Archive for December 1st, 2008

When I was in therapy, my therapist and I would occasionally talk about what “being healed” actually meant. I wanted to be “completely normal” and have no residue left over from the child abuse. My therapist told me that these were unrealistic goals. He said that there is no “normal,” only varying levels of functional. He also said that my past will always affect my present but to lesser and lesser degrees.

I was particularly bothered by being triggered. I could be completely fine one minute. Then, something or someone would trigger a reaction in me, and then I would be in a very bad place for weeks. I hated it, and I wanted it to stop.

My therapist told me that I would always be vulnerable to triggers (sooo not what I wanted to hear!), but that as I healed, I would recover in hours or days rather than in weeks or months. That sounded good to me. I kept asking, “When?” and he would say that he did not have a crystal ball. The more I talked out how I felt and the more I loved myself, the sooner I would be able to pull out of being triggered.

I have been actively healing from the child abuse for over five years now, and I am still vulnerable to triggers. I have become badly triggered twice in the last couple of weeks. The good news is that I seem to be able to pull completely out of the “bad place” within 36 hours. While it is a long and miserable 36 hours, that time frame used to be measured in weeks, not hours, so this has been incredible growth for me.

I was recently very triggered by something that a nurse said that triggered all of my old insecurities regarding my eating disorder of binge eating. I went from being completely fine to being completely out of control within seconds. Some of you who visit Isurvive.org might already know the story. This week, I will share with you what happened, how I dealt with it, and how I am planning to deal with triggers in the future based upon what I learned with this experience.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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