Thank-you symptoms, but I’ve got this!

The past few days during moments of exasperation, I’ve said out loud to myself, “You’re being so weird, just stop it!” In reality, I haven’t been weird, I have been feeling off, and instead of sitting with the feelings, and letting them surf on through, I’ve been running the other way in a grand state of denial.

There is a saying: “PTSD: It’s not the person refusing to let go of the past, but the past refusing to let go of the person.” That saying is a simple way for me to understand that try as I might, there are reasons my PTSD symptoms sometimes still have a firm chokehold on me. The list can be long depending on the time of year and triggers.

Autumn is beautiful and just started here in the Midwest. Blue skies and Vermillion colored trees often coexist with 70 degrees temperatures. This time of year, from late August until it snows represents trigger, after trigger for me. While I can appreciate the wonderful weather, the long season can be challenging with prolonged symptoms and what can seem like constant symptom management. They don’t just amplify on certain calendar dates, they simmer,  just under my skin in both the Fall and Spring seasons.

There are days when the triggers and symptom management leave me exhausted and feeling like I’m a burden to my family and close friends. I spend most of the time finding ways to work on distress tolerance and grounding when the autumn winds blow.

Lately, I have been able to tolerate some of the triggers that in years past, would send me hiding in the house. I noticed I was able to name what the trigger was without flashbacks or much anxiety. That felt great, and I made sure to acknowledge how far I’ve come in my healing journey. But, as the weather has changed and we entered September, my body memories and reptilian mind have been fighting for a seat at the table.

I’m pretty good at accepting, and having compassion for my lizard brain and body responses by telling them, “Thank you for doing what you are meant to do, but we are safe now, and I’ve got this.” Most of the time that works, but sometimes as the skeleton hands of the past slowly edge up my spine and try to pull me down, some deep feelings get stirred up. If I don’t acknowledge the feelings and sit with them even for a short amount of time, they come out sideways. I get emotional, irritable, and I start demanding an impossible perfection from myself. If I’m not careful those feelings can inadvertently push play on the negative self-talk and doubt.

This morning, when I caught myself again saying, “You’re being so weird, just stop it” it made me pause. Instead of running to the next distraction I sat down to reflect, on what was really going on. With reflection, I stopped denying that the change of season is having an effect on me. It’s not me refusing to let go of the past, it’s an internal response to the trauma I survived.

Now that I’ve accepted what is going on, and forgiven myself for how I’ve been feeling, I say to my symptoms, “Thank-you, I see you, and I’ve got this!

PTSD

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

17 thoughts on “Thank-you symptoms, but I’ve got this!

  1. “Thank you for doing what you are meant to do, but we are safe now, and I’ve got this.” – What a great affirmation! Keep learning to love yourself just the way you are. I do. Thank you for sharing your journey with PTSD.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, I appreciate your honest comment very much. I sometimes will deny deny deny for weeks a time. There are times I just can’t go-there. So you are not alone for sure. We just keep doing the best we can on our healing journey and cheer each other on. 😊❤️

    Like

  3. Hi Alexis, it’s rewarding to learn from someone who is facing up to the struggle to acknowledge the impact of this disease on our lives. I can’t count the ways I have denied and compartmentalized my distress where simply acknowledging it and radically accepting it would have allowed me to move past my dysfunctional behaviors quicker. So thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This post is so validating and encouraging, it inspired me to write a brand new post — my first in several weeks! I included a link back here, and a link to your terrific post about being triggered by the news.

    I appreciate you so much, Alexis. 💘💘

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Pingback: Dealing with unexpected PTSD triggers – A Blog About Healing From PTSD

  6. You deserve an olympian medal for the challenges you face so bravely! You have an admirer applauding your hard work, constant effort, and successes. (sometimes success is gentleness with self and acceptance, which you also possess)

    Liked by 5 people

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