I would have written this, and a lot of other stuff, last week if I weren’t tied up in sick, work, and admittedly more self-triggering by writing and planning PTSD articles than I would have thought possible, but then again, triggers were always a mystery to me.
So! The third session with my most recent psychologist. ((Maybe therapist sounds better, from a “my gods are you psycho?” viewpoint, but I think I feel better calling a psychologist a bartender if we must needs rename his/her occupation.))
We talked about things and what I remember saying was that I had started becoming skittish all over again to noises and lights in the dark. I don’t mean things that go bump in the house, I mean things like cars driving by in the little lane next to my house, or cats in dire need of getting laid prancing across the backyard ((Not quite like in the cartoons! But I admit I was surprised by this part of house life.)). Or, perhaps, the unfortunate next-door neighbor who’s dropped their keys on the stone porch and is flailing about for them.
I technically am always skittish in regards to these sounds and sights, because they remind me of the time when my parents were stalking me. And actually the times when my father was coming home. But the skittishness has been increasing back to its original interminable agony of nerves from a few years ago.
So we talked about the living room, which I barely use anymore, because there’s too much sound from the street. Not too much from normal people’s standpoints, it is rather a peaceful lane, but from my standpoint. He noticed that, even though I do like my living room, I tend to mentally phrase many things that I try to convince myself don’t scare me in terms of my parents. As in: “This living room is ENTIRELY NOT like the various ones I lived in with my parents.” Or: “That sound of jangling keys being handled by a drunk person IS NOT my father.” Or: “That van is DEFINITELY NOT my parents’ car.”
In other words, the more I start to slip, the more my thought processes become a sort of “Goodnight Moon” for bringing on PTSD.
So. A couple of action points.
The first is to start using the living room more. Which is still hard for me. But I try a little when I can spare it.
The second is to, when these noises happen, not to couch it in terms of an absentia of parents/abuse, but to say, “That’s the neighbor’s white minivan” or “That’s Mr. Wilburforce ((Names changed to protect the innocent. I think.)), and he’s always a bit clumsy about his keys” or “Mrs. Tlingl’s cat really needs to get laid or have his balls clipped off.” In other words, think of the present—hang onto the present.
I’m not sure what one does with the intrusive past while one is trying to cling for dear life to the present, but I understand it’s a bit of give-and-take like most mental gymnastics. But it does help me understand the ending of Busman’s Holiday (the last official Lord Peter Wimsey book written by Dorothy L. Sayers).
I still wish that Mr. Wilburforce would leave his damn porch lights on when he goes out.