Tag Archives: triggers

Some relief / Secure attachments

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The painting above describes my overall state of having been overrun by very difficult emotion turmoil for days now. The tears hold both exhaustion and relief.

 

 

As soon as I left work, I began feeling better. The chaos and agony and “hell” that I had been experiencing for a huge part of the day subsided. I’m not sure why exactly, but this has led me to believe that perhaps it is my work that is triggering me**. I don’t know why it would; Little Guy is amazing. We have a great relationship, a wonderful bond, and as he gets bigger I feel as though I’m able to understand his wants and needs much better and therefore he’s much less frustrated than he was before. So why would this be triggering for me?

My therapist suggested that it’s difficult because I’m starting to experience, with him, the type of (healthy) interaction that I didn’t get from my own parents. With me he has a secure attachment; with my parents, and my mom in particular, I believe I had an insecure attachment. Until my therapist said that though, I honestly hadn’t even thought of it that way. I love and appreciate the relationship that Little Guy and I have, and I cherish it. At some point when I first started this job, I was thinking about starting graduate school in the near future. But there’s no way I’m going to do that now. At least while Little Guy is… well… little. He has developed an extremely strong attachment to me, and as my therapist aptly pointed out, “You have become his primary attachment figure. Just make sure that you don’t disappear.” She is absolutely right, since I believe I have become his primary attachment figure. Which is wonderful and challenging at the same time. When he is deeply distressed, he only wants me to hold him. Not his mom… Not his dad… but me. I love that he loves and trusts me so much, but of course this bring in an element of confusion and jealously from the parents, especially the mom. And the sad truth is, he is usually quite distressed when he’s around his parents – for reasons I’m not going to get into, but I have an idea why. So… coming back around from my tangent… I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. I’m sticking with Little Guy.

The most frustrating part of all of this is that these feelings take over me without any seeming trigger or provocation. Today, for example, was spent just me and him. Both his parents were out of the house. And my inner world turned to hell, especially when the little guy was asleep.

 

All things to think about and ponder. But for now, I will simply enjoy the relief from all the inner turmoil, and take some deep breaths in case I get pulled under again. Fingers crossed I won’t!

 

*** Artist credit: WYANNE

** For those who don’t know, I care for a young child as my full-time job. I guess you would call me a “nanny,” although I don’t particularly like that term.

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Breathing and letting the dust settle, once again

Certain things have caused me, in the past, to get into a chronically triggered/panicky state. At the time I didn’t realize that this particular thing in my life was causing all the emotional turbulence that it was. When I realized what was happening, I changed the situation so that I could try and get myself back on solid ground.

For a while, the dust began settling, and things felt emotionally stable. Or at least I was getting there. I was staying strong and was refusing to let this thing that had a hold over me in the past infiltrate my life and mind. I have let myself become weak and have made my mind susceptible to this thing that was so destabilizing before. And I only have myself to blame.

Certain habits are so engrained, they are hard to break. Even habits that we know make us worse and unstable. And in my case, make me overcome with dissociation and feelings of panic. I have to put my foot down and say no more. I will not do this thing anymore that ultimately makes me feel bad about myself and turns my emotional world upside down.

Why are we lured into the web of the spider, even when we know we are walking right into a trap?

I must offer kindness and strength and forgiveness to myself for falling into old patterns, and for allowing my mind to become weakened. I will go forward with a renewed strength and intention of my betterment and healing, and forgive myself for putting myself in harms way; forgive myself for walking right back into the spider’s web.

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Coming out of perpetual crisis

This cartoon doesn’t exactly fit, but I thought it was funny!

 

These last several weeks, although punctuated with intense body memories (that thank the lord in heaven seem to have subsided), have seen me the most stable than I have been in a whole year. I have been pondering the causes of this newfound stability, and I’ve come to some realizations.

Main cause of perpetual crises: triggering relationships

Last Spring, I entered into an extremely unhealthy therapeutic relationship (see prior post). Not only was the relationship with this therapist both co-dependent and unhealthy, it was extremely triggering. And since I had almost daily contact with her, I was being triggered by her on an almost daily basis. It got to the point where, since she was constantly “in my head,” I was being triggered by her even when I wasn’t in contact with her. I knew that my life was spiraling out of control, and that I was in a state of constant crisis (to see the type of crises I was in daily, one can simply go back and read my earlier blog posts. In case you are actually considering doing this, just to warn you: it’s not butterflies and unicorns). I just didn’t know why, nor did I think to even consider my therapy as the cause of my crises.

After my therapist (quite fortunately) ended our therapy together, I jumped into a friendship that had very similar dynamics for me. Different type of relationship (after all, this friend was not a therapist!), but the unhealthiness was very much present. The co-dependency was very much present. The being constantly triggered was very much present. Rather than being able to build a solid foundation of strength and resiliency under my feet after ties were severed with this therapist, and heal from that traumatic experience, this relationship kept me in a traumatized state. This is not my way of heaping loads of blame onto this person. If anything, I was just as much to blame as she was. Neither of us realized the dynamic, and when we did, things turned quite ugly, and ultimately, I had to sever ties.

Looking back on this past year, and really analyzing these experiences, has led me to realize that my emotional state doesn’t exist in a bubble. What I mean by that is, if I am constantly finding myself in a state of crisis, there must be a reason for it. I think that being raised in the family I was, I got well accustomed to living in a constant state of inner crisis and turmoil. It felt familiar. It felt “normal.” Therefore when I find myself in crisis mode, I don’t blink an eye or even think to question what may be causing it.

 

The lessons that I can draw from this past year are these:

~ My emotional world is very much tied to my outer world. If something is askew* on the inside, most likely there’s something askew on the outside.

~ My emotions don’t exist in a bubble, and in fact they hold important information. I shouldn’t disregard my feelings, because then I would be disregarding whatever it is my mind/body is trying to tell me.

~ I need to learn to listen to myself and trust my intuition. I am so good at ignoring when things don’t feel right, or when something is “off”, that I will stay in very unhealthy situations that are ultimately detrimental to my well-being. 

~I need to learn to judge myself less, and accept myself more. And trust that when I make a decision that feels right, even though it may be painful (and may even hurt or disappoint other people), that I truly know myself best and what is the most beneficial thing for me in any given situation.

 

* askew– I just love that word, don’t you?

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Jaw. Ow. (Therapy update)

I’m not going to get into too many details of today’s therapy session. Mostly because I don’t remember them (the whole thing feels like a blur) and partly because it was extremely emotionally (and physically) draining and I’d rather leave the intensity of it in the therapy room. I will share a few details though.

In the waiting room I overheard a session of another client from another office. This was a big trigger for me. When I got inside the therapy room, I hid myself behind my arms and told Bean I didn’t want her seeing me. She asked me why not and I couldn’t tell her, since I didn’t know.

After what seemed like eternity, she was able to pull me out of that state by asking me to make eye contact with her. It was very difficult and quite painful actually, but once I made the eye contact I was able to snap back into functioning mode. All need to hide vanished. I can’t say what happened next. I moved in and out of various dissociative states. I remember being triggered by a vacuum cleaner in an adjacent room. At some point I went into a full-on terrorized state where I was clutching my head and trying to burrow into the cushions. Anytime Bean tried asking me anything I could only shout, “no! no! no!” At some point she mentioned something about it being a body memory that was occurring, but mostly she talked to me in a soothing voice telling me I am safe, and that she’s not going to hurt me.

I suddenly came out of it when my legs started to suddenly clench up and cramp. I was sucked back into my body. I had to sit upright and stretch my legs out to make the cramping stop. I began laughing, perhaps because the whole situation seemed absurd to me. All fear and terror was suddenly gone.

However for the rest of the session I was either in a zoned out foggy state or extremely anxious. The next thing I knew the session was over and I told Bean what a waste of a session that had been. She said, “Oh no, not at all. You may not have said a lot verbally, but your body spoke volumes. It showed me how much fear it is holding. And the amount of fear is huge. We will have to work with that fear a little at a time, so that we don’t overwhelm you. Although I do realize you are really wanting to get to the source of the fear, we must take it in steps so as not to overwhelm your system. But you are doing really, really well, and this was definitely not a waste of a session. Not even close.

And that was that.

The whole drive home I had to massage my jaw because it was hurting so bad. I must’ve been clenching it really tight throughout the entire session. I wonder if it’s possible to pull a muscle in your jaw, because that’s what it feels like! Ouch!!

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