The past few days during moments of exasperation, I’ve said out loud to myself, “what is wrong with you, just stop it!” In reality, there is nothing wrong with me. I’ve 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.
This time of year represents trigger, after trigger for me. While I can appreciate all the beauty of nature, 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.
I’ve noticed that as I continue to heal I’ve been able to tolerate some of the triggers that in years past, would send me hiding in the house. I’m able to name what the trigger is without flashbacks or much anxiety. But, sometimes my body memories and reptilian mind fight 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, “What’s wrong with you, 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 can say, Hey symptoms, Thanks but I got this!
Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph