Triggered by my vacuum cleaner – a rant about abuse of words 

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We live in an era where the terms ‘triggered’ and ‘trigger’ are no longer used to describe the experience of someone with PTSD but that of any one who can’t handle words or situations that make them feel uncomfortable. I thought I’d set the record straight on this as I’m sick of this word being used out of context. I’m also pretty pissed off that the *special snowflake* community has turned a way of me being able to express my trauma, into a laughing stock. 
I have never been formally diagnosed with PTSD, I’ve had therapy and been on courses for PTSD but never had the box ticked. It seems it’s an exercise in hoop jumping before they’ll do this. I’m in no doubt that I have PTSD and neither have the people who have been involved in my care. ‘Triggers’ was a word that I quickly came acquainted with and it was useful to know. 
When I get upset or scared or angry (or any negative emotion) I can look back and see if there was something that triggered it, triggered me. When I say words like ‘upset’, it really doesn’t hit the spot of how awful I can actually feel. Now that this word is in the mainstream, it’s very easy to just throw it about and use it to describe every time you feel a bit sad or put out by something. A similar example is the abuse of the word depression eg ‘My new shoes are ruined, I’m so depressed now.’ PTSD and depression are both serious mental health problems. Diluting the words that sufferers need to describe how they feel only contributes to the ongoing stigma of mental illness (yes, the stigma is still there and it’s huge). 
I thought I’d introduce you to some of my triggers so that you can understand (assuming that you’ve never experienced PTSD so please forgive me if you do know ….) what that word really means:
1. As mentioned in the title – I often mistake my vacuum cleaner for a person. That moment when you think there’s someone in the house, the fear builds and your jaw clenches… All from a split second of my brain interpreting the vacuum cleaner to be an intruder. It sends me back to a place and time that I do not wish to go to. At this moment in time, I haven’t learnt to control my triggers. 

2. Certain music and certain smells. I won’t go into specifics. Our senses are more powerful and influential than we, or at least I, probably give them credit for. I have being taught techniques that use the senses to stop flashbacks so they can actually be a good thing 🙂

3. I know that there are buildings and places that I’m not sure I could ever step foot in again. If I can avoid triggers then I do. The only time that I would consider facing a trigger is if it was affecting my quality of life. Sometimes avoidance is actually a good thing!

4. This is just a list of other triggers, some more potent than others …. Certain names, one born every minute – TV, door locks, open exterior doors, open windows, beds, night time, the noise of the extractor fan, being startled by someone, alcohol, drunk people, the smell of alcohol on someone’s breath, people who look a bit like my abuser, certain dates in the calendar …. 
The list could go on and on. This is the reality of living with PTSD, I’m fighting with triggers all of the time and it’s fucking exhausting! Being triggered isn’t about something or someone upsetting you, it’s about life changing situations that can reduce you to a curled up ball of mess on the floor. 
So yes, I’m bloody angry that this word is now mocked and laughed at because certain groups of people have adopted it. I see this word being abused (and I don’t used the word abused lightly either!) all of the time across social media and real life conversations. 
To those who misuse the word triggered and it’s many forms:
Fucking stop it! Grow up and accept that life can be shitty and upsetting at times but that doesn’t mean you are traumatised by it!! Get over yourselves, you cannot be protected from all the things that make you feel uncomfortable. There are many things in my life that upset me and I would rather not face but that doesn’t make them triggering. Your life will be so much richer and satisfying if you stop hiding from it. 
Ok, I may be being a little harsh. Do me one favour – please stop appropriating language that mentally ill people, like me, need to use to be understood and taken seriously. 
In the meantime;

love, tea and hugs 

Exxx 

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Cats, tea and PTSD 

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I’ve just started a course to help me through my ptsd and maybe get some of my life back. I have to be honest and say that I’m a little cynical that I can ever be truly free from my trauma, it’s not that I want to always feel like this way. It’s just that certain things, people, names etc will always be a trigger. I can never normalise that, normalising my trauma would be like denying it’s existence. 

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share with you some of things I will have learnt about ptsd, how it affects me and how I can learn to cope with it. If you have a ptsd diagnosis or think that’s what you have, this blog may trigger you so please consider self care. The only advice I give is to constantly pester your GP for support, unfortunately it takes a long time to be taken seriously (in my experience anyway). 
My ‘homework’ last week was to come up with a safety plan to deal with suicidal feelings and to establish my 5,4,3,2,1. 
This is my safety plan so far: 
  • Don’t isolate myself – talk or just be near to people I care about. Maybe even carry a photo of my children with me. 
  • When I start to feel triggered go to my 5,4,3,2,1 (more on that story later 😉  ) 
  • Distract myself with tasks or even have a nap under a cosy blanket. Hug someone or something. 
  • Don’t bottle up tears. 
  • If the feelings of suicide continue then I will phone the Samaritans, my GP, 999 or take myself to A&E. Who I call depends on how desperate I am feeling. 
  • Really, really need to sort out my stockpile of meds ….. 
I have to recognise that when I become suicidal, it’s not helpful to dwell on it. It’s easy to become fixated on suicide and I know that I have spent too many hours researching ways to  kill myself. What I find helps is the fact that I very much want to live!! This may sound oxymoronic….. I’ll try and explain. 
I get suicidal when everything becomes too much. Suicide is then my only solution to dealing with all of the pain. The sad reality is that if the pain stopped, I’d be happy with life so it’s not my life I wish to stop but the incessant suffering. 
This leads me on to 5,4,3,2,1…. The numbers refer to your senses and how many things you require for each one. The theory is that it brings you back from traumatic memories and places you in the present. I think it’s called grounding … 
So here’s mine: 
5 things you can see
1. My children (or photo of)
2. My cat
3. The sky
4. Flowers 
5. My phone (no comment!)
4 things you can feel/touch
1. My cat
2. A soft blanket 
3. My hair 
4. My bracelets 
3 things you can hear
1. Cat purrs 
2. Music
3. Birdsong
2 things you can smell
1. My cat! 
2. Lavender or other strong smelling herb/flower 
1 thing I can taste
Mint sweets 
And guess what covers almost all 5…. Tea!!! Oh and my cat and crochet too 🙂 so tea does heal after all. 
Many hugs.
Love, tea, crochet and cats
️Exxx 

How to debate with a man

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Dear Ladies, it is important that you know how to conduct yourself when arguing with a man. Please remember that you will never win any debate with a man because you are the fairer of sex. I advise you to avoid any possible confrontation with a man by smiling sweetly, saying ‘ok dear’ and then go back to the kitchen to bake cup cakes.

If you do insist on questioning a man’s just and noble opinion then here are few points to help you:

Reconsider and go back to the kitchen. Remember your place.

Never ever use any profanities. This is not ladylike.

Try not to have opinion that the man disagrees with. He is always right even when he is not.

Do not raise your voice, this will upset the man. You have to be in control at all times, your distress is of no concern to him.

If you’re going to use complicated words, make sure that you can give an accurate, dictionary perfect definition. Also, make sure that you are grammatically correct at all times because if you are not, this will distract the man from his noble cause.

Above all else, I will repeat myself by saying that there is no point having an argument with a man. He is always right and your opinion is of no consequence so please be quiet and go back to the kitchen.

Obviously the above is my poor attempt at satire but you get the idea. Recent events on Twitter have triggered a whole heap of unpleasant memories for me. Maybe you think that I am over reacting. I can tell you that when you have PTSD, and various other problems, I am not making a fuss about nothing.

Women should be able to have a conversation without a man butting in and turning it into something it isn’t. This is classic perpetrator behaviour. The amount of times I had arguments with my ex and found myself apologising for something that was not my fault …… So yes, I’m feeling pretty upset right now. I’ve had a night of bad memories and no sleep. You think that you are recovering from the abuse you suffered and ‘bang’ you’re right back at the start.

Maybe I shouldn’t let these men get to me, maybe I should be all strong……maybe they shouldn’t have all started on me for expressing myself. This won’t silence me, this won’t stop me having an opinion that others may disagree with but this has hurt me.

Love, tea and hugs to all my sisters
Exxx