I’ve worked through everything in this CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy) group which, by the way, I am just about to graduate from. I thought I was getting better. A couple of weeks ago I was triggered by something another vet was describing about her experience. Memories from my own experience started flashing through my mind, and feelings, and sounds. My body physically shook. I couldn’t control it. … I had a hard time grounding myself so I could keep listening to her. In fact, I don’t remember really hearing anything she said after that. I was too busy trying to get myself back under control. It took awhile, but I managed. It turned out okay.
Tonight though. Damn. Tonight I was in a conference call with other organization members addressing the needs of a woman vet who’s MST (Military Sexual Trauma) experience was similarly brutal to mine. There were questions about her behaviors, which I knew were consistent with someone who has been through this experience so I shared that I had been through this also (without going into details) and that I also had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and that it was common and legitimate that she might exhibit some of the behaviors she was exhibiting, etc.
We made the decision that I would be the one to primarily deal with her via conference call (along with only one other member on the call, so she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed or “ganged up on”). I’m fine with that. But then someone started going on about her story, questioning details, almost blithely describing details that for me had been gruesome and brutal and painful. … I had to yell “I’m sorry I have to get off here.” And I punched the hang-up button on my phone. My whole body was shaking. Again with the memories flashing in my head.
I’m still shaking. I can’t get this shit out of my head. It’s been four and a half hours and still my body is in knots. I thought if I wrote it down it might help, nothing else seems to be working right now. Got the headphones on, cranking up the tunes.
One and a half hours LATER: How many times can you smash your head against a brick wall before the wall moves? None. That’s not the wall moving, that’s your head caving in.
I’m feeling a little better. But I still can’t shake off the memories. And now I feel depressed. Or maybe that’s sad. Who knows? It’s been so long since I felt anything much besides numb, it’s really hard to tell. Someone please tell me I’m not alone in that.
One hour LATER: It’s 0404 hours. I think I can go to bed now. Except I’m starving. Dogs are so loyal! My buddy’s laying on her bed in my office, snoring so loud I can hear her through my headphones, when I know she’d rather be upstairs sleeping in the big bed. How can you not love that?
2 thoughts on “Triggered”
Oh wow! I can imagine that your world was rocked for quite a long time. It’s hard when we get so triggered and thing won’t calm down. I hope you ate and got some good rest. I’m sending you loads of support. Alexis
Thanks so much. I appreciate the support. I did finally rest. Slept sporadically until noon. People who haven’t been through trauma can sometimes be really insensitive about how the things they say might affect those who have. And also they tend to easily misjudge behaviors and make assumptions about motivations and abilities because they can’t see the “disability” or brokenness. That’s why I felt I had to share and offer the possibility that this vet also might actually be telling the truth. So many people don’t want to believe victims of abuse, especially sexual abuse, especially when the victims are women.