Trigger up: When it hits

04/26/2016

When it hits, you think of yourself as a smooth fist:

a spine full of knives, a shot of tetanus in a buried saber.

***

What about when talking about trauma is a trigger? Even though in between I am able to be articulate, insightful. Today in seminar we are discussing a case study of a patient with a history of CSA (childhood sexual abuse), and there is just enough description of the specifics that I begin to circle back on them again and again on the page. Every time someone says the word “rape,” the wind-up key turns. On the outside I am calm, if a bit quiet, but inside my heart is racing and I can feel my hands beginning to tremor as I reach for my coffee. At break I slip half a Xanax into my mouth with coffee, and then we come back and talk about hypomania. I love psychiatric nursing, but half of the time I feel so exposed, even when we talk about all these things in abstractions.

Me: cPTSD haver, bipolar type II, ACES score of 7 or more (11? 14?). Panic attacks, social anxiety, recurring nightmares, history of estrangement from family, risky sexual behaviors from a young age, ETOH/MJ/etc use, survivor of CSA/child abuse/parental neglect/rape/intimate violence, high stress life and (sometimes) very little support.

Broke but not broken. Surviving but underwater. Sometimes I feel so acutely aware that I experience life like I am hopping from crisis to crisis, and I think to myself, “shouldn’t I be more resilient than this? it doesn’t look like other people have to work so hard at keeping themselves afloat.”

Anyhow, that’s all. Going to see new therapist today, to talk about possible sliding scale arrangement. Wish me luck that it’s actually affordable.

-RD

 

 

 

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