About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
Search This Blog
Books that shifted paradigms
Walking Barefoot on Facebook
Login
« Building back the buffers | Main | The thing with teeth in the middle of my chest »
Tuesday
Oct022012

Turning off the triggers

When I am in the brown box, I am fatalistically certain I will never see daylight again.

The extremes are extreme: I will never care again. This is now the state of my life. This is my new normal.
I will never be joyful again. I will never be able to escape my head again. I will never wake up with a light heart.

"In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent...it is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul" (Styron, Darkness Visible, 62).

 

I fear for all the bad that might/could happen. Each new thing feels like one scoot closer to falling into the vortex in my chest- we get a letter about the fire from an insurance company saying there might be a court case, the two insurance companies are having a hard time settling, and I am catapulted back to November 2011 and my house is burning once again.

 

I am dis-integrated, reacting out of the past. 

It's called being triggered- something will happen and I will react out of the past place instead of the present now.


Michael and I have a disagreement, and I walk out of the house and just keep walking; it's dark out, my neighbors are eating dinner, their windows glow with life, and I walk and cry, certain my husband and I will never come to a resolution, that this is the beginning of the end; somewhere, I know I've been triggered, that his motorcycle accident, the threat of losing him, shows up here, in this fight: "I am losing him. We are falling apart."  

Kyrie puts a cashew in Phoenix's mouth, and before he starts to choke, I see it; I grab him out of his walker, thrust my finger up to my knuckle down into his mouth, and pull the cashew out. I am dispassionate, completing this operation. And then, when I have blood on my finger from scraping his throat, and he is in my arms, still breathing, just fine, I hand him to my best friend, and I run into the house, fall on the bed, and heave with soundless sobs; it's not just the legitimate fear of losing him, it's a trigger for his traumatic birth, for all the stitches, for the threat of loss- the potential for loss is a huge trigger for me.

 

My therapists says to learn new self-talk, to say I am safe, I am healing. It's called cognitive behavioral therapy- it's a program designed to challenge dysfunctional thinking by rationally analyzing and disarming destructive thoughts. 

 

When my best friend came to visit for three weeks, we worked together to dis-arm the triggers. I would freak out, and she would grab my shoulders, look me in the eye and say: this is not reality. This is the past. Let it go. You are being triggered.

When she would go mute out of fear, rising from nowhere, I would lie down beside her on the couch and speak truth: You are loved. You are safe.  This feeling, is not who you are. Jesus adores you. He will rescue you.

And then we would pray together. With her help, I can recognize the triggers. I can say to Michael, even in the midst of a thrashing wild emotional reaction, "Can you see how I am over-reacting right now? I need you to hold me. I need you to tell me I am safe. Please be gentle with me." 

It's horribly humbling, so intensely vulnerable to admit such weakness and need, but it is working to re-integrate me and turn off the triggers.

 

Each of you that has written me, said "me too" with courage and grace, offered pieces of your story- you have taken my shoulders, looked me in the eye, and spoken words of life and hope to my soul. You are helping turn off the triggers.

 

I have no words in return to thank you.

I am deeply humbled, overwhelmingly grateful by your investment in my journey. I feel so lucky that in the midst of this dark time, I have incredible support, unconditional love- such depth of relationship with so many.  I know many people don't have this, and I know it's helping me heal. Your willingness to bear the burden with me is a sacrifice on your part; I cannot repay it, but I believe that you are giving me the strength to tell this part of my story, and my prayer is that if I can tell it, other women can find comfort and help in reading it- and in this, your investment in my life multiplies to reach so many more.

 

"It is of great importance that those who are suffering a siege, perhaps for the first time, be told- be convinced, rather-that the illness will run its course and that they will pull through. A tough job, this; calling "Chin up!" from the safety of the shore to a drowning person is tantamount to insult, but it has been shown over and over again that if the encouragement is dogged enough-and the support equally committed and passionate- the endangered one can nearly always be saved. Most people in the grip of depression at its ghastliest are, for whatever reason, in a state of unrealistic hopelessness, torn by exaggerated ills and fatal threats that bear no resemblance to reality. It may require on the part of friends, lovers, family, admirers, an almost religious devotion to persuade the sufferer of life's worth"...but it is this devotion that brings healing (76).

 

Reader Comments (1)

I remember the fear. I was so scared something would happen to the kids, I could see every danger, I was paranoid. I thought the worst about myself, thought my husband didn't love me, let alone like me. I was feel this crushing sense of loss and darkness and shut myself in the closet or wait desperately to get in the car so I could break down completely alone. All of that is gone for me now but I still feel a numbness sometimes, an anger, a pain. Often I feel a desperate need to recover the "me" of my youth....carefree and hopeful.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>