Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Trauma Flash

I was getting onto the train yesterday morning. I looked up and, in the crowd disembarking from the train, I saw what looked like John-the-narc walking towards me. It wasn't him. It was a man with a very similar beard to him - otherwise not so similar. But the effect on me was electric. It felt like I'd been shot at by someone. My heart started leaping in my chest and my entire body felt like it suddenly wasn't able to hold me up. Panic. That's what panic feels like.

It's been so long since I last saw him - I had no idea that 'he' would provoke such an extreme reaction in me. It was pure terror.

I've read a lot about how an emotionally abusive relationship can invoke Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And I know that I was pretty slain by the time I crawled out of that relationship. But I hadn't realised it would live inside me like that, just sleeping peacefully until it's suddenly uncoiled by a 'trigger' moment. Such an extreme body reaction, arriving unbidden in the middle of the morning commute crowd. It's hectic. And it scares me.

I'm wondering what will happen one day when I do bump into him somewhere? What if that terrible panic hits in that moment? How will I manage the situation? I have run millions of conversations with him in my head. They range from turning on my heel and walking away, to giving him a giant piece of my mind, to bursting into tears and sobbing my heart out, to sitting, stoically, listening to whatever new bullshit he wants to sprout, and THEN walking away.

But none of that would fly when I get this deer in headlights panic stricken moment. That's just humiliating!

I think the most important thought I have about this is that I didn't realise the abuse was so bad!  I know. ..I should know. I've said it often enough. I nearly died in hospital as a result of it. And yet part of me wants to deny that. Normalise it. Like I normalised the home I grew up in.

But my body won't let me deceive myself any more. It was hectic. Fucking hectic. And the cell memory of that in my body is obviously recoiling with appropriate levels of fear when I think I see him.

I must remember this. Remember the danger and the fear. So I continue to walk away from my own Ground Zero. And only look back to keep knowing that I will never let that level of destruction into my life again.

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