Triggers

Life isn’t always cupcakes and rainbows, is it? Everyone has to go through trials, and I would even venture to say that we’ve all had to go through hell more than once while in this life.

Trials are relative, methinks. What another woman goes through on a daily basis, I would break from. But some of the things I’ve gone through in my life might possibly kill someone else.

For instance, I’ve never had to go through the pain of losing a child. Or the pain of not being able to bear children. I’ve had good, healthy kids with no major health problems, while I’ve watched other mothers miscarry, or even give birth to a child who has severe health issues.

These are just a few examples.

What brought this on today–well. I had a dream last night. In my dream, I was being held down by a man who was laying on top of me. Other things happened, but after I got out of the situation, I had a panic attack in my dream. I haven’t had a panic attack in real life in a long time, so when I woke up from the dream, still affected and shaking, it triggered me.

I was able to calm down and think rationally about it, and remember that it was just a dream, but it took me a while. When you’ve suffered from PTSD, you never know what’s going to trigger you, how severe the trigger will be, or how long it takes to get out of it and calm down. It helps to firmly plant yourself in your present reality, for sure.

So I got up and made my daughter an omelette, focused on getting myself fed and taken care of for the morning, and gradually I was able to calm down. It wasn’t a full-blown panic attack or anything, just an unsettling of my inner-self. I still feel “yucky” when I think about the dream, and especially how real the panic attack felt– if you’ve never had one, you’re lucky.

I’ve gone through many traumatic situations in my life that weren’t my fault, and it took years of therapy and a firm belief and faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ for me to heal from those experiences. The therapy and the healing were so painful and intense, after some sessions, I felt like I had just been emotionally raked over hot coals, or dissected until I was nothing but nerves. It was really hard.

The thing is, God helped me get through it. And I’m grateful that I was able to have that therapy, hard as it was at the time. I’m actually at a point in my life where I can talk about some of these past things out loud to another person without the full-blown panic attack. It’s a tremendous change and a huge blessing for me.

Unfortunately, even though the healing is there, the memories remain, and forever will. So I am still able to be triggered by certain situations, dreams, or conversations. But I’m grateful for the tools I learned in therapy that help ground me and make me realize that I am here now, and not there anymore.

All I can hope, is that through my experiences and the fact that I survived and am able to live a good, happy, healthy life right now, I can be in a better position to help others who may be going through their own personal hells. I can look at myself and say, “I am a survivor. If I can do it, you can do it too.”

And you can.

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