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Day 53 - Lessons from Heroic Efforts

Posted by intrepidshe , in Healing Work 01 February 2014 · 134 views

Feb. 1, 2014 (Countdown Part II: 12 days to gynecologic exam):
Yesterday the effects of the gynecologic consultation caught up with me. I was OK until the last half of the day, when I was alone in my office. I think I learned a couple lessons from pursuing heroic efforts.
First thing yesterday I went to therapy. We talked about plans for the upcoming physical exam appointment. We talked about what I learned from my reactions to the consultation. I asked her to call the doctor and discuss my reactions, as well as what I wrote in my blog the night after the appointment.
My therapist was surprised about me experiencing a trigger from the crinkling paper because it was so specific to the environment. She said most PTSD triggers are generalized, meaning that normally any crinkling paper would be triggering. I was at a loss as to how to respond to that. Does it mean it wasn't really a trigger? Does it mean I was making it up? Does it mean I was imagining it? Am I some character in a play and acting a part, but not really having the experiences?
She was also pleased with me that I was able to go to work after the appointment. As I sat in front of her and talked about the previous day I was perfectly calm and collected, as I always am. I was reflective and thoughtful about the prior day's experience.
I imagine during therapy I nearly always come across as having nothing difficult going on. I certainly show no emotion, except reserve. If something is awkward for me I look away and try to think of anything to say. But, I speak animatedly about other aspects of my life, like my family and my work. When I talk about myself it's as if I'm describing someone else. I tend to take an objective, 3rd person view.
She'll say things to me like, "it's sad that your parents didn't acknowledge you were raped." I just nod in agreement and say, "yeah." I have no emotion to go with that nod. I can't feel the emotion I know is there somewhere underneath. I know I feel sad. I feel betrayed. I feel angry . . . incredibly angry. That buried anger is the source of the self loathing that came out last night.
I think, as long as I can't access and release the emotions buried inside of me I'll end up focusing them on myself. That can get dangerous. It's a pathway to SI and SU thoughts.
At least, I believe it is. Maybe I'm wrong. I feel like I'm inside of gelatin trying to understand what's outside of the container. Posted Image
She applauded me for being able to go to work and I now wonder if it really was a good thing that I did that. I think the lesson is that I need to purposely take time to recuperate. I will definitely do that after the physical exam appointment.
Another thing that I tripped over yesterday was reading a post of something very healing and pleasant that was going on for someone. When I read it I first was thrilled for the writer and hopeful about such a possibility. Then, I felt bereft at the absence of such wholeness in myself, the lack of true companionship in my life and the pain of the overwhelming need I feel for it. I could suddenly see the distance between two points and it felt like the dots in between are infinite, a gap I will never close. Posted Image
But, there's nothing like a good night's sleep and the dawn of a new day to provide a new perspective. Posted Image
What I realized is that I believe that other dot exists; and I am moving toward it. I don't know what my path will be like between here and there. I don't know how long it will take to reach that point, nor what will follow. But, that point exists on my path; I'm sure of it. Posted Image

Feb 01 2014 11:15 PM

Not all PTSD triggers are generalized. Some are very specific. :metoyou:

Feb 02 2014 12:43 AM

Thanks, Yarn. It shook me a little, what she said. There's  always that doubt ready to be woken at any perceived judgment.

Feb 04 2014 06:46 PM

I hear you loud and clear.  Don't let this one get to you.  One of the best descriptions I ever read of the variability of triggers went something like this...



  • A woman is attacked by a tall man with black hair and a moustache.  The man was wearing a yellow baseball cap, jeans, and a leather jacket.  The attack happenned on a Sunday afternoon in spring.  The weather was rainy.

Triggers could be:

  • Rain/ Rainy afternoons/ Rainy Sunday afternoons/
  • Sundays/ rainy Sundays/ Sunday afternoons
  • Spring/ Sundays in Spring/ Rainy days in spring.... 
  • Leather jackets/jeans/baseball caps/yellow hats
  • Leather jackets/jeans/baseball caps/yellow hats worn by men/tall men/ tall men with black hair/ men with black hair
  • moustaches, etc, etc, etc.


Hopefully you get the idea.  Any one element or any combination of elements could be a trigger.  It just depends on whatever your survival brain stored as one of it's warning signals. 



Feb 04 2014 08:26 PM

Yes. Yes, indeed. That's very helpful! :-)

About Intrepid She

This is a moderated PUBLIC blog. This blog is a therapeutic tool I am using to help me get over my fear of doctors, which is made difficult by a history of abuse by them, to learn to grieve, and ultimately to integrate my dis-integrated heart.


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The content of this blog is not appropriate for children or for anyone who might be triggered by reading about sexual abuse.


To the many others walking your own version of this path, I wish you well on your journey. -Intrepid


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