Two steps forward, One step back

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Some say that one can never heal completely from PTSD. I had a hard time believing that. But the fact is, PTSD doesn’t just happen from one trauma. It develops over multiple traumas.

While I seemed to be mostly healed from the traumas of 9-11, other traumatic events can easily send a previously-harmed person back to a place of dissociation, sleeplessness, and other PTSD symptoms. For me, it was hearing emotional abuse from a loved one. It’s usually our closest friends and family that end up hurting us the most. This act of abuse is forgiven, and the relationship healed, but the symptoms are taking their time going away. I think it’s mostly because I’m tired from lack of deep sleep that moments of dissociation happen. But at least these moments only last a second or two. Stress from work doesn’t help, though at work I’m able to take time out to regroup and delegate tasks to others.

The one thing I am not yet healed from regarding 9-11 is grief. In my therapy session with Eamonn last week, I finally identified that it is grief I feel when approaching the TSA security check in at airports. We started working with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and this question of what I feel at check in came up. Sensory Emotional Regulation wasn’t working with my extreme emotional reaction at airports, maybe because I have been unable to correctly identify the triggers, or the exact moment when my feelings shifted. That makes sense since I wasn’t even able to identify grief in these situations these past few years. All I knew is that I would start weeping, feelings lost.

We will have our second EMDR session at the end of this week. And then I fly to New York early next week. I’m eager to experience this “desensitization” and not weep.

As for the other traumas, I am also working on those. I’m learning to not feel insulted and hurt when friends or family don’t listen well. I feel more confident regarding my childhood sexual abuse past and don’t feel the need for attention from the wrong people. I’m moving on with life and making decisions that can affect the rest of my life. I’m finally seeing real progress in my mental health, not just the end of the tunnel but now outside of it proceeding beyond the shadows. My current state of fogginess and poor sleep seems like a small problem compared to the darkness of two years ago. It’s just one step back. Tomorrow, two more steps forward.

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