We are still out of hospital :)
This blog is around triggers, this is especially poignant for us at the moment, as one of ours is loud bangs, something you cannot get away from at this time of year...though hoping for a breather before new year!
Triggers affect many people in different ways, and everyone has them, whether it makes someone angry, sad or scared. For me, and I am guessing many people with PTSD certain triggers take them back to a time when they were not in control and a very scary time of their lives, the cause of their PTSD.
PTSD affects many people both from childhood trauma, being in front-line military to seeing something horrific, and I am sure that I have forgotten other causes.
The diagnostic criteria for PTSD (I have complex PTSD, which is slightly different)is as follows (paraphrased)
Criterion A: stressor
The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence
Criterion B: intrusion symptoms
including intrusive flashbacks, memories, nightmares etc.
Criterion C: avoidance
Criterion D: negative alterations in cognitions and mood
negative emotions related to event such as shame guilt anger to name a few
Criterion E: alterations in arousal and reactivity
Irritable or aggressive behaviour
Self-destructive or reckless behaviour
Exaggerated startle response
Problems in concentration
the biggest thing that brings all these together is the reaction to triggers, it relates all criteria B-E and I think I can see all of these in me.
Triggers are such a difficult thing to deal with. Knowing when they are coming is one thing but knowing what to do about it is another....avoidance (i.e. criteria C) being the biggest one. However it is not always possible to avoid triggers, and sometimes you don’t even know they are coming.
I don't have the answers, my usual response is to dissociate, whether it be amnesia or within my system, and this for me is dangerous as this is when tend to do my “risky” behaviour.
I did cut over the weekend. Well when I said I cut Rachel did. (For those who don’t know about my DID see here) it was her way of keeping control. The pain inside is so immense, and the flashbacks so intense that as a teenager she knows no other way to cope than to make the pain real. The strange thing is it doesn’t hurt when we are actually doing it, only after. I am not suggesting that people use self harm as a way to cope as it is very damaging, but its my way at the moment. I think self harm will have to be my next blog post! The banging of the fireworks that were coming from everywhere even though the weather was awful just sent us into sensory overdrive and reminded us of certain things to do with our abuse. Things we hadn’t really realised before.
That’s another thing about triggers sometimes they come out of the blue, or you just don’t understand (yet) why you react the way you do.
Sometimes you choose to go somewhere that you know is going to trigger you, but for a different reason, I think we mentioned about Elodie in my previous post, she was a very good friend who recently died. Her funeral was a trigger nightmare for us, because of the religious nature of our abuse, and we were desperately trying to stay “present” for Elodie, but found it so hard especially with the incense, something that immediately takes us back to the satanic ritualistic abuse that we suffered. But we, just about, did it. And it made us feel so proud that we faced things such as entering a church for something we had to do (say goodbye to Elodie) even though every bone of my body didn't want to go anywhere near the church.
If anyone has any ideas how we can cope with my too many to mention triggers please let us know, because we cant cope with all the triggers this time of year.
if you need help please look at Eastbourne Survivors Support Page
Sorry this is so depressing.