So yesterday, I was working on a post about my childhood trauma that I’ve been working on for a while, and I got my first ever panic attack. Yay! I always used the term interchangeably with anxiety attack, but now that I’ve had both I can tell you that it is a whole different ballgame. Wow. At least I think it was a panic attack. My sister who’s doing a lot of regression work with her therapist also called it a memory attack.
Now a lot of you who know me know that I was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused as a child. I’m not shy about it. I live by the mantra, “You are only as sick as your secrets.” I have never really written about it, though. Now, I want to say something that maybe some of you don’t know: I don’t remember any of the sexual abuse. None of it. I remember some messed up things that were borderline sexual, but that’s it. When my dad was arrested, my mom told me that I got the worst of it, but I really don’t remember at all. I’ve always thought of this as a blessing. The physical and emotional abuse was enough to deal with. I figured I’d let sleeping dogs lie, and it would probably never affect me.
So as I was working on this post, I just wrote what I could remember, but it put me in a really fragile place. Then my husband came in and was freaking out, and went on a rant about us running out of money, and loosing our house, and I started crying a little, but not about what he said, I know he was exaggerating because he was in an emotional spiral and everything seemed worse to him. I was crying because I was just still in that fragile state. It wasn’t heavy duty crying, just a few tears.
Then my sister that’s doing the regression therapy called and she could tell something was wrong, so we talked for a good while about it, and I thought I was feeling better. Then my husband came back and told me everything was fine, now, and asked if I was doing alright. I told him I was. Then he left and all of a sudden I was sobbing uncontrollably for no reason that I could find, and I couldn’t breathe. Snot and tears were everywhere, it was really disgusting. So I sent my sister a text that said, “I was wrong, I am very not ok. How do I turn it off? How do I make it stop?”
She called me back right away, and talked me through some techniques to calm down. She had me do some low grade hypnosis by tapping on my knees and had me point out some things in the room that reminded me that I was safe, and things that were different now than they were back then. Fortunately Teddy was in the room with me and she had me pet him for a while and that helped, too. Then she explained that what happened is that my brain couldn’t distinguish from danger that was past and danger that was now. This sounds a lot like what happens in my brain with my OCD, but it feels way different.
When I’m having an anxiety attack triggered by either my OCD or social anxiety my heart races, my palms sweat, and I get a sick feeling in my stomach like something bad is going to happen. In extreme cases I might even throw up, and they often make me feel like I’m going to die, but with my anxiety attacks I can preform a ritual or two and it takes the edge off. With this the picking and scratching made it worse and I couldn’t hold the numbers in my head when I tried to count. I think it is possibly the worst feeling I’ve had in my entire life. At least what I remember of it.
So apparently my repressed memories are coming back to bite me in the ass after all. Anyway, that’s all I can say about it for right now. I’m starting to get triggered again, so I have to go.
And I’m back! Ok, tapping my knees and counting colored objects seems to work. Now, I just need to make sure I keep an eye on my emotions. This is going to be really hard this week because I’m manic, and that means less sleep (I’m writing this at 2:00 AM), and the added bonus of being emotionally dense. Ugh! I didn’t even get to work on my books today, because I’m using a lot of the emotions from my past to drive them, so right now they’re triggering me. Also the shows I’ve been gleaning inspiration from are out because they resonate with that trauma, and my pandora stations are out because I set them all up to inspire me to write my books, so they’re triggering me, and as I mentioned, even writing this blog post is triggering me. Everything I want to do is triggering me, and my manic brain does not like the idea of slowing down and taking a break at all.
I really have to stop writing now to avoid triggering anything though, I can already feel the pressure building back up again. I’ll try to post some more later, if I can.