Trauma Responses and the People Who Get It

This is my dogs trauma response each morning when I throw the covers off him to say “good morning!” I’m actually going to tell a serious story about a trauma response.

I will first say I have done a lot of healing on my complex PTSD. It’s more than I ever thought possible. When I don’t feel exactly right emotionally, I can figure it out and recognize my source and figure out where my thinking missed a few rational steps.

Something happened over the weekend. I really meant to sit down and think about why I felt so uneasy, but Saturday morning a dear friend died. I was going to go be alone on a hike Saturday afternoon and think about it, but I met a kind gentleman on the trail who was also disabled and accompanied me on my little journey. It was nice, just unexpected. Saturday night I went to get my tennis wheelchair adjusted and chatted with my disabled buddy a long time. Sunday I ended up seeing a friend I haven’t spent time with in awhile. Then Monday I had medical testing super early and went to see another friend. A lot of social time in general but especially when I needed to think.

I felt pretty bad by the time I got to my friend Monday as I wasn’t feeling fun. The pit of uneasiness in my stomach had grown so huge that I was having to work hard at being engaging and completely forgot I meant to think to myself and felt like I had a bad case of nausea and wanting to faint by the end of the day. I knew it wasn’t a physical problem for once, this one was emotional.

I was honest with my friend and told her I’ve been dealing with this low grade anxiety and dread for a few days and didn’t know what it was about as it’s not typical for me.

She started to ask me a couple questions just based on knowing my mom was a severe alcoholic. I told her I have a problem thinking everything is my fault, but I’ve gotten past that one.

So she asked me, “what did your mom do when she wanted to punish you?” I said she would withdraw and ignore me sometimes for weeks on end. I figured out that was where my anxiety and unease was coming from. You can call me awful things, but the silent treatment will spin me out each time.

Does it mean it’s realistic to what’s happening? Not necessarily as the situation doesn’t matter. The most important part was that I had a friend who was willing to help me figure it out.

As I drove home from her house, my stomach felt better and my anxiety was gone. I could listen to music on the hour drive home and enjoy it again.

It’s really unfortunate if you ever had to live in a situation where your view of the world and self gets changed because of someone else filling your head with negative garbage. I’m grateful I’ve learned a lot about life being ok in spite of all that.

Even though it popped up, I knew I’d be ok as not being ok is part of being ok. So I thought a lot about it today, rested, and validated I’m ok to not be a big bundle of smiles constantly.

I’m always trying to learn lessons from people I meet. My friend reminded me gently, then even more strongly that “maybe people come into your life Lizzie, to learn from you”.

Oh yeah. There’s that. Reciprocation. What?



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