Being sick on and off this spring/summer has forced me to look at the ways in which trauma and stress manifest in my body. I’ve been working through a lot and my body has been forcing me to slow down. I hope I can carry that with me through the semester.
In some ways, I feel like I’ve come farther than I ever have with my mental and physical health this summer and then I feel like I’m back to square one when I feel as ill as I do right now.
I’ve noticed that complex trauma is still affecting me, sometimes in unexpected ways. Despite all of my hard work to heal, I still have trouble sleeping. If I’m awakened by a loud noise, it’s game over, and I won’t sleep again for the rest of the night. I’m not sure what to do about that. Sleep is usually my reset, and if I can’t get it, that spells trouble.
I don’t tend to get as anxious around other people as I have in the past, but I still have a very keen sense in energy shifts. That helps me sometimes but other times I can over interpret through my trauma activation lens and assume that people are annoyed with me or don’t want to be around me. I may be correct that their mood shifted, but wrong about the reason having anything to do with me. It’s hard being an empath and healing from trauma… when you’re already trying so hard to figure out what’s yours and what isn’t and being bombarded by other folks’ “stuff,” if you get what I mean.
On the flip side, I have noticed that when and if I do dissociate because of a trigger, it lasts much shorter of a time than in the past and sometimes I don’t even need to sleep to recalibrate and carry on my day. So, that has been a plus.
I think I’ve also been through this sort of grieving process, recognizing that I was trauma activated and dissociated for much of my twenties and only recently have I been more “awake” and present to the extent that I feel safe. I’m trying not to look at it as wasted time. I was in survival mode and I know there were good reasons for that. Sigh. But it’s hard to think about how things might have turned out or how you might have been had your mental health not been so bad.