DAY 5 Triggers
“When someone’s PTSD gets triggered, they often experience physical reactions, such as difficulty breathing, pounding heart and heightened startle reflex. This can be attributed to increased levels of adrenaline.”
“These floods of adrenaline arise because brain circuits involved in the regulation of emotion learn to activate in response to trauma-related cues and then do not unlearn these associations after the threat passes,” explains Dr John Krystal, a national PTSD expert and chief psychiatrist at Yale Medicine.
“In other words, any time people with PTSD get triggered, their bodies may react the same way they did during their trauma. They can get stuck in their fear.”
That note from Dr John Krystal explains Triggers very well psychologically.
Triggers often include smells, touch, words, sounds, questions, sights or thoughts that remind you of the trauma in some way. These are talked about in my book, ‘No Defence’ as well as how professional help can desensitize the triggers. I was able to do this with the help of a psychologist during my monthly meetings over 7 years. I still, to this day regularly see a psychologist.
Dreams or Nightmares, this is my subconscious trigger of which is a little harder to control. If I wake up in an agitated state and in sweats, I will get up read my left arm mantra tattoo, “A different Time, A different Place, I’m Safe Now”, change my bedding and pj’s and back to bed (that is, if it is not too early to go exercising).
I must confess I have at times gone off cycling at 2:00 am for 4 to 5 hours because I couldn’t face lying back down trying to sleep in the fear that the nightmare would continue. I am getting better at going back to sleep with my mantra taking care of me.
Why the tattoo? The story goes like this. I did have it on a piece of paper, but mostly couldn’t find where I put it when I needed it, like out somewhere with friends. I had a bright idea, put a picture of it on my phone, then I couldn’t find which album I put it in. Hence the tattoo, now I can just drop my head a little and read it and not be noticed by anyone. It really is my saviour.
Triggers and PTSD are a bloody pain in the butt, and I often wished I didn’t have it.
My unfriendly word, CLOSURE.
How do you obtain closure, there has been no closure in receiving an apology from the Defence Force, I still have lots of triggers.
I honestly believe there is no such thing as CLOSURE. There’s better, there’s different, there’s lots of other words but there is never closure. Closure means done. Hell, it’s never done. It’s never going to be done. It’s just a fancy word clinicians and people who have never known trauma like to use.
I will never have closure, but I will have strategies that help me carry on.