Triggered

This day is not off to a great start.  It has to get better, right?

i woke, sleepily asking, “Master, is it time to get up?”

“it can be,” she replied, meaning i was free to sleep in or rise and make her french press.  She thoughtfully allowed me to pee, though it is our custom that she gets to use the bathroom first.  She washes and all while i get her french press, water, and vitamin together.  i take my own meds and sourly wait for them to do something.  i woke in high pain, which i became aware of when i felt uncharacteristically annoyed.  i wanted to ask her if she couldn’t shit faster or something because i needed a hot shower.  We live in a beautiful pre-war building that can be very stingy with the hot water.  i waited all day yesterday and there never was a drop of even lukewarm water.

i spent yesterday scrubbing the kitchen, embarrassed at the state of the cabinets.  i had a full list yesterday, so much so that the goodliest Master called me from work to tell me to not over do it.  i got everything done and while i was in pain all day, i was happy because everything was in order.  We had spent the weekend at home, other than when i went out Saturday for some water and yogurt, which took me a solid hour because of it being the day before Easter.  It’s amazing how fast a few things out of place here and there make the apartment a hot mess.  Sir Raven wasn’t feeling well Saturday so i spent the day quietly reading and beading.  Sunday was better because she felt better and we were at least in the livingroom together, watching tv and joining in an online discussion group.

This morning, i took a miserable cold shower.  And i do mean cold!  It hurt a great deal.  The damn fibro made it feel like needles hitting me all over.  i have hair down to my ass that needed to be washed, so i couldn’t even get in and out quickly.  i was irritable and freezing and then thought about what an ass i was being.  There are people without running water at all.

i wrote up and turned in my list for the day.  i was going through my morning chores, rinsing a glass in the sink, when i dropped and it broke, cutting my wrist.  The sound of breaking glass always makes me think of Dawn.  Once, when i left a bowl in the sink overnight without realizing it, she took every single plate, bowl, and glass we owned and threw them all against the terrazzo flooring breaking them into shards.  She was hysterically screaming while i cowered, barefoot and blind.  When she left, a neighbor came over and i was weighing the terror of being caught with a man in the house with the terror of stepping into glass i couldn’t see and making a bigger mess by bleeding or not having the mess cleaned up when she returned.  The guy took a look at my bruised face, split lip, and the rest of the damage and quietly started sweeping it all up.

He brought me my own pair of shoes-flip flops-and said there was too much mess and those shoes wouldn’t protect my feet enough for me to help.

So breaking glass is a trigger.

As i found out this morning, so is having my wrist bleeding.  i had just turned fourteen, the Summer of the hate crime, where i was literally beaten unrecognizable.  My face swelled, black and blue, purple and green.  It was so swollen, it didn’t look quite human.  My foster mother insisted on me going out with her.  She suddenly developed an interest in finding parks, where small children would look at my black and blue face and body and cry.  Point.  Scream.  One small girl screamed, “It’s a monster!” at me.  It was more painful than the heat on my bruised and cut flesh.  More painful than the broken bones.  And my foster mother would nod in approval, “This is God’s punishment for you.”

My face and body took almost two months to heal.  So there were lots of these experiences of having small children cry and run away from me.  After one such outing, i slit my wrists in the shower, slinking down and sobbing.  Broken.  The soap hurt and couldn’t clean me enough.

When she discovered my failed attempt, several days later, she took me for “counseling” with the head of the Christian/Penecostal program’s wife.  She told me that we needed to pray and that i had done all of this to myself, because i had tried to run away from the home.  She said that if i cut myself again that she would have to punish me with a belt.  i sat there, mute, running my tongue against my broken and jagged teeth.  i thought it would be a cold day in hell before i’d let her-or anyone else-do that.

i spoke the language she would understand, that i needed to go to the sea and repent, wash myself, and beg God’s forgiveness.  The next day, it was arranged for me to do just that.  i remember the salt in my wounds, fresh and healing.  i never understood how anyone could heal without the sea nearby.

i had remembered all of this, in a flash, flooded by memories decades old.  i had to leave the broken glass in the sink, get to the bathroom and press on the small but persistent cut.  It sounds crazy-i know it sounds crazy-but i had to make myself look in the mirror to prove i wasn’t scary, not a monster, not disgusting anymore.

i started quickly to deal, spraying lavender scent.  Drinking coffee.  Familiar scents, tastes, things of home.  Safety.  Lighting a cigarette and then another.  Trying to get warm.  But then the bleeding started again.  It took awhile to get it to stop, though it’s an entirely unimpressive cut.

Finally, after an hour of rocking, rocking, rocking everything is just a dull buzzing in my head.  It will be hours before i can get myself to leave the house now.  i had a panic attack once in the grocery store last year that was horrific and i can’t have that happen again.

i’ll bead.  It’s meditative.  It’s for Sir Raven’s Godfather, it makes her Gods happy, it is something i can do.

i feel sick. Ashamed.  i should be further along.  This shouldn’t happen anymore.  How can i ever be a good therapist when i have to spend a fucking hour forcing myself to stay here?

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8 thoughts on “Triggered

  1. sofia says:

    How can you not be a fabulous therapist when you will be able to have so much empathy for your clients? What is this stupid “should rule” about being further along??? How could you not react to those two triggers, thrown at you side by side? If you managed to “stay here” you can celebrate your strength and courage. That’s strong as hell.

    Beading sounds good. Writing about all this was powerful – for others if not for you. Don’t forget to breathe.

    ❤ and hugs…

    • jadescastle says:

      Thank you. You are right. i wouldn’t put some kind of time constraint on a client, especially if they had a major trauma every two years for three decades, like i did. i did manage to stay in the now which is a accomplishment. Many hugs, ❤

  2. Yingtai says:

    I think you are coping magnificently. You know exactly what’s happening to you and you’re doing the right things to help yourself. Surely that’s exactly what a therapist should do? If I were Sir Raven I’d be very proud of you when I got home. Hug?

    • jadescastle says:

      Sir Raven was a bit miffed that i never made it outside. Heh. She also wasn’t happy that i tried to clean up the mess by myself. Thanks for all of your kind words and support. i really appreciate it.

  3. monkey says:

    My first, and very visceral reaction to this was, “There is no should!” I understand the shame, I do, but I will say to you with complete and total confidence that I am right in this, that feeling of shame is the trauma lying to you. You have nothing to be ashamed about.

    Even knowing that, the shame still visits me, but I can chase it away by practicing telling myself “I have nothing to be ashamed of”. Logically I know I have nothing to be ashamed of, but the mind is a complicated place and trauma recieved as a child leaves lifelong scars. Sofia is right, you stayed present and that is something to celebrate. You are alive, you can love and recieve love, you create, and all of that is a triumph.

    I think you will make a brilliant therapist exactly because you will be able to relate to your patients. You are taking the damage done to you, and using it to build something great. I wish I could hug you.

    • jadescastle says:

      The foster mother went out of her way to shame me following the attack that could have killed me. She signed me out against medical advise, brought me back to the house, and had me get into my bed, covered in filth. It’s easy for me to understand the reasons behind the hate crime itself. i understood that while it was happening. It’s far harder to move past the shame from the foster mother. From my own mother, who received a follow-up call from the ER, and never bothered to come for me. i waited for my face to heal before i ran away again, to spare her. i was always strong. Thank you for reminding me of that, as i work to build my life.

  4. morgianacontentlycaptured says:

    This is WHY you will be a good therapist. Never forget that – everything you live through helps you understand what they are going through. It is painful, it is humiliating, but it is making you stronger. I realized a few weeks ago that things may trigger me – no matter how far along I get. It just is. But you know – it gets better. They come less often, they only come when we feel safe. We learn to do things to get through the memory. Most important – you have a support group that loves you so much jade. We are here for you. Always. Listen to your Sir. Be good to yourself, don’t over do it – honor her by taking care of you and what you need too. Don’t get too lost in your head. Doing things with your hands is good -stay outside of your head. Sit at her feet when she comes home, find your safe place where you know no matter what – you are safe with her. If she allows of course. Sitting at Sir’s feet always helps me – especially when he lets me curl up like a cat. I fall asleep like that… it is so … encompassing. But most importantly – allow yourself to work through it and process it without judgment. This too shall pass. I wish you serenity today – may you have the strength to accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can and have the wisdom to know the difference 😉 big hugs.

    • jadescastle says:

      Thank you. i did manage to stay out of my head and in my body. It took me hours to get warm, between the cold shower and the feeling of cold that happens from shock, which is what happens to me. Thank you for all of your kind words and reinforcements of doing what i needed to do.

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