allowing others to shame me. I had to stop letting them guilt trip me into doing things I didn’t want to do. I had to stop listening to people that wanted to keep me in a neat little controllable box.
I think it’s easy for people that have known us for a long time to keep us in the places they are comfortable with us being. I don’t even believe this is an intentional thing. Just as I was comfortable staying where I was, the people around me were comfortable with that too.
This is where two things have helped me significantly; therapy and my D/s relationship.
My therapist is always asking me what something is doing for me. What am I getting out of the things I take part in? How does my participation make me feel? This has worked to get me thinking about my needs. How I’m affecting others is important too, but I’m usually centered around what others need and then meeting those needs. So this shift in thinking has helped me a lot because it’s moved me from thinking only about others to thinking about my needs, then others’ needs. Then finding balance.
The other thing that’s really helped is my D/s relationship. Before I entered into a serious D/s relationship, I thought that Doms/Dommes were all about meeting their needs. And this was fantastic for someone like me that just wanted to ‘people please’. I couldn’t wait to serve and not focus on myself at all.
I couldn’t have been more wrong about what healthy D/s looked like. I never thought that D would make me speak for myself. Or tell him what my needs were. That he’d actively support my needs and demand that anything we do be enthusiastically consented to on both our parts.
I really thought once I had a Dom I could just check out and float through, being told what to do all the time. And I have to admit, when I first realized that this wasn’t how my Dom operated, I felt a bit cheated. I didn’t want to speak my needs. I didn’t even want to have needs.
Now, of course, I’m thankful.
Him insisting I enthusiastically consent meant I had to actually want what I asked (begged) for.
Both situations reinforced that I needed to know what I wanted and needed, then actively pursue those things. They insisted I have agency, which is something that people that once tried to control me didn’t want me to possess. And this has led me to all the growth I’ve achieved and am still achieving.
Having agency means having personal power.
So much triggering comes from not being able to control our environment and I’m finding that my personal power is helping to balance this. The one thing I can control is me. This understanding is helping significantly in my recent set of triggers.
I know a lot of people with PTSD and if there’s one bit of advice I can give, it’s to be true to what you need in your healing process. Trust your instincts. Face your fears in as safe of manner as possible (I don’t suggest swimming with piranhas). Be vulnerable where you feel safe to. If I’m having a hard time being present with people, just saying that is helpful. Then I don’t worry about what they’re thinking in regard to my current state.
So much becomes possible when we stop putting judgment on everything. And this judgment is on us. Shaming is on us. Because we allow ourselves to feel these things.
That said, tonight’s post is dedicated to the wisdom of those that have guided me to having agency and taking the steps I needed to take to find this new place of growth. To those struggling with PTSD and working through triggers. And to Eleanor Roosevelt, for all her lovely quotes that still resonate today.