The Importance Of Realization
December 2nd, 2019
One word is not equivalent to a violent crash; light touch on my forehead not the same as my face slamming into the asphalt; an image of another person’s injury not akin to feeling blood dripping down my own mangled face. Yet that is precisely what a TRIGGER does to my traumatized body and brain: sounds, words, actions, images, events, situations, feelings, perceptions, ideas take me right back to the painful horror of my accident. Any sense of normalcy, calm, safety or composure is immediately ripped away, as harsh physical and emotional sensations of the traumatic instant are reawakened and overtake forcefully. I know this to be true, for I have lived with the devastating effects of trauma triggers daily for these ruthless three months, today included.
While a trigger is in no way on par with or even remotely comparable to the original occurrence, a mere sliver, suggestion or shadow of trauma brings back the past with a shocking, crippling or paralyzing vengeance. Without the ability to asses or modulate intensity, my memories are taken out of context and made to feel like suffocating reality, as my brain strays from reason, losing grounding in truth and losing control of my thoughts, as well as my body. In that instant, there is no sense to be made of such extreme reactions, seemingly unconnected to the situation at hand, yet frightfully real, vicious and unstoppable.
My rational brain knows that I am safe and far from the dangers of any such accident repeating itself, but that basic knowledge is wholly inaccessible once I have been triggered. This compounding only further terrifies, frustrates and disorients me, as I feel I lack any agency in the outcomes, compelled to react at some biological level, rather than through active choice.
I don’t ever want to be incapacitated by or forced to respond from a place of stress, panic or fear, but it often feels too late to pull myself from the fits or throws of it all. Slowly, I am gaining the tools to recognize what triggers me, such that I can avoid them entirely, and know what I need to be able to act quickly upon symptoms that indicate I have been triggered, as to mitigate fallout.
Relaxation and realization are critical in gaining the awareness to begin to understand what is happening to my physicality and mentality. Only with balance, quietude and release can I reground myself in reality, in my body, in breath, in safety. From there, I seek to learn from my rollercoaster experiences, identify various triggers, honor and express energies, address challenges compressively and work towards preventing problems in the future. But there is no timetable for any such process, nor any reliability that what has worked for me to counteract a situation once will ever do so again. Yet I try, and keep trying. Because I am committed to healing of mind and body, to staying the course until I better comprehend my psyche, to habitualizing these practices with ever greater ease, to doing whatever necessary to arrive at a place of clarity and security. I never thought triggers were real, until trauma struck.