From the inside.

*** Warning ***
*** There are some triggering words (but no details) used in this blog.***

I am very much on the edge today and decided to try blogging as a way to regain some composure. For some weird reason, this just works for me. I am a writer. Words are my lifeline. Forming a complete sentence forces me to stop and think about a situation so I can not just continue to allow the “hamster on a wheel” in my brain to continue spinning at the same speed.  I actually believe I do not have a hamster on that wheel though. I’m thinking I more than likely have a cheetah… 😉

My husband and I run a dart league out of our shed every Friday night. 12 terrific people who get along really well. It is a non-competitive, fun league where it seems the cheers are just as loud for a terrific score as they are for a really crappy one. This group of people were hand-picked by my husband and I after another league got shut down due to a few drunken fools. We wanted nothing to do with that at all so our league has really good people in it. No drunkenness, rudeness, mean comments or petty disagreements. This is almost the end of our 3rd year and it is still just as good as day 1.
I wanted to give some background because the rest of my post is not about these people doing ANYTHING wrong. It is me and my reaction to completely unintentional triggers that has sent me for a major loop.

While playing darts, we all chat. The room tends to be loud. 12 fun adults in a shed will definitely be a bit on the loud side. Players/teams chat about everything. Kids, cars, weather, who died or who’s ill (small community – everyone knows everyone), home repairs, the cost of dog food, and anything else you can even imagine… including the news.

As a trauma survivor, I do not watch the news. It is not a lack of interest in keeping up with the world that stops me or the unending negative stories (although I firmly believe NO ONE is helped by those) but rather the fact that while others watch the news from the outside? I watch it from the inside.
I will try to explain what I mean.

When most people watch the news and see stories of horrible things that happen to people, they are able to be detached in a way because they can keep a distance between themselves and “those people”. I think most people are compassionate and feel badly for anyone that is hurting but it is still an outward expression towards a person and a situation that they have never experienced. I am grateful that most people can see it all this way.

When you have experienced severe trauma, you do not watch news stories the same way (in my opinion). That story about a rape puts you right in to the shoes of the person it happened to. You know how that feels. A child abduction may remind you of a time in your life where you were taken out of a safe place and put in to one that was terrifying totally against your will. OR when your “safe” place became unsafe. Even stories that no one would ever even consider being something that would trigger others like war, torture, horrific deaths, and many other countless possibilities that you see on the news, can actually be incredibly close (or bang on) to what a trauma survivor went through.
News stories are not the only source of triggers either. I am not an American but the Super Bowl was last weekend and all their commercials were still plastered all over the place here including the ones meant to raise awareness for domestic abuse, human trafficking, and rape that all spike in large numbers on Super Bowl Sunday for whatever reason. I do not watch the Super Bowl but the awareness raising efforts were put on Facebook as well.
To most people these are just sad statistics. They can watch it, mutter “oh that is horrible” and have a heartfelt wish that this year does not offer a repeat of others but then they can forget it. Gosh they are so lucky! I mean that. It is a huge blessing. I hope they appreciate it.
For a survivor of severe trauma, many of these things actually happened so it is not just a peek at a dark world from the outside looking in for 30 seconds or a minute. It is a peek in to and a reminder of your life. It is a very overwhelming experience.

So last night I am sitting in our shed and conversation begins about how ICIS (the terrorists) killed their latest victim and the story was horrifying. But the table had 5 people at it and only one has ever actually watched someone die that way. Literally. My mother did the same thing to my son. I will not say what it was. We do not need those details in my blog or this world. My point is more that the other 4 people at the table, all saw this as something that happened thousands of miles away by a group that we will unlikely ever be exposed to except on the news. They felt incredibly sorry for the victim and they are all compassionate people but only one person actually knows what it is like to have that done to someone you love. Me. I saw it from the inside while they viewed it from the outside. My sweet Helper Tilly began to scream and other Helpers rushed in to take over for me so that I did not scream, have a nervous breakdown, or pass out myself right then and there.

So what is the point of today’s blog other than me sharing a trigger? Honestly I don’t know.  Perhaps other trauma survivors will feel understood. That I know how hard these stories are for them because they too know what it feels like from the inside.
Perhaps people who do have the gift of being able to watch news from the outside, will think twice before repeating stories as casual conversation. To them it is a sad story. To someone sitting close to them it may be a life altering reminder of days gone past that have no possibility of ever truly healing from.

Is that fair to ask? I don’t know if it is or not. I don’t know it is possible either in this news crazed, information hungry society.
I guess I just wonder why people are so hungry for the crappy stuff and not actively seeking out all the goodness in this world? If more people wanted to see that stuff? The news would change and be more compassionate and informative. The good and the bad would be discussed. Not only the horrific and shocking.

Maybe I am dreaming here but then again, I never even dreamed I would begin to heal, be diagnosed correctly, offered compassion, or that I would be able to write a blog. I truly never believed that my life could ever be free from abuse and all that has happened. Maybe this can too?

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7 responses to “From the inside.

  1. .I cannot watch the news or any TV shows or movies that contain any violence. I feel deeply that effects of violence. It is triggering for me as well. When guests come to my home we ask that there be no news, or violent TV shows or movies on. IT is nice to take care of myself now. We have just started this and it seems to be working. That is why I do most of my socializing from my home.

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    • Excellent! I am so happy that you are able to do this for yourself. My friends woudl never do this and my in-laws have also learned not to bring news stories around me. Every once in awhile, one slips by and a dart league is a sure fire way. 😦 I will adjust though and hopefully find a creative way to deal with this. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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  2. I also struggle with the news and what you say about watching from the inside is very true. I only need to hear the word ICIS and I think of…well… you know… I try not to watch the news but selectively read things online

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    • Me too Cat. I am sorry you also get triggered easily by these things. I guess I was just annoyed that people who know I have severe PTSD and DID still bring the news stories to my home. I know it is unintentional but geesh! Get a clue people!

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  3. I agree with you Heather……why do we have to focus on the horrific? I too cannot watch the news, even though I thankfully have not had much trauma in my own life. It still affects me deeply. But for you, it is a totally different story; It is REAL. How you react and feel makes total sense to me.

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    • Thank you. 🙂 As for why we focus on the horrific? I think we have TV news stations to blame for that. They use sensational stories to grab then keep viewers. I really do not think most people ever stop to wonder if it really affects them or not. I didn’t think it affected me until I had cut it out of my life on the request of my psychiatrist. I was shocked at the difference in my world view.
      I really appreciate your words.

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  4. I also avoid the news for this reason. I will watch “comedy” news like The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but I carefully monitor it for when it starts to get too intense. And I merely skim through news stories online to keep abreast of the most important information. But I find that as an empath and a trauma survivor, it is just to real and painful to see these horrific stories plastered across my television screen day after day.

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