Day 10 – Suffering is not Holding You, You are Holding Suffering
Updated: 20 hours ago
The last two evenings have been incredibly challenging. I became triggered on Tuesday evening and have had to endure my PTSD symptom since then until this afternoon.
Last night was hard. I am pleased I have this journal to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Originally when I began this blog it was a blog about my dependence on alcohol for sleep. I had thought that I could later write about the reason behind the alcohol problem and just write about alcohol with that piece missing for now. I recently realised that was not possible.
I had never intended this to be a live report on dealing with my life, but rather a retrospective account. However, recent events have shown me that although I thought I had dealt with my PTSD symptom, I had only papered over the cracks.
Until we work through our emotional turmoil, we cannot expect to be free from its clutches. That is what the Buddhist saying below means:
Suffering is not holding you, you are holding suffering
Origin not confirmed but assumed to be Buddha
It is only when we realise we are allowing our suffering to control us that we can begin to work through it, process it and move on from it.
Although I am very upset about the circumstances that brought back my PTSD response, I am grateful for the opportunity to delve deeper into my trauma in order to process it and move forward.
I realise many people don’t understand this perspective of positive mindset, looking for the silver lining in every grey cloud. But I can tell you that if you look for it you will find it and it will help in dealing with whatever life throws your way.
I really like mindfulness teachings, they have helped me develop a more positive and calm mindset over the last few years. They are generally Buddhist in tradition and although I don’t identify as Buddhist, I think Buddhism can offer all of us some very useful life philosophies.
I hope that this blog can serve as support to others, and I hope that I can show that no matter how tough things can be, there is always a way through.
I believe strongly that we create our own happiness in life. And that does not mean waking up each day and flicking a switch to be happy. It means taking responsibility for our emotional wellbeing and working through the emotional distress we all hold inside.
No one reaches adulthood without going through challenging situations. You are not alone. You can get through whatever you are going through. Much love to you ❤
If you can allow yourself to be vulnerable and work through the things inside, I promise you can find an inner peace you never thought was possible.
Although my inner peace has been disrupted by the PTSD response, it is still there and is guiding me through these challenging days.
How the feeling felt last night
The anxiety that washes over me the longer the feeling is triggered becomes overwhelming inside. It’s like it bubbles up and up to a point that it’s uncomfortable and almost painful.
The feeling was triggered the night before and so 24 hours later I feel in complete distress with the feeling and emotions that are entwined within it.
I hate when it feels like this.
I am going to describe the feeling now. There is a trigger warning, if you may be triggered by sexually graphic descriptions please skip to the end of the trigger warning.
TRIGGER WARNING BEGINS
One of the mind memories of the abuse I have is of my abuser performing oral sex on me. The PTSD feeling is linked to this act. In my head that image often pops in whilst I am triggered. But the most overwhelming feeling is as though his head is there between my legs and I can feel him touching my clitoris.
TRIGGER WARNING ENDS
It feels intrusive.
I feel uncomfortable.
I feel trapped.
I feel helpless.
I feel afraid.
I feel angry.
I want to beat him off of me so that he will never be able to do this again.*
*As a side note it is not a surprise to me now that I sought strength training at age 16 despite having no one in my life as a role model engaging in such activities. I think this was an innate desire to be strong in order to have some sort of corrective approach to working through the distress I felt as a child, helpless and weak. Interestingly, the name Val means strong and I am proud of my name. I am not the strongest female and I have no desire to be much stronger than I currently am. But I do enjoy the feeling of empowerment that comes from training with weights.
Both Peter Levine and Bessel van der Kolk discuss the benefits of having visceral experiences in order to work through past trauma and complete incomplete emotional responses. Now I understand that part of my desire to be strong was probably a way of trying to complete the traumatic experience in childhood where I felt weak and unable to defend myself.
It is constant. The whole time I am triggered this feeling and the emotions are persistently there.
It really isn’t any wonder I reached out to alcohol when I experienced this symptom in the past. When under the influence of alcohol I eventually wouldn’t feel it and would be able to fall asleep.
The effects of unresolved trauma can be devastating. It can affect our habits and outlook on life, leading to addictions and poor decision-making. It can take a toll on our family life and interpersonal relationships. It can trigger real physical pain, symptoms, and disease. And it can lead to a range of self-destructive behaviors. But trauma doesn’t have to be a life sentence
Night-time is the worst as there is nothing to distract from the feeling.
During the day I can distract myself although it is still there.
Every second, every minute every hour until my stress response decides to shut it off.
This is what makes it so overwhelming and I reach a point where I feel anger and frustration inside.
I just want to be free.
Although when I am in the thick of it feels hard to see an end in sight, I know that by maintaining a positive mindset and working through things in therapy I will be able to get through it. I will be able to heal and I will eventually be free from the anguish inside.
Day - 365 Day Journal 9
Things that were awesome today:
I really enjoyed reading articles on The Growth Equation website written by Brad Stulberg and listening to an episode of their podcast. I really like the work of both Brad and his business partner Steve Magness, who I was lucky enough to meet in 2019.
Things that I am grateful for:
😀I am so grateful for continued support from friends – you are all wonderful, thank you so much
😀I am grateful for the opportunity to delve deeper into the trauma I experienced as a child
😀I am grateful for all of the therapy and self-development I have engaged with over the last few years that is helping me navigate my way through this challenging time
😀I am grateful for the opportunity to write this blog
Caffeine, Alcohol & Alcohol Free Beverages
Strength & Mobility
Deadlifts, mobility and foam rolling
Veggies & Fruit
Meditation & Mindfulness
Morning – Guided meditation
Before bed – Guided meditation
Throughout the night – Guided meditation
I ask all readers to be respectful. This is an honest and heart-felt account of the struggle I have incurred.
I thank you in advance for your respect and kindness and I encourage you to sign up to my mailing list so I can notify you about new blog updates.
If you are struggling with any of the issues raised in my blogs please get in touch. Your conversations with me will remain confidential. Please note that I am not a therapist but I can support you to find a way to address any issues you may be experiencing.