Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday's Woe - Swamp Thing or Trauma's Triggers When You Can Neither Flee Nor Fly Nor Fight

Wednesday's Woe

Swamp Thing!


Trauma's Triggers When You Can

Neither Flee Nor Fly Nor Fight

~Tommy and Angie Prince

Angie says,

"That is not helpful to me right now!"

I heard myself say to Tommy this morning in the midst of my Triggered Trauma. These were the same words I had heard one of my clients say to me less than a week ago!

Secondary Trauma...


Picture a Fight-or-Flight state that stays with you, longer than you could either Flee nor Fly nor Fight.

It is a monster and it overcomes me. I meditate in the Lord and am able to go to sleep.

But then, it awakens me at 3:30 a.m. and won't go away. I am in its throes, and it will not relent. I am triggered... Tommy and I talk for a bit, and then I am able to go back to sleep for a few hours (I have a client coming today!).

But when I awaken, the TRAUMA is back full-force and will not go away.

The trauma is as real as if the house were on fire and everyone had better get out, and I mean now!
Danger is in the air. It is a crisis state. It cannot be explained away. It cannot be screamed away. Over-reactions further traumatize me. Under-reactions abandon me. It is real, it is all-consuming, and I am under its influence.

I haven't slept well and cannot function well at all, so I call my client and reschedule her. I am in our den trying to explain to Tommy how ripped up I am feeling; it is monstrous!

"By the way," I try to tell him, "if you cannot love me enough to climb down IN THIS PIT with me and lovingly help me out, one baby-step at a time, then don't even bother. God will reach down and help me out if you cannot.

"Just, whatever you do, don't make it worse!"

Then I plead with him,

"Your long explanations won't work ~ I cannot hear you!
I cannot focus long enough to take in what you have to say.
My mind is on hyper-arousal and can only hear simple,
calm and kind words that meet me
You cannot YANK ME OUT! TRUST ME~That Won't Work!"

(I am much more sensitive since Merry Katherine's death. I had a tender heart before. Now I have a pulverized tender-but-raw heart.)

"I cannot hear any, I many ~ ANY ~ of YOUR issues right now, even as accurate as they might be. They can be addressed at some other time, but right now, I am triggered.

I need very clear, gentle yet firm ways to find my footing, or believe me, my trauma will only ESCALATE..."

Tommy meanwhile is thinking to himself and later joked with me...

"So amid your fight-or-flights, I'm 'phlucked.'"

("That's a cross between fight and flight...That's what a duck gets when its feathers have been plucked out by landing on a firecracker.)

"I feel like a duck who's landed in the middle of the decoys during hunting season. I don't know what's gonna happen, but it ain't gonna be pretty. Any way it turns out, I'm gonna be walking away with no feathers. All my "me-so-pretty" feathers are gonna be blown away."

Later when we were able to talk about what happened in a little calmer mode, I told Angie,

"You had the black eyes of a shark this morning. Your eyes were even dilated."

To which Angie replied,

"Well, my amygdala was in charge, just there to handle severe stress, in the so called 'Reptilian Brain,' (not the 'Old Mammalian Brain,' nor the 'New Mammalian Brain,' but in) the most PRIMARY, BASIC FUNCTIONING BRAIN, THERE TO HANDLE FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT ~ THAT'S ALL IT CAN DO!"

(See "Primitive Brain" on Chart below.)

to which Tommy replied,

"Well, it WAS a SWAMP THING. It was Reptilian alright, but I would just call it 'THE SWAMP THING!'"

(Isn't it nice that hours later, the humor can come out, and we can laugh at such extreme dynamics together?!)

"You looked like SWAMP THING coming up out of the black, slimy bayou, and I hadn't even had my first cup of coffee yet!"

(And, much later, I told her,)

"I AM grateful you're doing much better ~
because I'm all out of feathers..."

Our Morning, Before We Even Had Coffee

The Swamp Thing:


1 comment:

danielle198890 said...

Funny Angie!! A petite and pretty "Swamp Thing," now that's making me smile! It came to mind that "Rambo"(Rambette) and "Swamp Thing" would make a good team?" The transformation of a calm and joyful wife after the assault of child loss grief, trauma and strife?" Another type of "Dynamic Duo(us)?" Yes! Hostage Hugs & Love To You! :o)

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