Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Triggers, Temptation and Trauma

I have been having a bad week, and I think it might be time to get my ample butt back to the shrink. It might be a little difficult since I'm broke but it needs to be done.

I had been having a pretty good start to the year but this week I started trying to get into some good habits, and instead of getting in the groove, I've fallen on my ass. It all started when I went to my evening art class. I began going in the fall because I needed something to do other than be depressed, and  I needed a reason to wear pants other than sweat pants. Things were going great and then there was a break for Christmas.

I was really excited to go back, I hadn't done any painting all December so I wanted to get going but I didn't have a subject. I decided to draw a building and began flipping through a library book of architecture. And then it happened. I saw a picture of the building I used to work in, the place I was working when I cracked. It's hard to describe the sensation of a panic attack or flash back but it is a full body experience. You feel it from your scalp to your feet. My world narrowed in to just that photo, everything else going on around me no longer registered. I felt cold and clammy, my breathing sped up and I started shaking. All I could do was picture decayed human flesh, and I gagged as I remembered the smell of putrification I quickly excused myself to the bathroom. I sat with my head between my knees and breathed deeply.

When I was able to go back out I put the book away and grabbed a picture of some birds and hurriedly began sketching. I felt anxious and my mind kept switching back to memories best left buried. I ended up finishing the class and was unhappy with my painting. I wasn't surprised given how anxious and upset I was. Everything upset me after I saw that picture. When the instructor would compliment another student I felt furiously jealous  When she helped me correct my mistakes I fell ashamed and humiliated. It was like the last several months of progress had been undone. By a picture in a library book.

I have been having a rocky couple of days, I fell back into some really bad patterns I have for dealing with stress. I feel very weak that a picture could cause a full body memory that has upset me for days.

There have been a lot of ads running on the tv and radio about mental health awareness  It helps to know I'm not alone in this but it is still difficult to talk to the people I love about this. I don't want to seem weak by being upset by something so simple. A library book can't hurt me, but now I don't want to pick it up. It is a reminder of things I don't want to deal with. But how long can I run from this? Running from yourself is exhausting.

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