- Carrie Usmar
Finding My Truth After Trauma Triggers
It’s been a while since I've shared. I've realized my truth comes out in my words. But I have not been sure what to say.
After a lot of thought, I realized that fear anchored me. I felt dumb for letting fear have its way with me again. I know the good thoughts to tell myself, the lies aren’t true and that I don’t need to care what people think but fear sneaks around like a tiger waiting for those moments of weakness to take you down.
I have had PTSD for over ten years and there are still triggers that stop me in my tracks, leaving me stuck. My first response to a trigger is to retreat and only see the negative. My willingness to fight it is nonexistent.
I have to tell you... #metoo. After reading a lot of stories, and seeing that many of my friends were sexually harrassed or assaulted, memories I wanted to forget came back. I felt overwhelmed and stifled with thoughts and feelings I couldn’t understand. It felt like it happened all over again and I didn’t know what to do. My first inclination was to go towards that dark place and to question why this was happening again. I felt frustrated that these thoughts haven’t gone away, even after years and years of therapy and talking about it. I couldn’t find the light.
Around the same time I had flashbacks, I listened to a talk on trauma. I heard a lot on triggers, and different types of trauma and how people dealing with trauma act. The speaker mentioned this quote by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, “A traumatized person does not have access to the left hemisphere of the brain which translates experience into language, therefore, they can’t make sense out of what is happening, without feeling overwhelmed. Such individuals go from stimulus to response without being able to figure out what upsets them. They overreact, withdraw, or freeze.”
After hearing these words, I sat there my mind racing thinking “he is talking about me, he is talking about me, this is me.” I still exhibit characteristics of a traumatized person even after all I have processed and all the time I spend trying to grow and change. I continue to have the old habit of shutting down and not being able to explain my thoughts or feelings. I felt defeated like I would never get better. I let my mind run wild in the darkness, exposing lie after lie believing each one and feeling hopeless.
Gratefully, God has a way of putting cracks in the darkness and letting the light in. He reminds me of the truth. I forgot that I accepted the reality of my situation a long time ago, and it’s not who I am and it doesn’t define me. I will always have memories, but I am thriving in my life and have helped so many others along the way. I realized I have to look for the light everyday.
This wake-up call is what I needed. Sadly I need to be broken and to relive the pain in order to heal. I had to realize I’m watching my life go by, doing my daily routine, getting through it and not actually living it. It’s time to take care of myself, to be intentional, and to fight fear. Going down that dark rabbit hole, believing the lies, staying isolated, telling yourself no one understands, is easy. But rising up and coming out of it makes you stronger every time.