I woke at 2.30 again this morning. It is now 3 am and I am struggling to get on top of the ritual thought trains that haunt me when I have been triggered. Currently my wrists are throbbing, asking me to slice them open and a narrative is forming in my head in the form of a simple prayer.
Dear God please let me go soon. Please send me a condition that ends it for me now so that I don’t have to give into my wrists and hurt those who love me, for whatever reason they find appropriate, since I deeply know how much they are mistaken and have not yet woken up to my basic unloveableness and unworthiness to exist.
I know this routine so well. It is so exhausting to go through it yet again — of being triggered into this routine by thoughtlessness, carelessness, emotional illiteracy and general human fallibility. I know I should be able to rise above it and see it for what it is — a stupid mistake. I want to shrug it off and say it doesn’t matter. But, for now I must go through this cycle one more time, yet again. Trying to find ways of reducing its power and unwrapping its stranglehold on my life.
It doesn’t matter what caused it. What matters is that it has crushed me again, sucking the joy out of me like a leak in my spacesuit of personal defence.
Who am I kidding? Since my PTSD complete breakdown I have no defences in place anymore. They were all maladaptive from a childhood of abuse and thus served me ill anyway. They all went so that I could be free of trauma. They left me wide open and raw, emotionally stripped back and experiencing life in its immediacy. Most of the time that is a joyful and wonderful connectedness to the exact present moment that I wouldn’t give up on for anything. It makes every moment into a ‘this is it’ moment, that zen moment of pure realisation of joy right here in this breath.
We can’t have everything. I have this wonderful gift of freedom from illusion.
Except when I get triggered!
Is it to remind me of where I came from, to keep me humbled and in place? Or perhaps to challenge me to release myself from this once more, to make sure I am not complacent in my newly found liberation? Perhaps a reminder of what life still feels like for most, still burdened by their defences against the injustices of this world, from which I am largely protected by privilege and having my wish granted of ‘just enough’ materially to live without fear in that quarter? Can one ever live without fear anyway? Is this just the form my fear must or will now take in life? Surely my greatest fear is that I will for some reason lose my beloved ones, my sons and grandson and most of all my soulmate? It seems strange that my greatest fear is that I must continue to live for now. That my prayers are to go now, to be done with this life, to let me finally say ‘I did my best and I am too tired to fight this anymore’.
What am I tired of? I have written about that elsewhere, alongside the joy I feel in my life too. They are both extreme ends of the spectrum. It seems I am not allowed to waddle comfortably somewhere in the middle of the joy/despair spectrum. Life after all is just a series of spectrums, rather like my ADHD and other spectrum disorders.
Life is a spectrum disorder.
HAha that has made me laugh at this idea and myself.
Perhaps this is the breaking through point for me with this occurrence of triggering. But will I be able to go back into the scenario which triggered it. I doubt it. What happens is that my body says ‘ok you’re safe here at home writing about this, but I wont let you go back in case they trigger you again’.
If I ignore it, try to pretend nothing happened, return to normal and carry on, it just triggers me again- which means emotional lockdown and physical rigidity to pain levels that are quite high, even though I am used to them.
IF I fight against it, I pay with that lockdown and must medicate and wait for it to pass. Which means I am out of action for other things too.
If I give into it my life shrinks a little more than it already has done.
If I do what I am doing now and explore it, get it out into the open and say to it ‘is this really how you think I should live, be and feel?’ If I do this act of exposure often enough, will it eventually decide to agree with me and stop trying to control me?
‘Shine light on your trauma and it will dissolve.’
This is the summit of advice from all quarters, and it’s true, it does dissolve, slowly. But this last stage is taking forever and stands out as more painful in contrast to the joy I feel most of the time.
Stop wingeing perhaps, be glad for the joy I feel and accept this last level of burden of trauma from the past.
I consider Tonglen, a Tibetan meditative practice where I absorb the suffering of the world and breathe out that very joy in its place. I practice this against the injustices of the world, the petty cruelties of wealth and corruption and damaged souls being given power they do not deserve or know how to use wisely, only self servingly.
I ache for the raw suffering of others and the causal thoughtless cruelty that cause it.
I weep for a world that is destroying itself and cheer for those who would act to wake the rest of us up.
I do, daily.
I challenge that world and the sadness it sows in me for others. I challenge those damaged parental voices too. I do it through my writing. I do it in my meditation. I do it in my approach to life.
I work at being fearless, courageous, brave. Even just to go and talk to people, I am being all of those things, though they will never know that. It is easier for me to stand on stage and give a lecture or performance than it is for me to talk to people in a more intimate way, especially in public or in groups.
What I really want is to live in a bubble of safety with my soulmate and my sons, to have nothing more touch any of us. We have all struggled with those legacies. What I really want is an end to the terrors of my childhood being re-enacted again and again through my traumatised nervous system. What I want is for this to end! Either by ending life or by ending the triggering process.
I know by the end of writing this I will have become determined once again to get through it and live on.
I know by the end of this I will have shifted the vice grip of this process, this routine my body deems it necessary to put me through once again.
I know that the love I feel for my family and my soulmate husband will prove the stronger force in the end.
I know that if I return to my bed my husband will wrap his sleepy arms around me and hold me until I can cry it out of me and let it go.
I know that writing this and publishing it is my way of saying ‘hang in on there’ to myself and to others who may feel like this but also to say do not judge others, if you are not experiencing triggering like this do not judge others who may be, you cannot tell from the outside.
This too will pass, eventually!
But will I ever be able to go back again? To any of the long list of triggering events locations and situations? Who knows? Is it worth even trying? Perhaps I should just move on again instead, or is that running away still, is that why I ask for the end, to avoid that? Perhaps this is the turning point when I stand my ground and say ‘no I will not run and will not be triggered any more’? Can I do that, can any of us who have been deeply traumatised in our pasts actually fully achieve that, or have I got as far as it is possible to do so. Who knows? But I think I just gave myself the reason to keep going today this time, and to return to my bed and claim my cuddle. Thanks for listening. xxx