Tag Archives: trauma

Deep Wounds ~ Feelings Of Constant Rejection I

This is a processing post. There are so many factors and life history that play into this that I am not covering all of my thoughts. I am sure it is going to spawn off into multiple posts. My mind has been racing, thinking, and connecting. I cannot get it all in one sitting besides I think I have to break this one up into two posts… I did. On facebook the other day, a friend of mine posted a paragraph of self-affirmations. The way she worded it was as though it was how all people talk to themselves, I had a moment with no filters and said something like, “Wow, I never talk to myself like that.” I added something about soaking in those words because I do not do that.

Part of it is my personality, I am not the type to tell myself great things about myself.

I understand that others do and it is good for them – it does not help me in anyway. It makes me feel awkward and I really do not think about those things. Even though I have my challenges with negative thinking I do not think negatively of myself truly. I do know that I accomplish a lot, I am proud of all that I have done and I have no doubt that I will accomplish  what I want to in the future. I do not think about whether I am beautiful or not unless it is brought to my attention in some way – then, I question what I look like not necessarily if I am beautiful.

I do not worry about getting older, I rather like it.

After living the life that I have, I feel like life has just begun. My healing journey has given me the opportunity to relive again. When I look back to my past, I have pain when I look to my future I have hope. The only time I start to feel insecure or think that I should look, act, or be something else is when my social confusion kicks in. If I see many images of a person looking a certain way and people rushing over to like them I will wonder – this has been throughout my life.

I watched the popular people and wondered what made them popular.

I wondered if I were to get the same clothes, shoes, hair style, personality would I be accepted then too? If I listened to certain types of music, watched certain shows, wrote certain types of things then, would I be accepted – acknowledged? The answer is no. It has never worked for me. In my awkwardness of trying to become something unnatural to me I would eventually, grow tired and others dwindled away.

It wasn’t that I wanted to be popular -

It was that I thought that was the right way and my way must be the wrong way because those people had swarms of friends and I had virtually none. I have to fight off the confusion of wondering, Oh, is that the right way? Is this why people ignore me? Am I supposed to be doing that if I want people in my life? Should I be talking about that instead of this? All sorts, of questions arise and lead me into a spiral of panic and fears that somehowsomeway, I am doing something wrong that everyone else knows, but is not telling me.

I am the one that no one notices has left the room, the group, the family.

Ordinarily, I go about my day without a thought of whether I am good enough, I know I am so I do not think about it … until, I am reminded that NO I am not – to some. On days, when I am feeling good and productive I do not give it a thought. I do not spend time thinking about my outward appearance or how I feel on the inside because most days I just am. I feel good if I accomplish things, I feel bad if I do not. When I do not feel productive or as if what I do has no purpose that is when I start to feel down and the negative thoughts come.

However, these negative thoughts did not come from me.

I was not born into this world filled with doubts, fears, insecurities, and the sensation of not being loved. Nope, that has been a long time in the making. Many people contributed to this. Many situations caused me to become so enamored with thoughts that who I am was not good enough, that what I do does not matter, that no matter how hard I try I am still invisible! It is kind of a catch-22 because many times I want to be invisible. I work hard at staying out of the limelight because so many of my family members fit and rage for it.

I do not need that attention, but it does hurt when I am ignored.

The other day Inner Aspie shared this Feeling Unlovable article. I knew that I could not read it on that day so I waited for this morning. It opened up some deep wounds in me that I did not want to accept. The reality is that I feel unlovable. I read this part and immediately had the thoughts of last night racing through my head. I will share those in a moment. Here is what I read.

“This phenomenon is called “rejection” in the therapy trade, but a more appropriate label from the child’s standpoint would be “annihilation.”  The child feels that her validity as a person in her own right has been shattered; she may as well cease to exist.  Since she doesn’t really know how to stop contributing to her own despair, the whole problem is insolvable.  These “feelings” become the attitudes that Julia carries with her into adulthood, and these mistaken attitudes predispose her to behave in ways that are not appropriate to the reality situation.”

Last night, I could not sleep.

It was past midnight and David came in and asked why I was still up. I did not know, I was frustrated because I had to get up early for the kids classes. All I knew was that my heart and mind were racing, I could feel the panic rising in my chest and I was working so hard at keeping myself calm. I was fixating on one word, “embarrass.” Someone had commented on my poetry blog that they would like to give some constructive criticism to one of my poems with my permission and they asked if I would prefer it in a private message as to not embarrass me.

Logically, I found this a positive thing.

I think the poet is very good and if they are willing to take the time to help me improve my writing that is awesome! However, I was already in a wounded state because this weekend was my youngest sisters baby shower and I chose not to go because I knew that I would have all sorts of triggers, trauma, fears, and anxieties being around her and my other sister. We basically have non-existent relationships. I have many wounds in regards to that. It sucks. They do not get me at all and I do not get them.

I would probably not even be concerned about it – we are very different and have very different interests.

However, I am told by my father and my step mom that I am part of that family, but I do not feel like it and that causes me to think about it and try to understand things that my mind cannot understand. I cannot shake those feelings. My sisters do not acknowledge me in real life or even on facebook. They have made it evident that my life is of no concern to them. They do not acknowledge my kids birthdays, anything that I share basically. If there is a photo of my other sister, aunt, and me they will ignore it, but if it is my sister and aunt they “like” it. These types of things feel childish and I hate the fact that I am even affected by it.

On a regular, it does not bother me.

I have too much going on in my life to worry about that stuff. What gets me so upset though, is that my sister not acknowledging my message to her about not coming can derail ALL of my accomplishments and make me feel as though I have not done anything with my life or that ALL that I have done and do has little value. This from people who do not even think about me? They have never commented about the books I published, my blogs, what I do with my kids, autism has never even crossed their lips to me. As far as I am concerned, based on their actions and lack of acknowledging my existence I have no value to them.

Why does that bother me?

Why am I concerned about people who do not even think of me? I can only attribute it to my constant feelings of being rejected by my father and my mother, and the rest of the people who have influenced my life. There are things that I cannot shake. The true root of this particular issue has to do with my dad. My sisters represent my feelings of being in favor and falling out of favor with my dad throughout my life. They have a dad that I never had, they have relationship that I will never have, they ignore me the way that I felt my dad has ignored me.

I have similar feelings with my mom and my other sisters.

Part two continued tomorrow …

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Wild Rush

Last week I had off and on anxiety intense moments. I am convinced that a few reasons are due to weather and that I slipped in some gluten. Bad, bad. (I am currently undergoing an experiment on myself. Maybe I will share the results. :-)) They were nothing major I knew that my brain was in overload with talking on the phone with the kids teachers, processing all of the information dealing with their school stuff. I felt stress because we needed to get their tests completed. We went to a couple of new places, such as the library and the Lego group. I was gearing up for kid’s church on Saturday.

Then, came in to play my stuff. 

I continually forget how much work it is for my brain to process especially when emotions come into the mix. Only thinking of my emotions about the kids succeeding in school, and learning everything that they need to, getting all of them placed in the extra classes or electives to help them floods my mind. I think about it a lot. I try to gain balance – however, I know that I tend to fixate because of my own school triggers. I still have the thoughts race through my brain, “If only one teacher took the time to help me, maybe I could have…” I do not do it all the time, it is not a looping obsessive thought, but it is a springboard for me to be so focused on helping my kids.

My brain processes all of my past school experiences constantly. 

I am not aware of it most of the time until something triggers my memory and I realize that I am being oversensitive or shutdown in emotion all together. This usually only happens when my anxiety  is amped up. My brain looks for things to loop on creating imaginary puzzles to figure out. Sometimes they are really good for me other times not so much. Then, there is also Daniel’s evaluation this week that is looming in my head and all of the questions that are filling my brain like an avalanche. I have been through this before, but I have not been through this with a school appointed person. Even though I know what is happening somewhat, it is still new. My mind plays the evaluation as a movie, and goes straight into the,”What happens after the evaluation?” My thoughts spin in my subconscious and then to the forefront then to my subconscious. I am not pouring over it, but all of these linger and loom. :-) (Oh, I like that linger, loom, I will add lurk.)

Keep all of that in mind as I share the other things my mind is processing.

First, I had phone anxiety to deal with. I did it. I got on the phone and made the phone calls that I needed to. I was able to process all of the conversations quickly and move on. Thankfully, they were all positive. Still the appointments sent me into a spiral of past experiences and all of the trauma that I have gone through with my body physically I have had a couple of surgeries dealing with my lady parts. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy having surgical procedures done to me. I think they are fun. I am strange like that. However, there is still traumatic things behind them and experiences while having them.

They are all tied to people from my past as well. 

There are stories all attached to each event that brings up relationships issues, emotional hurts, social confusions that I never processed, feelings of abandonment, fears that I cannot attach words to, etc… I have never really pondered upon these things before. I mean in processing/dealing with type of way. I can write about it all I want it does not mean that I have really processed it and worked through anything. I have a way of tricking myself into believing I have dealt with things. (Not this time around I am doing very well at processing/dealing with when things arise.) In the past, when I would flood with emotions I did not understand, triggers, and reliving things I stuffed it. I would tell myself that I should be over all of that. I would attack myself verbally and demand that I stop being such a, “BIG BABY.”

“MY gosh! Angel just get over it!” 

My years of praying things away did not work. My years of attacking myself verbally and physically did not work. My years of pretending that everything was ok, and all that I have gone through is not a big deal did not work. I digress – when I sat down and looked at the paperwork that I needed to fill out for the psychologist I mentally collapsed for a short time. I was covered with emotions all kinds of emotions. The questions with their blank lines under them could not even come close to holding what I needed to write. I had to stop reading the questions. There was too much.

There was too much that I realized I still have not allowed myself to process. 

However, I think I will be able to process much of it quicker because of my new coping skills. I definitely, did not feel hopeless or consumed with depression, which is very good. So I have all of that soaring through my brain when my dad texted me to let me know that he was coming into town. You see, I could not possibly get in touch with them that night. I was vulnerable and overwhelmed. He has the potential of sending me into complete depression and he is completely unaware or would not even understand if I tried to tell him. I ended up leaving my phone in my purse. I was completely sidetracked the next day, forgot about my phone, and missed his call.

I still have not listened to the message.

I discovered that one of my sisters and her 6-year-old son came with him. If I would have called back, I am sure that I would have had a complete breakdown from anxiety, the feel of surprise, confusion, etc… I did not remember about my phone until yesterday. My aunt had called me too. Oops! All right, are you getting some of my brain mess here? Now, add Ariel is sick and running a temperature and yesterday, I had it set in my head that we complete the rest of their tests – Joshua had online class at 8 am. He struggles with getting on there so early.

La la la

It was around 4 pm, David was on a conference call, and I needed to keep things quiet. Ariel was sleeping; I was going over lessons and putting in test answers, CRASH! Aaaaaa! I found Daniel face planted on the floor. He fell off a chair and busted up his gums over his front teeth. I scooped him up trying to stop the blood, all the sudden my head got too dizzy for me, the room was turning black, nausea filled my stomach, flashes of my other little sister (who I lived with growing up) screaming, blood pouring out of her mouth pounded in my head. She had fallen off the picnic table in the backyard when I had only seconds earlier told her to get down.

She busted out her two front teeth.

I was watching my two sisters; one was around 6 months and the other one who got hurt, was around two or three I believe. I did not have my driver’s license; I had to call my mom. YOU NEVER CALL MOM AT WORK! I had to call I could not tell if I needed an ambulance. I tried to stop the bleeding it would not. I was calm and fully capable, but I was panicking on the inside because I felt guilt, I was terrified to call my mom, I felt horrible for my sister. I was able to calm my sister down and cleaned up enough to see that we did not need an ambulance. I knew that I could not call my mom in a panic because she would have lost it on me. I also knew that there was no way my mom could handle seeing my sister like this, me, or the house, so I had to get the blood off her, the house, and me before she got home to take her to the hospital.

While I was trying to take care of Daniel, I was rushed and almost knocked to the floor. 

I told Joshua, “Go get Daddy tell him it’s an emergency!” I could not handle it. I did manage to breathe and clean Daniel up as much as possible, being that I was almost unable to stand. I could feel that it was a matter of seconds though before I was going down. David got there and that was it for me. I got some words out, but fell to the floor. I was dizzy and sick. I could not move and all I could think of was, “I have failed Daniel. I should have been able to be there for him.”  After about 10 minutes, I was able to get back on the move. Daniel took a chunk of his gums out, but his front teeth were fine.

He did make one of his baby teeth loose. 

He pulled it out, put it in my face, and said, “Here.” later in the evening. :-)  He wanted me to pull it right away, but it was not quite ready. He does not like to wait. He is still fine, only bruised and scabby gums, but doing well. Ariel is still sickly. :-( I am feeling MUCH better. I was able to deal with the trauma and emotional guilt I felt with my sister from so many years ago. It was not my fault, but I had been carrying the guilt of it all of these years. I had no idea. I am forcing myself to write this out because I caught myself having negative thoughts about what had happened to Daniel.

I also caught myself thinking that I was overreacting with stress and anxiety.

I was mentally saying things like, “Other people are not so emotional and struck by little things like this. What is wrong with you?” I am not sure where those voices come from, but they are a lie. (Actually, I do know where some of them come from and that is why I am protecting myself from people I know can cause me to spiral when I am so vulnerable.)

I just got a wild rush of freedom this morning! Woot! 

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Making Friends With Triggers II

I believe that those of us who are on the autism spectrum are possibly more susceptible to more traumas on a daily basis. Our intense sensory issues, and if you have synesthesia like I do the sensory world is like being plopped into a whirlwind of emotional and sensory chaos pounding in, through, and out of your body constantly. It can make for traumatic experiences that others would never think of. Even if you do not have synesthesia, sensory processing issues can cause your world to be painful, confusing, and/or scary. Social confusion can cause your world to be emotionally painful, anxiety filled, and scary! Imagine how scary and traumatic this world is when you have no clue that you have sensory issues, social confusion, synesthesia, or that you process very differently from your peers, and others.

Traumatic. 

It is a little different for those on the autism spectrum because sometimes the tiniest thing could be traumatic. For those of us who feel, and experience intensely because of the way our brain is wired, something that is seemingly harmless to the average person may think our feelings of trauma are senseless. Possibly even made-up, irrational, foolish, stupid, attention seeking, annoying, and bothersome. I could add a plethora of adjectives to this list, but I think you get the point. (A side note here,  no one should downplay trauma. Every person is different, the same goes with stress and anxiety, these feelings are real for the person feeling them, whether you believe it are or not. Validate and help, you should not judge and condemn what you do not understand.)

They are none of the above. 

They are real, and they can continue to be damaging if a person is not allowed to heal, express themselves, and learn how to find positive coping mechanisms in a safe environment. Dealing with trauma, I will add PTSD as well, require the ability to work through what has happened without judgment, condemnation, and attacks on how these issues affect another person. Such as a parent, spouse, or friend all need to be supportive in order for the person to heal. These issues need to be validated with acknowledgment, not voicing frustrations because of them. (I do understand the need for mutual understanding for all parties, but there needs to be an awareness of how these difficulties could cause that to be a very hard task.)

Being annoyed or dismissing someones painful experience, however, foolish you may think it is does not help.

For me, I am already frustrated with myself for feeling as if I am overreacting because of a reaction I have toward a sound, emotion, or a word. I do not need another person to add their frustrations to it. I need support, and understanding. I can get better with these situations when I feel encouraged. The more encouragement I get the more confident I am. Positive reinforcement helps me to stop the negative self-talk. I will add that it is important not to do positive reinforcement in a condescending tone, making statements suggesting that it is only being done to appease me, I can “feel” if  it is not genuine, or treat me like a child because that will just tick me off and I’ll go into defense mode. Trauma is different for every person and how it is processed is different as well.

A loud “BANG!” sound at a carnival could cause years of trauma. 

The chaotic surroundings, people, smells, lights, and all of the other sensory input as well as social dynamics will have the person already on defense and filled with anxiety. Even if they want to go, and it was their idea to go, it does not stop the mind from its faulty processing abilities, and social anxieties. Anxiety can be good feelings of complete elation and excitement, and it can be bad anxiety fill with fear, or phobias. When all of the surroundings are intense and all the sudden a loud “BANG!” goes off it could send the person into intense meltdown or complete shutdown.

There is trauma. 

Definition of TRAUMA

a : an injury (as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent <surgical trauma> <the intra-abdominal organs at greatest risk to athletic trauma are the spleen, pancreas, and kidney—M. R. Eichelberger>—see blunt traumab : a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from mental or emotional stress or physical injury

: an agent, force, or mechanism that causes trauma

The autistic mind is different when it comes to processing. 

The sound I mentioned earlier, it can be physically painful to hear such a sudden loud sound. Certain sounds can make me want to curl into a ball holding my ears – it makes my stomach hurt in a stabbing pain. Scraping ice literally feels like I am being cut with knives on the inside of my body. I have trauma triggers associated with fire drills at school.  The unexpectedness and the loud sounds of it would cause my body physical pain. I am not even tapping on emotional processing.

Many times, I had no idea that I had experienced something traumatic. 

I only responded with shutdown or meltdown and then, if something happened again I would relive everything. Since I notice patterns, I would (can) relive every single similar thing that has ever happened to me before. There are times when I am experiencing a traumatic situation, but do not know how to explain what is happening. If I feel like I am being verbally attacked with words and I am unable to defend myself, it is traumatic. Verbal trauma triggers can be linked to physical trauma triggers for me.

Many times trauma is associated with abuse. 

While I do have abusers from my past, I believe there is another dynamic that plays out in the autistic mind. We carry memories deep in our psyche, we are unable to process our emotions rapidly, we can lose our ability to speak, or we are unable to explain ourselves properly. We can feel intense emotions of others and have no idea what is happening – these emotions can linger for years. Anxiety and confusion can make us feel hopeless or in a constant defense mode. Everything I have shared reveals that we feel vulnerable, uneasy in our environment, disconnected from our social situations, and we are also trying to process intense sensory input.

It goes into a deeper type of trauma when we feel attacked in an environment that is supposed to be safe.

It can cause serious looping, confusion, anger, fear, anxiety, among other things. I have heard several of the recorded abuse that has happened to autistic children from recent media outlets, and it is beyond infuriating. The poor children who are unable to communicate clearly, or who are unable to tell their parents that they have been bullied by these adults is horrifying. I hear these adults purposely triggering these kids into meltdowns, later these children are labeled as uncontrollable, or worse. These teachers/aides are well aware what triggers these children have because they are part of their IEP’s.

They have been given the information handed to them to be a perfect manipulator/bully/abuser.

I personally do not understand why anyone would want to cause such trauma in a child. I cannot fathom doing such a horrendous thing. However, it does not only happen to children. There are adults as well those who are lower functioning and high-functioning. (I hate these terms, but I do not know how else to word it.) There are people, even those who claim to be supportive who when are under stress, or who are angry will use the triggers to stir some sort of emotional response.

I do not understand this and I cannot articulate what I feel about it.

Maybe they are loving and supportive the majority of the time, which could cause even more deep-rooted trauma for a person on the autism spectrum. When we give trust and it has been violated, or abused in some way it is devastating. I have read that many of us tend to forgive and forget, and can fall into repeated patterns of being manipulated/abused/bullied. We tend to doubt ourselves and get jumbled by social confusion, or intense desire to want to be accepted.

I have been reading quite a bit about relationships for a while.

I have learned that people lash out in emotional states and say things on purpose to be hurtful. Apparently, many people understand that you are supposed to let those moments go. Whatever was said in the heat of the moment is not supposed to be taken seriously. That works for people who do not rely heavily on words to define their world. It works well for those who are able to process emotions easily, or at least able to understand that the emotions are speaking. For those of us who have experienced abuse, bullies, and manipulators it can be traumatic. For those of us who are unable to express themselves, or even know how to connect their emotions it can be traumatic.

It leaves lasting scars, confusion, and triggers. 

It can leave lingering anxiety, and fears. On a positive note it does not have to stay that way. The mind is changeable, ever learning, ready to be transformed, and always seeking. In this area it seems that the more mindful and aware we are of our triggers, whether emotional or physical we can help mold them in a positive way. We can take hold of these things and learn from them. We can take our negative experiences and conform them to new strengths. We can learn what our triggers are and use them to help us prepare, or work through painful experiences that have been holding us back. Some things we will not be able to change about our minds, but we can learn to make our life much easier to understand. If we are able to explain ourselves, and not feel outcast for our feelings we can improve.

We can change, grow, and be productive and proactive.

We can help others, and share our experiences. We need a safe, judgmental free, and caring environment to do this. It doesn’t have to be a lot, many times the slightest bit of genuine encouragement can change a whole lot of things. I think it should be a goal to teach those on the spectrum how to encourage themselves, and gain the tools to have and keep confidence. It is hard to keep it in a world that is constantly attacking differences or things it does not understand. Learning to how to encourage oneself, and learning how to eliminate much of negative self-talk can change someone really quick! :-) We need positive scripts to cast down all of the negative ones. Those words can be for anyone not only those on the autism spectrum. I am making friends with my triggers because they are helping me become friends with myself.

Sound cheesy? Well, I am kind of a cheesy person. Zoinks! :-) 

Resources!

New Clues on Rewiring Your Brain

How Do You Trigger Positive? Find Your Pathways to Happiness

Neuroscientists Identify How Trauma Triggers Long-Lasting Memories In The Brain

Trauma, Triggers and Flashbacks

Friday Video – Janet Treasure (Great quick video talking about eating disorders and autism.)

Gut Almighty

Building Bulletproof Courage

I have been speaking from an Aspergers perspective, but I understand that there are parents who feel trauma, possibly even PTSD raising an autistic child. As I have mentioned all throughout it is different for everyone. The first three to four years with Daniel felt very isolating, confusing, and at times traumatic. We can still have our days. I had my intense reactions, but completely unaware what was happening to me. I felt so helpless and distressed some days. If you are a parent not on the spectrum I understand that you have your own ways of processing and need to feel allowed to speak too. I found this article that may help you. It did help me too.

Autism and PTSD

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Making Friends With Triggers I

I am not sure what comes to people’s mind when they read, or hear the word “trigger.” If you are a survivor of some sort of trauma you know exactly what I mean when I use the word trigger. If it is something, completely foreign to you this word could seem foolish, or even considered irrational. The word trigger could have multiple meanings and uses. We all share a common bond with triggers. They can be positive as well as negative. I have many positive triggers, but my negative ones have been so overriding that it made it difficult to even think about positive ones until recently.

Triggers are used in many outlets, advertisers use triggers all the time. 

Many times they are used to manipulate some sort of emotional response, whether through media advertising, or emotional manipulation. I found this Uncover And Manipulate Your Triggers To Optimise Your Work And Life to have some great ideas. I started doing some of them on my own without realizing what I was doing. People may not think of everyday triggers, and trauma triggers in the same vein. For me triggers are triggers, good ones can lead into negative ones, the negative ones can lead into to positive ones. My brain does not decipher or keep hold of one or the other.

It can be hard to explain. 

Also, what can or has traumatized me may seem rather silly to others. An example, there is a commercial about a water faucet, they show hands covered in all sorts of sensory rich things. I found it here, but could only watch about two seconds – it physically hurts my body to watch this. The first time I saw it I screamed, David thought I was exaggerating in a funny way, but finally realized that when I kept saying, “Get it off! Get it off!” I was serious. Every time I see a glimpse of this commercial, my body feels like it is being attacked. I cannot stand any sort of gooey substance on my hands.

Just looking at the commercial makes me feel like my hands are bound. 

It feels suffocating, and like my hands are stuck and I cannot get them out. I know to write this out sounds ridiculous, but it is true. The commercial causes me physical pain, we can laugh it off, but when I hear the song the TV has to be turned off, or the channel changed, anything to get it off. I have not had some sort of traumatic event where my hands were bound by a substance. I have had time after time when my hands were covered in some sticky residue that I could not get off. As a child, my mom said that I would scream and scream if I had things on my hands. I would stand flapping my hands yelling, “Get it off! I’m sticky!”

I was so inconsistent to her though. 

I would love to play in the dirt and the mud, touch slimy critters, and play in flour. However, when I was done I would immediately start to panic and have to get it off my hands. People have used this particular thing about me to torment me, or mock me. Hence, trigger-happy commercial pulling up many other negative emotions that I had no idea were being triggered until right at this moment. A’ha!

In order for me to take hold of my healing, I have to understand what causes me to react in such ways. 

My brain requires certain types of answers in order for me to become self-reliant. I need to know what keeps derailing me, and I believe my mindset about triggers is a big one. I have been working on them for the past year and rewiring my brain, but I had the mindset that I had no control over them. I didn’t know what they were. I thought they were invading thoughts, or uncontrollable emotional outbursts. I had no idea that my mind was trying to tell me something. I have a lifetime of constant surprise attacks. My environment, my social situations, and my own emotions they have all been like bombs exploding my world at every corner.

The world was so confusing, so unpredictable, and so painful that all I could do was put on my armor. 

I had no time or ability to learn – I had to protect! I did not comprehend that I was disconnected to my emotions, and that I required long times of processing them. In reality, I was unable to process anything. I had been told for a lifetime to “get over it.” Life goes on, other people have it worse, if you express emotions you are weak, etc… I assumed something was wrong with me and I pushed down, or stimmed away anything that I did not understand.

The last trigger that cast me into this mode made me angry.

I shutdown, I could not talk, my mind flooded with thoughts of self-harm because my situation felt hopeless. I felt as if this person had no desire to understand, will never try to understand, and will continually not listen to me. When the thoughts of self-harm and desperation crept up, I decided to take a hold of them. I decided that they were no longer allowed to attack me. I realized that I had done nothing wrong – I was trying to find solutions, and my mind thinks in very different ways.

I was not going to allow myself to take all of what I was feeling and attack myself. 

Instead, I wrote about it. I got it out, and I helped myself see that there were many things wrapped into that situation. I refused to feel hopeless, or like a victim. I decided to take all of my energy and research. I needed to understand triggers, and why my brain automatically goes to self-harm, or self-attack mode. My brain triggers that response when I feel hopeless because I have never felt heard. I have explained this before, but the issue is when I speak what I am feeling people get upset. If I do not speak what I am feeling, people get upset. If I try to write it out, or be very direct, my words end up being used against me.

They are not used in the context in which I meant and that causes confusion. 

I have tried to speak my feelings, pains, and concerns and they have been downplayed through evasively threaded words. I cannot prove a thing, but many times when I have spoken people undermine by being non-responsive, or overpowering it with their own ideas. Even worse taking my ideas and making them their own. I have gotten to the point where I felt like it was pointless to share anything. Again, this has been a lifelong situation. I am not one who makes themselves seen, or one who bursts out trying to take the attention.

I will curl into an inward ball, and hide myself away – for years. 

Trust is something that is very hard to get from me. I have been hurt too many times – by those closest to me. It’s been a life cycle of what feels (actually was at times) like betrayal, abandonment, misunderstood, and as if my voice has been stripped from me. When I have these feeling triggered I shutdown. Recently, my shutdowns have turned into a few meltdowns. I am tired of feeling as if I am a horrible person for having a meltdown. There are so many reasons for a meltdown to take place, but the bottom line is they happen because something is wrong. There are too many factors to pinpoint sometimes, but there is something wrong and the brain wants it fixed.

Simplified definition. :-) 

One way that I have been learning is to know my triggers and no longer allow them to be in control. Sometimes this just cannot happen. Sometimes it is too difficult to realize the trigger, and there must be time to process in a safe place, with safe loving people. What I have been doing is trying to understand triggers – by researching them, I am realizing what many of mine are and how to control them. I have done this in the area of sensory/social input and processing – I am now doing it for emotional input and processing. In the areas of sensory/social, I can now explain when I am feeling overloaded, and many times why. Sometimes not, but I have gotten much better.

I have learned many of my limitations and have accepted them.

I also, have learned the types of people and environments that I fit best in. These are not excuses to not socialize with certain people, I am just unable to have particular types of people in my life. They are toxic and cause me trauma and confusion.  It is important to have people who believe you, and understand the severity of these limitations. It is important also, for them to know you well enough to see where to help push certain limits. If they brush you off, or are constantly confused by this there is a communication misfire somewhere. You need to be heard, understood, and accepted. Many times triggers have caused me to not be able to function. A word or action can send me into another world. Let me give the definition of triggers so we are clear.

What is a Trigger?  (A good read, but mostly focused on abuse. It seems that triggers can be a bit different for those on the autism spectrum.)

A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.

Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The survivor may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback. She/he will react to this flashback, trigger with an emotional intensity similar to that at the time of the trauma. A person’s triggers are activated through one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

The senses identified as being the most common to trigger someone are sight and sound, followed by touch and smell, and taste close behind. A combination of the senses is identified as well, especially in situations that strongly resemble the original trauma. Although triggers are varied and diverse, there are often common themes.

 I did not realize I was doing it, but I cut off music, movies, and books.

I would remove anything from my life that caused me to have emotional triggers. I started to go into a very damaging place and not allowing myself to feel anything. A few years ago I started to take away anything that made me have positive triggers as well as negative ones. There is a whole mess of stuff I need to process there. I am not going to on this post. I have been taking back my positive triggers (memories), and I have been reworking my negative triggers. It has made it possible for me to enjoy music once again. (There is another filtered element of religious condemnation that I had to work through with that as well.) Still I have a different reaction toward music type of triggers, and verbal type triggers.

The triggers are enhanced when I feel confused, anxious, misunderstood, or attacked.

(I am not talking physically.) In the second half of this post I talk more about how having sensory issues and social confusion can cause traumas that people would not usually consider traumatic. Until tomorrow!

Continued Making Friends With Triggers II…

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Living in Hide Mode

It is no secret that my mind is constantly going. It never stops, even in my sleep it seems to be trying to explain things to me. Apparently I am supposed to have listening ears, and I am gaining some major ground in my independence and creativity. Well according to some dreams interpretations, I can interpret it that way because I do like cats. If I did not like cats it would be a completely different outcome. :-) I do like looking things up from all kinds of sources, but I know that the bottom line is my brain is processing what I already know.

The question is if I want to listen or not.

My dreams have managed to wake up some memories that I had forgotten. Many were traumatic, but I am in a good place to work through them. A main reason for this is gaining the understanding that you are allowed and validated in calling out the wrongs that have been done to you. It is valid to say that you are angry, upset, or affected emotionally in some way by what people have done. Realistically I know this, I teach my kids this, and I give them a voice to speak openly. I am constantly telling others the same thing, but for some reason it has not applied to me. I have said that it does, but I did not accept it. I still held on to guilt about speaking out my fears, anger, hurts, and even joys.

It was a huge revelation to me to comprehend that it does not have to be black-and-white.

I watched a program where they were doing intense therapy, I was very happy to know that I have been on the right track with my own healing. I also got confirmation that in these months that I have been doing this emotional work my sudden outbreaks of emotional devastation and crying spurts are very normal. This has been hard to accept for a person who has not allowed true release while shedding tears — they were just salty waters that fell. The trauma and pain was still trapped inside a locked box. It also revealed that I had been in denial for years, which can cause you to think that you have dealt with things when you actually have not. Or that there was (is) no problem at all.

This explains my repeating loop pattern over certain events because I did not really deal with them.

It is very important to understand and accept too that there are many layers to trauma. One of my main problems was that I didn’t think that I was traumatized — I believed what people told me that I was “just overreacting”. I have clusters of trauma throughout my life, some of it more devastating because of my Aspie mind, but still some of the things that I have gone through “normal” people would have a hard time with as well. Trauma is trauma every person is affected differently, just like stress, and it all matters. We all have to deal with it or block in whatever way to help us cope.

I have managed a lot of my trauma by hiding.

I hid behind masks, I used mirroring as a way to cope, I used friends or significant others to shadow, I used alcohol, and various other things as a way to escape into my own world. I forgot the things that started me hiding my writings, poetry, and stories. I used to write songs also, but I would not dare tell someone that after the way dad responded. He didn’t really express any interest at all, but a few years later when my little sister wrote a song it was all he talked about. He told me about the events of it being created and then, when they came to visit us he played guitar for her and they both sang the song together. I was not jealous, I was confused. I was happy for her. I thought it was great, but I knew that I had to hide my response because my dad would have accused me of being jealous — I have been accused of being jealous of my sisters a lot. I am not we are completely different, and I like that. Many times my response to things like I just mentioned was taken as jealousy.

I was confused, I believe rightfully so. 

AND I do not feel guilty for saying that. I cannot recall attempting to write any songs since then. While in high school my first boyfriend would invade my room. He read my diaries and that caused me to stop writing my true feelings. I wrote in my notebooks and hid them in my locker, he found them. I got in trouble, and one time he threw the spiral notebook at face cutting my cheek in the lunch room. In front of my “friends” one of which ended up being my second boyfriend, who did nothing. I will mention here as well that during lunch one day my second boyfriend to be called me “Moose Hicky”. I got up and left holding back the tears until I got to the bathroom. He was always making fun of me, but telling me that they were just jokes and that I should lighten up. He did that throughout our whole relationship.

I could not tell friend from foe, and I assumed that I was wrong and he was right.

I digress — my first boyfriend went through all of my things, all of the time. I started to hide things that I wrote in my basement. I would hide poems and things behind my cassette tape cases. I hid things in my books because he never touched my books. I hid my writings in my mom’s album sleeves. Then, came a day when all of my diaries were gone. I had not been writing “real” things in them because I knew that he would read them. I still started to panic though. They were gone. They were mine and they were gone. I asked my mom about them, but she was the extreme opposite and would not go in my room or touch anything of mine like that because of her parents invading her space while growing up. She swore that she would never do that to her children. She knew nothing about me or what was going on in my room unless it was too messy or I got in trouble then she would remove my doors so that I had no privacy at all.

I asked my step dad if he knew where they were, he claimed not to know.

I discovered later that he lied, when his truck was impounded after their divorce, the truck was in my mom’s name so she had to get it back and pay for it — I found them hidden under his seat. I also discovered a while later from my first boyfriend when my step dad and his friends would go deer hunting they would get drunk and stoned sitting around reading my diaries. My first boyfriend had similar connections in town since he and my step dad both did drugs. I was beyond devastated. I was sick for weeks, at least I had them back, but I stopped eating and sank into depression. From then on I made sure that I hid everything very well. I did not start sharing my writing again until I shared my poetry, songs, and other writings with family.

I received what felt like mostly indifference, silence or comparisons with other family members.

I will say not all of all them responded that way, but since it’s so hard to read people I was not sure what their responses meant. I assumed that my writings and what I had to share had little value. I still had the impact of my mom’s response from years earlier as well that stuck in my thoughts. I had hidden away my imagination and emotions and only allowed myself to write prayers or petitions to God. I still wrote, but I hid them on my computers, tucked away in the middle of prayer journals, and various other places never to be seen. I normally told no one that I wrote anything. I started writing stories again in 2009, but would not allow myself to finish. I didn’t begin writing poetry truly connecting to my own emotions or thoughts until I started the poetry blog. I actually started that one so I could use the “like” button, not to put my poetry out there, but I found that it was helping me. When I started sharing some of my short stories by creating another blog for them it started making me feel more comfortable. Slowly I have been working through my fear of sharing, and coming out of hiding even more.

It is a huge feat for me to overcome these fears and share what I write.

It wasn’t only that people read my innermost thoughts or violated me, but that they mocked me that helped to form these fears. My first boyfriend made fun of me or got angry and violent. I found out that my step dad and his friends sat around laughing and mocking me as well. I think I was between 14-15 years old when all of that happened. My first boyfriend continued this invasion of my notebooks, room, lockers, and later my car until I was finally able to be rid of him. That is another long story. All of this made me hide, and hide my writings. I have taken back my writing, and most days I feel comfortable with sharing. I welcome constructive criticism I do not see that as rejection, but a helpful tool. The difference with sharing now is that I am not being violated — I am sharing freely so now the fear lies in another form of rejection.

Though it does not consume me, well most days it doesn’t. :-)

I managed to get some stories out in the past few months by forcing myself to not edit and just let the story flow. I have also been attempting story poems, or longer poems. I am trying new things. I have many hidden away on my computer, but I have been afraid to read them again because of what I may have written. I have only shared a few of them with people, and got derailed a bit my no response. I decided to treat it as I do with this blog I just write on here more freely than in the past, but I allow myself to share. That is one reason why I started my story blog to write a story and not care so much about the grammar, and writing rules. I wanted to allow myself to write whatever I felt. I was forcing myself to face my fear. I have allowed my imagination to go free. It takes a lot for me to share stories or poetry because I feel very exposed. They are a part of me that has not been allowed out for quite some time.

I think this, I can define as an accomplishment. :-)

 


 

 

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