PTSD and Awareness

A Trigger Response

PTSD is no cakewalk. Far from it. I’ve dealt with it for most of my life, but it wasn’t until after my son was born that it worsened.

It wasn’t overnight.

Slowly, I would hear the voice of my abuser saying things I never heard before in my mind. I’d see events in my head I didn’t remember.

Because I didn’t remember.

My memories came back.
And they were the worst
memories imaginable.

I dealt with them as best I could, but it came to a point that they became to much, especially after I almost died.

It was like the floodgates opened and the worst of the worst were suddenly there. Front and center.

By the time I was forced out of work for good, I was crumbling, drowning, and lost.

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That was because I was in a constant state of a combination of high alert, anxiety overload, and panic. But it didn’t end there.

Depression took hold, which wasn’t surprising. And I was angry at myself. My younger self. For many reasons.

I learned, in intimate detail
what it felt like to shatter.

Everyone is different, in how they feel when they’re overwhelmed by their own demons, but I thought it would be pertinent to share, physiologically and mentally how it feels.

How it happens when I’m falling into a flashback, panic, and anxiety attack.

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Cold washes over my entire body like a flash freeze. It starts in my neck and travels down my spine.

My lungs forget how to operate because I stop breathing for a time as the blood drains from my face as I begin to feel me ears catch fire. That’s when the cold shifts into heat and I break out into a cold sweat.

It feels like craggy fingers
crawling up the back of my neck.

My heart rate triples and my lungs start working again, but with a sensation that no air is actually entering them.

That’s when time stands still. Everything around me disappears and I’m no longer me.
I’m that little girl, cowering in the corner at two in the morning as I hear the sound of his stomping footsteps coming up the stairs.

Footsteps coming for me.

That’s when I’m utterly and completely terrified. And at the same time, I’m lost and can’t find my way back for a time.

Take a minute and think about that.

© Sarah Doughty

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