It’s common for survivors to feel confused when traumatic events take place. Also, we can experience extreme confusion during the healing process as we learn to make sense of our past and live in the present.
I typically don’t use the word confusion when I think about my symptoms. What I manage is fear, triggers, anxiety, trouble with concentration, and hypervigilance.
Recently, one of my perpetrators shared some information with me that caught me off guard. Unconsciously, I pressed “play” on an old tape and started to feel protective over this person. That’s when the confusion began.
Thankfully, It didn’t take long for me to catch the antiquated messages I was telling myself. I stopped believing that this person needed my protection. I assumed that because I stopped listening to the old programming of, “protect your perpetrators” that I was fine.
But, I wasn’t fine. My footing was off. I became dysregulated in my thoughts and feelings. I was becoming fearful that I was losing control of my mental health. How confusing!
For six days, I was becoming increasingly agitated. Because I hadn’t told anybody, I wasn’t able to name what was bothering me. I started to notice the cold, dark, skeleton hands of the past begin to crawl up my spine, and a sense of hopelessness was starting to take hold. It was very confusing!
After disclosing what had happened to my therapist, she (as always) helped give me perspective; the root of why I was feeling so off. As we were talking, I experienced an initial A-ha moment, then confusion set in.
I was confused that I could be caught so off-guard by this person. I was also shocked (as I always am) at how my brain and body can often go spiraling in a myriad of ways when the past sneaks in.
I’ve regained most of my footing, and the icy cold hands of the past that were crawling up my spine have retreated once again. I know there may be times when I feel those metaphorical hands again. That is the nature of what I manage and I’m learning to take it all in stride with an open heart and self-compassion.
Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph
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