LSS: Trauma anxiety spirals are a bitch. But a random deer probably saved my day today. How? Read on
This…was not the blog I was writing earlier. But, mid-walking-blogging…a deer crossed my path. He didn’t see me and run. He didn’t let his flight instincts force him from his chosen path. He looked at me…leaned down…chewed a little grass…wandered slowly across the path…and gracefully continued on his way.
Damn. If a deer can see something that triggers his flight response and not let it take over or change his path…shouldn’t I be able to so the same?
You see…what I was writing was about the spiral I’ve been trying to escape since last night…how every path my brain tried to cross revealed another danger…how the spiral wasn’t ending.
Things have been…rough…for me and my daughter this year. I won’t go into details because she deserves SOME privacy, even if her mom is a blogger who never shuts up. But, suffice it to say that this is not the life I ever pictured for her and I’m scared for her. I’m scared for us. So, yesterday something along that topic happened. I thought I was actually handling it with much more zen than I usually do…but then I tried to sleep…and it all hit.
It started with me thinking about the sweet, loving girl she used to be…in my mind, I saw everything change in slow motion…my brain tried to wrap around it all and pinpoint WHERE things changed. What did I do wrong? What did I miss? How did I fail her? If I can just find it…I can fix it! This went on for awhile, until I was so worked up that I lost all control and…
Went downstairs and got a Xanax and an ice cream bar. Like any woman facing an emotional crisis.
And then I slept.
For many people, that would have been the end of that. Buuuuttt…welcome to trauma. My mom was in my dream. She was laughing at me, “You dumb bitch. You always fear me still taking good things from you. I never needed to. Look at you. You ruin everything you touch. Look at how you’ve broken your daughter. Look at how everyone leaves. Look at everyone else with their families and friends. Look how every person who thinks you’re lovable eventually realizes you aren’t. Just wait…Aaron thinks he’s not leaving…but you’ll make him. You’re broken. Everyone leaves. Because you’re shit.”
WELL THEN. THANKS, MA.
Obviously this was a dream. Obviously my mom wasn’t anywhere near me. I haven’t allowed her near enough to me to say that much in many years. That being said, that particular nightmare was probably way closer to what reality would be than my normal nightmares.
I woke up in a panic. I texted my ex sister-in-law (where Bella is right now) and asked her to have Bella call me when she could. She called me sleepy and annoyed (normal teenage response) and I asked her if I had missed something…if I had caused all of this…HOW IS THIS MY FAULT????? Like any teenager would respond to this, “Geez, mom. For real? No. Go away.” “No, I’m scared, Bella.” “Mom, you’re thinking in the wrong colors.” “What? What colors am I thinking in?” “The wrong ones.” “Ok…what colors are the right colors?” “The right ones. Go away. I’ll talk to you later.”
The full conversation was included so you could be as baffled as I am…but…obviously, that didn’t help. Lol
Ok…spiraling…spiraling…I’ll mindlessly scroll social media. Maybe that will derail the spiral. (Pro Tip: THIS NEVER WORKS. DON’T DO IT.) I scroll. I see memes. Yay! I see the Facebook highlight reel of people’s lives. Shit. I see people who used to be big parts of my life. So happy. And I hear my dream mother again…”See? I told you. No one needs you. Look how much better they are without you.”
Nope. Nope. Nope. Not gonna do this. I’ll go walk!!
Turn a corner…Shit! Run! That man looks like your stepfather! Shut up, brain. It’s not him. He’s not here. He can’t hurt you.
Turn another corner…Look at that older, short lady in sunglasses…dark frizzy hair…it could be your mom… NO. IT’S NOT MY MOM. SHUT UP.
Brain repeating. Everyone hates you. You’re shit. Everyone knows it. Panic. Everyone hates you. You’re shit. Everyone knows it. Panic. Everyone hates you. You’re shit. Everyone knows it. Panic. Everyone hates you. You’re shit. Everyone knows it. Panic.
Ok. Time to write. Yes, I’m on a trail. Yes, that’s a weird place to blog. But writing helps. Look for an appropriate blog picture….fall into rabbithole of psychology quotes and memes about CPTSD…Anxiety…Abandonment…Spirals…
THIS IS NOT HELPING.
A strange woman came up behind me trying to get my attention…I start to panic more…but she just smiles at me and points ahead. I smiled back (because that’s what we do), but I had no idea what she was pointing at.
And then…there he was.
This beautiful creature…with an evolutionary instinct to see danger and use its grace and legs to bolt. Surrounded by what his brain was taught was danger…people…(Ironically, the same thing I fear)…
…BUT HE WAS SO CALM…
His eyes didn’t dart around and size up the danger. He didn’t flee in terror or self-preservation. He looked at these “dangers” on his path…and he knew it wasn’t real danger…no matter what his instincts said…and fake dangers weren’t going to ruin his calm, his snack, or his peaceful wanderings.
It stopped me in my tracks. The panic spiral halted almost instantly.
Damn. That deer is smarter than me. I need to be more like that deer.
I am safe.
I am loved.
I am worthy.
Times are hard, but we can do this. We can face this. I didn’t break anything.
So, I’m not panicking now. The spiral was halted. I’m still sad. I still have a bit of a panic hangover. But I’m going to keep reminding myself.
Be like the deer. Use your instict to protect yourself when necessary, but don’t let it make you flee from false dangers. Stand firm…snack…and stay graceful and on your path.
So, in short…
Oh, Deer…thank you.