It’s just a squirrel…

Trauma. It comes in various forms. I have had a decade’s worth of emotional traumas. Very real situations with very profound impacts. The last of the experiences leaving me with a degree of PTSD.

I experience triggers which cause flashbacks beyond my control to play like movies on extreme fast forward in my mind and leaving me bewildered. I was going along fine in my day and then bam I’m reminded of “it”. My children have these experiences too which come in the form of “Hey, remember that time that ___ “.

Then there are the moments that I go through like a simple hang out at the firefighter’s house and discover that a friend is joining us for drinks. This sends my fight or flight instinct into high gear. The hamster starts running on that wheel overanalyzing the situation. Does this mean we are defining something? Panic mode… I’m frustrated with this reaction and terrified that this is the new me. The person who doesn’t trust; who no longer believes in love and romance… The person who wants to run.

Of course, I address the triggers and this reaction to simply meeting a friend in counselling. Again, we confirm that his was not a normal break up and that I am in recovery from an abusive and angry person. This is to be expected.

We explore my reaction to meeting the friend for a bit. My therapist explains that the two of us faced with the same situation will perceive it differently. She exists in a general state of calm most of the time. I spent almost a year in a constant state of fight or flight. It takes the body and brain time to get back in to a general and consistent state of calm. She describes a scenario of us both walking through the woods. We hear a cracking, crashing sound in close proximity. Her reaction will most likely be “Squirrel” and she will carry on like nothing is happening. I on the other hand, in my current state, will hear the same noise and assume Godzilla is coming to get us. I will go into fight or flight mode – mostly flight mode. I will assume there is a need to run for our lives.

Most of life’s noise is the squirrel. Things we shrug off, that don’t require a second thought. A person who cuts us off in traffic, a colleague who compliments our outfit, a grumpy teenager, meeting a new person…

Meeting a guy’s friend is a squirrel too. It doesn’t define anything, it was a pretty enjoyable couple of hours, sitting in the kitchen while the boys had bevvies and I drank club soda. Two normal gents, refreshing…

Still Godzilla…the thought of a defined relationship and also the thought that three months from now I cannot be sitting around that kitchen island without direction… Godzilla is quite the mystifying beast…

Godzilla also takes the form of being this single mom again, now a version with no breaks as my children are distancing themselves from their father, it’s hard to watch. Godzilla is fear, heartache and fatigue.