Morning hair…and other tales of a Monday

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So here we are again, Monday. I am up to my ass in alligators, so to speak. I have an unbelievably ridiculous number of outstanding (mostly technical) issues in the courses I am teaching right now and I’m going to have to force myself to walk through each, individually, right now. No more procrastinating. I can’t say that I was especially productive work-wise this weekend, but ya know, I have learned the hard way that I cannot [and must not] work ALL. THE. TIME. Whining students notwithstanding.

Today’s goal: square it all away. Get a work flow for the week that is reasonable.

My stomach has been really good. Not awesome yet, but making progress. I notice a direct connection with stress [dah!] and can finally see the obvious. The less in person contact I have with H, the less stomach unhappiness results. I’m observing my behaviors and feelings as they come up and I am continually astonished. Being away from H has allowed me to look at ME, good, bad, and [whatever]. I am better prepared to not react to histrionics and catastrophizing [H’s “go to” place]. I believe he is somewhat restless with the status of limbo in our relationship but I’m working on letting that go. I have to do the work before I can be part of any relationship, including a relationship with myself.

Over the weekend, I watched a fair number of recorded webinars regarding the treatment of C-PTSD and the damage of early childhood abuse/trauma. Based upon the clinical view of how I have handled my trauma, I have grown up to be quite high-functioning despite it all. Regardless, the trauma never went away in some respects and recent events brought the sum of my experiences to bear, bringing me to my knees at various points over the summer [and over the years, if I’m to be honest]. In my recent situation, I chose the “no meds” path and even through the darkest points of that pathological journey, I knew I was doing the right thing for me. I wanted to stay in the moment and feel everything that was going on. True, the meds could have taken the edge off, however knowing myself, if I didn’t feel that edge I wouldn’t be as compelled to sincerely address the underlying causes of what I need to change.

New-ish trigger identification:

  • the bathroom: this was one of my mother’s favorite surprise attack places. I react in absolute terror when startled/someone walks in (e.g., H) while I’m taking a shower. H thought knocking on the door once then bursting in was good enough. Guess what: it’s not. The goal is to figure out how to change that reaction.
  • Sitting (in my office, or anywhere) with my back to the door. My brain tells me I cannot adequately protect myself if I do not see the traffic into the room. My mother also liked to sneak up on me from behind…
  • Closed closet doors and doors to the bathroom/room at night. I have a very ingrained habit of making sure my bedroom is “closed” in these regards because I do not feel safe unless my routine has been satisfied.

Same action items for all triggers: assess the threat and stop the fear when it occurs by recognizing where I am and pulling myself out of a flashback. Calm myself and change direction of my thoughts. Make sure any dissociation is a healthy degree of dissociation (e.g., observer view) vs. pathological dissociation. Recognize the physiological effects of flashbacks and consciously re-route the fear to logic.

Here’s the biggie: boundaries. Set them. Adhere to them. Period.

It’s amazing how I have become able to look back on these things without having to relive the pain. I’ve already done that part of the work, much earlier in my life, and now I need to be able to apply what I’ve learned. I don’t hate my mother or resent her for all of this damage. Growing up in an alcoholic, violent home just was…I wonder though if I’ll ever be able to talk with her about all of this. She’s old and I don’t feel that causing her pain is an ethical choice. Nonetheless, I think she has a view of it all that is very steeped in denial. That is not mine to change, however, that backstory is a significant part of what I’ve been going through lately. Eh, cost/benefit.

I’m not sure how I could be so surprised at the positive outcome of viewing the part to whole as it relates to trauma and why I react the way I do in certain situations, yet here I am. I guess that’s just part of my process. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Morning hair…and other tales of a Monday

  1. Pingback: Ah ha! | Dharma Goddess: The Journey to Me

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