Triggers. How a trigger can snowball into a disastrous domino effect. It’s unbelievable how one simple act, thought or emotion can bring on so much chaos into ones mind. For those of you who know what I’m talking about or have had them, you know how painful they can be. The experience is real. It will leave you feeling devastated. But most of all, It re-harbors all the emotions you so delicately packed away in neat boxes in your mind, in order to see through all the mess you call life.
Psych Central defines it as:
A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.
Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The survivor may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback. She/he will react to this flashback, trigger with an emotional intensity similar to that at the time of the trauma. A person’s triggers are activated through one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.
I’ve experienced a trigger today that afterwards, left me with a feeling of extreme guilt and shame. Guilt because, I felt like a failure. I let down so many people. Not just my family and friends. But a small community of people that I considered my family and loved deeply.
Shame because, how such a minuscule moment in time, one look at a company logo on a tee-shirt my father was wearing of ours, around the house to just lounge in, triggered so many flooded memories.
I thought of how I was put on suicide watch from my doctor and therapist, for concern of killing myself. I still feel the shame and regret for taking away so many hours of sleep from my family, and giving my mom and dad the feeling of uncertainty of not knowing if they were going to wake up to seeing their child dead the next morning.
I still feel suicidal thoughts everyday, but I’ve just learned to keep them inside now. Besides blogging and writing poetry about it to people over the internet I don’t even know. I’ve just found a way to stay private with my family now. I care too much to put them anymore through this hell that my depression has created for me. Or did I create it?
Anyways, what I’m trying to get at is….
I’ve managed so well to stuff away and block out everything from my past. The memories, the thoughts of how I felt and the connections that I had made. My life now is dedicated to only allowing “some” thoughts to pass through. And when they do, to simply give them a name, acknowledge them and hopefully, very quickly, let them pass on by.
When I’m lying still in bed, with the lights out and I feel the thoughts starting to slowly creep their way through. I focus everything I have upon my breathing. I fixate on that wall of black darkness, feel my chest move up and down, and sort of like a knight holding a shield and sword, I brace myself for the negative thoughts and try everything in my power to not let them consume me.
I live in stillness now. I’ve almost mastered this feeling of becoming numb. I just live my life now in waiting. In my bed. For something, I don’t know what……but It’s mostly death.
So to be slapped by a trigger, so expectantly across the face in that way, took my breathe away. In a fingers snap, my carefully constructed wall that I build to protect me, crumbled in a matter of seconds. I was left dumbfounded.
Over a damn logo on a tee-shirt?
Yes. You see…I saw that tee-shirt everyday. My father wore it proudly and lovingly. Our logo represented everything we were. And it helped built me into that great person I was. Until the day I lost it all.
That tee-shirt brings back memories of smiles, handshakes, tears for helping those who had no money, but were now (then) able to bury a loved one without the worry of another funeral cost bill they would soon have to conquer on their next stage after grief.
It reminds me of helping a community in fundraisers for the needy, giving to the poor or shelters for woman and animals who were so desperately in need. For schools to help raise money to receive uniforms for baseball, football, band, or field trips.
Even something so simple as to, when going to someone’s home and having them invite you in for a cookie or coffee or to give a simple hug. If you delivered a floral bouquet to an elderly person, some would be so lonely and eager to talk, you couldn’t help but sit with that person for hours and hear the story of their lives. Knowing you had to go back to work, but also knowing they mattered just as much.
Or for an occasion of a lost loved one….you can’t believe how many people just want someone to cry too. To share the legacy of a life, even to a complete stranger, or to have a hand to hold or simply touch.
So you see, that simple tee-shirt, is profound in more ways then one. It carries a story, vitality, energy and more love than one can even imagine.
I guess I was way overdue. But it’s a reality for all of those who suffer. All I can offer to those who may experience them is to stay strong. Get through it and breathe. I can’t tell you how important it is to just simply breathe. It will pass.
And pray. I can’t tell you how magical and wondrous it is to pray. Someone is listening up there. We just can’t hear them in response. And for me, right now, that’s okay. That’s enough. To just be able to speak inside to someone I know who loves me unconditionally and has a purpose for why I’m experiencing all that is.
And please know, when and if you go through a trigger…, there is someone in this world right now, holding your very hand. I care and I understand for you.