I’m sitting in this place of peace. Listening to the water splashing over the rocks, over this mini rapids. The water sparkles like diamonds as the sun plays upon it. The eagles and other various birds are flying overhead and occasionally landing on the bare branched trees in pairs of two or three. Sometimes they rest on the rock and also seem to be gazing out over the restless water. Next to me in the tree, I watch a spider lord over her intricate web that is filled with little bugs trapped in her silk. Off in the distance, tall purple flowers are swaying just a bit in the breeze. My triggers are reset. I am at peace, not judging, not thinking, not talking, and just resting.
Then out of the blue, it happens. First, it comes as a sort of uneasiness in my stomach, and then the diamond reflections on the water became cartoonish, the bugs in the background are the noises of the forest in a different time and continent. A wave of emotion takes my breath away and my lungs seem to stop with fear as the world starts to morph. I can feel myself being pulled away. In my distant mind, just before I’m lurched into the past, I can hear myself think just sit with it until it passes. I feel myself stand up, watching, reliving “it” happening. Whatever the “it” for this particular flashback brings.
It passes. The water becomes fluid again, the breeze touches my ice cold skin in the burning sun, the muscles in my stomach, head, arms and lungs ache from being contracted and I am standing. I wonder what did I do wrong in this place where just moments ago, I felt wonderful, restful and safe. How did it turn into a place where I was no longer grounded, hurling through the past. Why wasn’t I still there with everyone else who is gazing at the rapids? How is it that I can turn a normal, beautiful moment into the ugliness of a flashback. I ask myself, what’s wrong with me?
I want to turn and walk away. But, I don’t, instead, I look at this nature filled place I’m visiting, sit down and understand that I had a flashback, I was triggered by something (wind, sounds, the light hitting the water in a certain way, etc.) For me, this is how my PTSD manifests itself. That’s what my struggle looks like right now. It’s frustrating, but I’m not going to let it take the beauty out of the world around me. I’m not going to hide from the many, places of peace.
Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph