Have you ever felt like you can barely tread water? I mean this metaphorically, of course; I can swim–not well, but I can keep myself afloat. This is more like, treading water while trying to hold an awkward and heavy weight all while keeping your head above the waves.
The thing about trauma is your healing is never linear.
I can feel like I am winning, and healing, and doing all the things when suddenly something that seems super small tosses a stone into the water, creating ripples that end in tsunamis.
A subtle conversation, a shift in an environment, an uncomfortable scenario.
So when those waves start hitting, sometimes I need to drop the weight so I don’t go under. Other times, I hold on to that weight for a little too long and it leaves me gasping for air and clutching to escape.
Recognizing triggers is easier now that I am older and out of the toxic environment that I grew up in. In fact, I am coming up on 10 years since I left and started to work towards a healthier state of wellbeing.
Even though I know what is rushing towards me, it doesn’t make it any easier.
How do I move forward?
First, I identify what triggered me. Take ownership of it.
Things only have power over me if I let them.
Next, I work on grounding myself. What will bring me back to a healthier state of mind? Is it leaning on loved ones when I need it? Is it a gym session or a snuggle and play session with my daughter?
Finally, I acknowledge any negative behaviours I may have exhibited, apologize and own my actions, particularly if they affected others around me, and work to minimize those triggers and subsequent reactions in the future.
I’m not perfect, but I do know that I am always working a little bit harder to overcome my past and be the best version of myself–and you can too.
Hopefully, this helps you or brings you some comfort, we are all going through so much. And if you ever feel like you are drowning on dry land, just know you aren’t alone and you got this.