Triggers and PTSD



Written to Sir. Published with his permission. I love you. :-*

So, I have a dilemma…

I have this huge demon in my mind that, when set free, tears me up physically, mentally, and emotionally. I hate this bitch. She leaves me terrified, distraught, enraged, grieving, constantly on edge, hateful, and not wanting to be around anyone at all.

(I am not a demon, I am protecting you. I am protecting everyone. That is my job.)

Before I recognize it, I am a full blown, out of control, angry cunt.

(Fuck them, fuck you, fuck it all! This is all stupid. I hate this bullshit. I hate YOU!)

Or I am curled up, trying to sleep. That much anger and hatred, secondary emotions of course to an underlying, yet unrecognized fear, takes a physical toll.

(Danger! Danger! Red Alert! 24/7!)

My muscles are on constant tension mode, ready to attack. All the fucking time. Or run. This time it was definitely a run one.

(I wouldn’t let you sleep until you took your collar off.)

My head hurts. I can’t think. My body aches all over. I can’t sleep. I either can’t eat, or I eat empty calories, quick energy. I hate everyone. I yell a lot. I cry a lot. I am crying right now.

(If you’re actually going to try to write me out of your head, you’re going to need a lot more tissues.)

After a while, I detach emotionally, for safety reasons. Automatic shutdown. I am just never sure who exactly I am trying to protect more.

(That’s bullshit and you know it Laurie. “If I don’t love it, it can’t hurt when I lose it.” We’ve been through this enough before.)

My PTSD is from pregnancy and childbirth trauma. Not once. Repeatedly. My trigger is being helpless while watching someone I love die. No one likes that, I know, but I have a long history of being in those situations. Two out of six times the loved ones survived, but only barely. In fact one died quite a few times first. And all I could do was watch. And the absolute worst part of all is that five out of those six times, I was the one killing those I loved and could not stop it.

(And it will happen again unless you run. Danger!)

Eventually I’ll recognize it. Some triggers I have managed to eliminate, or at least anticipate. I no longer run away in tears at the sound of a baby crying. Some triggers cause stronger responses, but are understandable parts of life, such as a child hurting themselves accidentally. Those set me off, but I can “talk myself down” easier after the situation is over. Actual threats are easy, and the heightened reflex actions can be helpful. They usually actually end too. It is the unrecognized, imaginary threats that wear me down. Until those triggers are identified and resolved, they remain a threat, and I remain in this fight/flight/freeze limbo.

(I don’t care if you call my name. I am still running free because there is still a threat. *licks chops* Best part of all, this one you can’t fight, and it IS real. Whatcha gonna do now, huh?)

The fucked up part of all of this is that these dangers, real or imagined, are not threats to myself. Those I could handle. In fact, I often put myself in “danger” to help combat these effects. A good beating helps trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest period after the “fight” that I am missing. Of course there are always meds, but those are daily, and my triggers are usually infrequent and manageable without the constant side effects.

(Not this time. Your outlet is your trigger now.)

So what does any of this have to do with Sir? It goes back to something he first told me almost a year ago. In the event of any emergency he wanted me to understand his wishes. He put great emphasis on his statement.

(“I refuse all medical care,” he said. That means you too.)

It doesn’t matter why. I said I understood, and I did. That is his right. I have heard it many times from patients. With the properly signed forms available of course, I have defended patients’ rights to do just that when they weren’t able to themselves more than once. And I have held their hands while they died. No problem, right?

(But the old are supposed to die, and you aren’t the one killing them.)

Now three times in the past few weeks while with Sir I have wanted to dial 911. The first time his wife was present. She respected his wish to “let it pass, it always does” and it did. Sir did get an earful that night from her though. I excused myself to my room. The last two times were both on Friday night. Both times Sir ordered me NOT to call for help, even if he lost consciousness. That is his right, and I sat with him while he recovered from whatever it was. Helplessly. After the second time, it was too late for me. The demon was out.

(There is nothing you can do, and if he dies while you are there it will be your fault.)

All I wanted to do was run. Right that minute. Drive away and never come back. Hide wherever it was safe. I stayed, but I avoided Sir. He was holding me, talking to me, but it is like I wasn’t there anymore. I went through the motions, doing tasks and being social with our date who arrived later. I knew I had a tentative control over my mask though. I refused to suck Sir’s cock when ordered to, and made some excuse to our date. I went up to my room and left them alone. My issues should not ruin their evening.

(Now you’ll never be able to not think about it with him. Best to cut your losses and run.)

But Sir hasn’t done anything wrong. He did not intentionally hurt me, nor would he ever. His decisions about healthcare have absolutely nothing to do with me, and he felt that way long before I came along. I’ve been feeling pretty damned disgusted with my fear reaction, even if I understand the reason for it.

(It isn’t worth that amount of pain. Again.)

That thought, and medications, kept me at a safe emotional distance from my youngest child for very long time. I did not bond with her until she was almost two. She was very premature and sick. I kept waiting for her to die.

(As the others had.)

All relationships end eventually one way or another. I, or anyone I love, could die today, tomorrow, or next year and there might be nothing I could do about it. Not everything is my fault. I know all of these things logically. Some screwed up wiring in my head should not keep me from enjoying time with someone I love.


(You can’t get rid of me that easily.)

I know this won’t be easy, and it may hurt well beyond my limits again and again, but I refuse to grieve for the living. And I am not the type of girl that lets my fears grow stronger by giving in to them. I am facing this demon head on, out in the open. In the light of day, she’s just a little bit smaller. My collar is back on, and I feel a little bit stronger.

Come on bitch! I think I can take you. Well, maybe with help.


Category: emotions, Fear, PTSD
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