I decided again to change this site to be a place of open discussion about other things than just domestic violence and childhood trauma. I realized that just staying so focused on these issues was keeping me in a place I want to move on from. Although understanding the science of trauma is always going to be in my forethought, I want to not dwell on the cause but more on the remedy to PTSD.
For example, I am writing about something today that has been haunting me for a while. What was I like before? So let me explain what this means. I have come to a place where I am so much more tuned into what is happening to my body. I know now when a trigger happens. I feel the changes in my chemistry in my body and mind. I sense my muscles tightening. I feel my shoulders go up, my breath change. I am aware of it probably 75% of the time now.
Now this does not mean I always can control it. It does not mean I don’t go off like a rocket. That’s the thing that I am even more aware of. My reactions often seem to be so disproportional to the situation. But it does not stop me. I am just aware of it. I seem to sit back within and just watch the show.
The other day I went to return a pair of shoes. I had my lightweight purse from going out on Christmas and did not transfer all my credit cards for safety. So I went to return the shoes without the card I purchased them on. I knew before she said anything I had did not have the card. I felt my face flush, my chest tighten, my shoulders raised up and I sensed the cortisol releasing and inflaming me. It was not the end of the world by any means and the reaction pissed me off more than the lack of the card. We could come back tomorrow. I worked at not getting too upset as I slammed out of the door to the car and by the time I sat down, I was calm. My thoughts faced the reality of the lack of the card with a realistic view, but the body reacted totally out of context.
This is not the first time for this either. I am more and more aware of my system going off on “its own” if that is possible. The other week I faced a conflict with an employee. I sat there and listened to her rant, and I mean RANT at me. I have no clue what she was saying either after the first finger pointed comment. I was totally focused on me and what was going on in my body. I felt my face flush and turn bright red. I felt my gut tighten into a spasm and ever muscle in my legs and hands clenched. It was so powerful. My thoughts shut down and I was unable to process her flaying comments about her frustrations. Finally she took a breath and I got up and just left her. I went and calmed myself down as best as I could because I had to continue to the meeting with my boss with her about her issues. I knew I was in a safe place then because my boss and I had talked prior. So I just sat during the meeting and let the employee talk. I was in control, but I will admit, I had to stay completely focused on my body and not letting her get to me. She was not so accusatory and was pretty much shut down by my boss anyways. She also did not have the balls to say the same things to her she said to me.
There are many more times in the past months that I have noticed this physical reaction, which often does not match the mental reaction. I do not like it as I feel I am out of control. But actually, maybe this is the early steps in being able to control things. If I do not know I am having a reaction, I cannot stop it. So I guess I will look at it from this perspective.
It makes me wonder about my father who would explode like a volcano at the most weird things. Sometimes, whatever was the trigger was for him, it was not apparent for us. But then, I was a kid. I think back and he seem to be always on a low simmer that could be fired up at any moment. When I was younger, it was often the alcohol that fired him up, but he had cut back in his later years. And yet, the embers of anger always seem right under his skin, easily accessible and ready to go off. And they did.
For me it seems like I am two different people housed in one body. I am going to keep working on expelling the angry one; the one who loses the ability to be stable and focused. I am a work in progress.