September 9, 2022

My 20-Somethings are a Mess: Triggers with an Ex-Friend.


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It was just a Monday.

I’ve begun to hate disqualifiers, although I don’t believe that is the true term for words like “but” or “just.” I like words like “and” that gives life to both parts of a statement equally. Disclaimer: I’ll probably use many and fail to realize it.

I was in the middle of a Target after a day of crystal shop daycare, which is what I call it when my 8-month-old baby and I hang out at a local store with attendants who are kind enough to take us. I received a text from an acquaintance that triggered the huge pain body that lives with me from time to time.

To be frank, being in public can trigger extreme anxiety for me. After this, I was downright nauseous.

At this point, I don’t have any friends I see besides this acquaintance I have yet to spend time with and the gracious people at the crystal shop that have adopted my son and me. My spouse doesn’t believe in a single spiritual thing, which means we can’t pull out a tarot deck and gather insight when we hit a rough patch. Something about the last few months has spiraled us into many rough patches, and while my astrologer warned me about late August, he didn’t say and damn thing about early September. Rats.

Just a month and a half ago I was diagnosed with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). My spouse calls it “relationship PTSD.” I call it “I miss my dad and all the friends I’ve ever had who brutalized my heart but I can’t talk to them because I promised my body I wouldn’t hurt her anymore.”

The text from the acquaintance was petty gossip. My ex-best friend of many years was uncomfortable when I chose to come to the local kratom shop she chose to get a job at after everything we had gone through. Personally, I like kratom, and I love that my son has always been able to play there and be welcomed by fellow customers.

This ex-friend had introduced me to the shop. I stopped going there for a month because she kept walking in right after me. I was content with my achieved degree of courtesy. This news, after assuming her professionalism at the counter and kindness to my son was a freely given courtesy, cued panic. This news invited my entire pain body to visit for the rest of the day.

I went on to write two poems. They were incredibly dark. I went on to curl up on the couch with a reiki blanket and I sought out a safe, good-feeling place throughout my body. I didn’t find a single spot. It didn’t help that my husband and I are on thin ice. I was smothered in pain.

And then the concept of “learned helplessness” popped into my mind. This concept, where the test subjects failed to leave a threatening environment following abuse, described my current state. I was nauseous and triggered without having any experience in carrying my feelings to safety without dissociation, self-harm, trauma dumping on some poor friend, or wishing I could not be alive.

I am still desperate to prove to my body that I won’t harm her, nor put her in harm’s way again. I felt weight and pain in my heart so deep I was daydreaming about accidentally causing cancer by allowing it to live within me, or a heart attack from a broken heart. I was still nauseous.

I was hoping and praying for a bowl of soup to materialize. It didn’t. So, I told my triggered body that not only was the entire capital “T” trauma of my life over, this current trauma wasn’t the sum of every awful event that has ever happened to me, or ever will.

Sure, both past and future are fictional concepts, I’ve been piecing through Seth Speaks. That does not mean I am actively being hurt in the present. Cue a ring of light around me. Cue my mental acknowledgment that I will receive healing if it is willing to come to me.

I made my own soup. I felt like a baby bird standing up for the first time.

I looked up “how to interact with low vibe energy” and I learned about gratitude, forgiveness, love, and generosity as high in vibration. I struggle with forgiveness, gratitude, and sometimes, love. But perhaps next time I go into the kratom shop I will tip, and give my ex-friend something to be grateful for. Or, perhaps, some cash to be generous with.

I found something after moving through all of that pain and grief that I can still touch, in all its heaviness.

I found gratitude. Because without yesterday, where might I be?

It is the morning after. I did the dishes at 5 a.m., and my lack of chore completion is why my marriage sucks, in truth.

However, as I write, I do feel gratitude. A piece of yesterday’s drama led me to learn I could neutralize a big, bad feeling. There is nothing helpless about that.

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