It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to type on this screen. Life has been chaotic, to put it lightly, and since a few days before our move a week and a half ago, I have been one fucked up triggered mess.
So we just moved – from one side of Denver to the other. We moved from a place we’ve lived in for the past 5 years and have had so many horrific and amazing things happen there. I had 5 surgeries while we lived in that place. I brought my youngest into this world and all the complications his birth brought. I faced two (2!!!) rounds of trauma memories returning and restored one of my shattered younger selves to my broken soul. I discovered my true self there, and we built it into a home that was so safe, and stable. It is not insignificant the worth of that space, and the safety and security and stability I felt there. To say that I have been preparing since December for this move, is an understatement. However I was only barely prepared for what uprooting everything there and moving here was going to cost me.
I have felt so much shame and guilt the past few days. Shame of my younger selves freaking out and my current adult self acting out their panic and insecurity and fear. Despite the depth of work I’ve doing for almost a decade, specifically the last 2 1/2 years, this kind of disruption to a safe space and NOT having a new space readily available, I have been deeply spiraling. I have wanted to lash out, the fear and panic has been palpable in my mouth and at the back of my throat. I’ve been dangerously near to major panic/anxiety attacks, closer than I’d even like to admit. I can still feeling the rising bile in the back of throat as panic closes in. Even though right now, it is a quieter whisper and my younger selves are starting to believe me that we are safe and protected and okay.
The shame of spiraling so badly after being stable [mostly] for so long is deeply rooted within me. I was sobbing into the phone with a friend yesterday that I can’t figure out if this is just triggers or if there is something wrong with me and I really screwed things up. It feels shameful for the C-PTSD and strong enough triggers to suddenly take over so that I am no longer in control. Feelings of abandonment, feelings of not having a safe space and being desperately on guard and just waiting for that really bad things to happen. It’s exhausting and nauseating to be so heavily on guard and flinching and wincing at every weird look or “off” tone of voice. I’ve been in traumatized younger child mode, fawning with almost everyone, just trying to watch my back and be on guard 24/7.
Throughout this big transition, I have not been in trauma informed spaces, so trying to explain why I’m suddenly losing it hasn’t been an option. I have found myself over-explaining and then trying to stop talking and knowing that it’s over-explain or start sobbing. Talking nonstop seems like the better option then.
I feel ashamed of myself for not being able to stop this downward spiral, but my higher self and trauma informed self is trying to assure me this is the nasty effects of trauma and the horrific depths of abuse that I experienced. I hate that I have no control over it, I hate that there are so many layers to uncover and release and heal. It is not a one-off and wham bam thank you ma’am, we’re good. It’s a constant work in progress, it’s a constant battle to try to manage triggers so that they don’t slam me in the face so badly, despite having worked to prepare for them.
I have felt like I am only my trauma lately. Especially as I’ve been getting introduced to and introducing myself to new teachers and people we’re going to have in my family’s life in this new area. Trying to navigate new schools for both of my children, the new area, the new stores, and new driving routes is no small feat; adding in the loudly screaming and panicking trauma? It’s been no wonder I’ve been developing migraines most evenings, and falling asleep almost instantly at night because of severe nauseating exhaustion (which is RARE).
Small talk has been almost impossible. Mostly due to the fact that my younger selves have been so loud and scared and it’s their voices that are the loudest. So trying to talk to those new people we’re meeting? Again, it’s the over-explaining, the helplessly sharing irrelevant information, and I feel like I’m making a fool of myself. I have felt so unseen. I have felt so panicked and unsafe and have been desperately trying to find my own little space where I am safe and protected. I stayed up to almost 11pm the day we moved in here, desperately trying to unpack enough that I wouldn’t feel so utterly uprooted, trying to get ahead of the voices starting to build in my head. Here I am a week an half later, and I was most definitely NOT successful. I have worked my fingers raw hanging pictures, unpacking boxes, getting cardboard paper cuts (yes, these are possible and they HURT) just trying to stay ahead of the tsunami of triggers I watched head my way. It wasn’t enough and I lost that battle.
I finally feel like I have my head above water and my voice isn’t quite as muted anymore. I felt like I was a ghost in a room full of laughing and happy people and no one could hear me or see me. No matter how much I sobbed and yelled and begged, no one saw or heard me. Just imagine that kind of panic. The trauma of having been unseen and neglected and abandoned as a young child is some of the hardest I’ve had to process and work through. And I am still doing that work; it is such a deeply layered process and I know there are more layers to go.
I’m still processing what came up and was the loudest this spiraling round. I need to figure out how I approach the immense sense of abandonment I felt. The abandonment and panic of not being seen was so devastatingly loud I am still sickeningly reeling from it hitting me.
I sat through another 10ish hours of classes last night and today and the sense of being unseen and unsafe was so loud I almost had to get up and leave. I wanted to go home, but as my spouse put it, we haven’t attached to this house yet. We’ll get there, but right now it’s a weird limbo, made worse by the triggers and loud trauma.
So I guess with all of this, I am trying to face and acknowledge the toxic shame that’s making me want to hide and withdraw from everyone right now. I’m looking the excruciatingly vast panic and abandonment in the face and shuddering at having to go into it again and process it out. But I will do the work. That’s what I do; I face the shadows and I bring them light and balance. I am a shadow worker.