Triggers: Because Reasons
For years now one of my biggest triggers is if I’m trying to call and noone picks up. I say “noone” what I really mean is S, because it is only with He that it is actually majorly Triggering. With everyone else it’s just plain annoying, in the usual way
When I say Triggering, I’m talking a range from mild irritation with a faint undertone of panic to high irritation and being massively ratty and pissy with him when I eventually get to talk to him with a less faint undertone of panic to an outright panic attack, feelings of extreme helplessness frustration and despair followed by a rage that is all consuming, even if I manage to contain it. I still feel it.
Being Triggered is a switch changing setting in my brain that I can feel happening. It’s an intense heat spread across the back of my head and down my neck. It’s the rapid heavy pounding heart, an ache at the back of my eyes, a tightness and lump in my throat
It’s an intense emotional flashback to some traumatic event/s from my own personal history .And S not answering the phone -over a relatively extended period- is probably one of my biggest…
I mean we can speculate; we explored it as part of Rejection Land with our counsellor and so for example I can tell you for certain that 4/5/6 year old Kirsty being left to scream at her sisters locked door with no adult to comfort her and 11/12/13 year old Kirsty screaming down the phone in a desperate bid to be heard by her mother whose out on the piss definitely has something to do with it. And so too does the time period in which S would have his phone off whilst having dinner with his ex-wife
Yeah, you read that right. And I want you to take a minute to halt! stop! Desist right there and put your judgy pants away because as with everything in life it’s far more complicated what can be put accross in one sentence.
S is as complex as any of us and has his own journey to bare. As with me, his is more complex than some and not as complex as others
Saying that, it happened frequently over an extended period of time -years- and as a result inarguably contributed to my trauma. And that’s what I’m here to talk about. I’m not here to be objective. I’m here to talk about events as I experienced them as candidly as I can bring myself to, as a cathartic aid to my recovery and in hope that might reach and comfort others in their experiences
The other day-the day before Christmas Eve- we took an impromptu trip to the cinema to watch Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet. And there’s this one scene…
In it, Ralph is trying to call his friend Vanelope. They’ve been given these weird little app/phone things that are kind of like FaceTime but sort of holograms instead. So when Vanelope doesn’t pick up Ralph’s holographic self pops up and he sees her with his back to him confiding her true feelings on life the universe and everything to a new friend Ralph sees as a rival. Tbh it’s not those aspects that are important here, it’s the moment in which Ralph first pops up and is calling mutely for Vanelope, who has her back to him and can’t see nor hear him. He sees (nd hears) her and keeps calling and calling to her -always on mute- and I felt a stone drop in my chest and a pang in my heart as I found myself relating to this made up computer game character in a painfully accurate albeit somewhat abstract way.
Id been laughing about 30 seconds before hand -it was like being smacked in the face.
I thought to myself if I were a skilled enough artist to paint or draw how it felt in those moments, then this is exactly what I would draw. The exact scenario in the film was of course quite different from what I experience. And yet, when I saw this scene played out in front of me It felt exactly the same
S needed to see it-to better understand-so I reached over and placed my hand on his arm. Gave him the “I’m trying to tell you something important” look
It got through
Whether it sticks I do not yet know
Having learnt down the years just how very distressing I find it, S generally does not purposely ignore my calls unless it truly can’t be helped, as with work for example, and I’m pleased to tell you that developments in my recovery from that particular trauma are such that I long since stopped freaking out big time when he comes through the door if work meetings all day have meant he hasn’t been able to pick up. That is to say, I’m no longer triggered by it in that particular scenario. My mind is calmer, logic has fought its way back through a little bit and thus I now react accordingly in that situation. If I’ve been seeking some important information or something all day then sure, I’m going to be as annoyed as any of the rest of you. But that’s within the spectrum of normality. Triggered is not.