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Trigger Un-Happy

October 10, 2008

It was an exciting week in Trauma land this week. I had not one but TWO trauma triggers.

The week started off with more enlightenment training landmines. We do this thing in my enlightenment training that’s kinda like group therapy. I was working on some particularly lovely issue about my mother, when in the middle of being all vulnerable and open, one of my group member’s phone beeped. That’s not what bothered me. What bothered me was that he said; “sorry about that, my wife is in labor”. All eyes turned to him, with a couple of female group members making ooh-aah eyes at him. It didn’t help that I had already been obsessing that I was supposed to be delivering about this time. As I felt my whole nervous system beginning to go haywire, I managed to hold it together enough to say, “I’m done”. I thought I had dodged a bullet, but the trauma reaction came around and got me the next morning with a full blown panic attack upon waking, much like the ones I experienced when I was pregnant. I called in work sick and moped around much of the day.

I recovered from that when just two days later, I get a phone call from the local multiples group I joined back in April calling to see how I was doing. Apparently this woman didn’t talk with the women I broke the news to in July. I said something like, “I don’t think you got the message…” Then, the uncomfortable reply of, “well that doesn’t mean you can’t be part of our club. We have people that work on that kind of thing.” My jaw dropped, as in a Katie-Couric-interviewing-Sarah-Palin type of jaw dropping.

“…if you don’t want to talk about it, I totally understand…”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

Talk about ruining your day.

Before, I used to talk about how I was traumatized. Now, I get to experience what trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder means. Trauma is something that happens in the lower brain center, the limbic brain, and your nervous system. Trauma is also experienced physiologically, such as in panic attacks or dissociation. Triggers are anything that remind you of the trauma and set you off emotionally. In my enlightenment training, you are encouraged to feel your feelings. During an enlightenment training exercise a few weeks ago, a woman in a group of three next to my group of three decides to let out an ear-piercing scream. My group was exploring the openness of love when this scream happened. I was immediately reminded of my mother being crazy and screaming. All my good feelings vanished, my nervous system started going haywire, and I started shutting down. This is an example of what a trigger can do to you if you have not worked out all your trauma.

In hindsight, I realize the trauma began last year. I think each loss the fertility treatments brought was a new trauma. Then, my pregnancy opened up memories of trauma that were deeply hidden. One of them, I think, was my birth trauma. I’m not sure about this, seeing as I didn’t have language back then to remember the trauma, but I had this recurring nightmare as a kid about being suffocated. The dream was so confusing because it had very abstract images, but with a crippling sensation of being crushed. The feeling of being suffocated come up again when I was pregnant. I think it might have something to do with being born breech with the umbilicord wrapped around my neck and being blue when I was born.

Next week, I will start back up with the trauma therapy, so I’m hoping that will help.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lost in Space permalink
    October 11, 2008 7:06 pm

    Wow, Phoebe, you have had so much happening emotionally. I feel frustrated for you that 2 of your triggers happened while you were in the middle of enlightenment training dealing with other issues. I can’t imagine trying to work through something so difficult only to have it halted so abruptly by other feelings.Sending you comfort and peace that your next days are better. Huge hugs.

  2. The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) permalink
    October 11, 2008 7:16 pm

    I’m so sorry. So, so sorry. But I am glad you’ll get to start up your trauma therapy again. My thoughts and heart are with you.

  3. luna permalink
    October 11, 2008 8:46 pm

    yikes. I don;t think I could do a group thing like that. too many other issues floating around the room. and women going into labor… there’s a new age woman near me who holds groups for women trying to have healthy pregnancies, and she links everything to birth trauma. to be honest, I thought she was full of crap, since I’ve got real biological barriers to childbearing. but I suppose there could be some validity for certain people to work through…

  4. Duck permalink
    October 12, 2008 4:20 pm

    Wow I can’t believe that, what an incredibly hard group experience. You’re so amazing for doing this, you should be so proud, so many of us, just go through life with everything there, under the surface, it bubbles up, but we never get out there and try and do something to make it better.Take care.

  5. Eurydice permalink
    October 13, 2008 7:37 am

    OMG! i think those small groups should be in different rooms!! I didn’t realize this would have been around your delivery date… It’s scary to think something will come up anytime anywhere to trigger something that hasn’t healed and set you back so much. Sending you lots of love. And don’t forget to do some cat petting therapy!!

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