** If you are an abuse survivor, this post could contain possible triggers. Please make sure you are safe before reading it. Also, this is a very heavy and adult post. Listen to your heart and do not continue if you know this won't be okay for you. **
Words are important to me. I sometimes take a little longer to speak because I am trying to find just the right word. Not one that's close, but one that conveys a multitude of meanings all at once, one that conveys truth and feeling and exactitude. Just the right word.
But sometimes I don't have the word. If I could communicate telepathically, I could make you understand. But there just isn't a word for it and nothing else really does the job.
This is what happened when I tried to explain to someone what triggered a PTSD event for me this week. I didn't have the words.
A little history, somewhat vague, to help set the stage.
There are dark things in my past. There was abuse and assault. Over many years I was hunted. And too often I was caught. I wasn't killed physically, but pieces of me were destroyed. I was changed.
I was changed in a way I believe many others who were abused are also changed. But I can't speak for them. I speak only for what is true in my life.
I was prey. In many situations. And, yes, there were times I feared for my life. Other times I just feared for the inner me, the part that was being attacked. What happened to my body didn't matter. What happened to my core did.
Because I was prey, I was on constant alert (an alert that is never silent, even now). I learned to read the emotions of everyone in the room. To sense even the tiniest shift if something changed. Long before anyone else knew. Because I had to in order to protect myself. It was necessary to stay alive.
But it goes beyond just reading emotions. And this is where I lose words.
Some people have a . . . something to them. A color/flavor/spirit. Each of those is somewhat close, but none of them are accurate. I would say aura, but it isn't visible. A presence? A feeling? An emotional radiation? None of these are right either.
As a child I often swam in a lake. I would be swimming along, in the warmth, and hit a cold spot. Out of the blue all the warmth was gone. It's kind of like that.
And this last week a person crossed my path whose . . . whatever it is . . . triggered my PTSD. This person's color/flavor/whatever is darkness. This person carries evil with him. Willingly. The cold spot that he wears is that of a predator. Even with all the abusive situations I've been in over the years and all the people I've known and all the horror I've experienced and witnessed, I've never felt like I was in the presence of evil. Until him. And he knows it and uses it to control.
He is not a close part of my life, but there is potential that our paths will continue to cross. I am trying to strengthen myself and gather support so he can't wound me again.
I hate that it only took the mention of him to make me feel weak and powerless. And scared.
He triggered one of my most difficult memories. One that I haven't fully processed and healed in therapy. One of a very early sexual assault. One that causes me severe physical symptoms. So since he crossed my path, I have been having very painful uterine cramps. Nonstop. Whether I am thinking about it or not. Sometimes so bad that I have trouble standing up. My anxiety is high. I am snapping more at my family. My nerves feel like they are on fire and I cringe if anyone tries to touch me. Even when I am completely safe, there is fear. Like the rabbit whose ears prick up when he senses danger. I will not relax until the danger is gone.
I was not ready to go back to therapy. My therapist and I have some things to work out. I wanted to do more processing on my own on that stuff before I went back. But I may have to put all that aside and go back to therapy anyway. I may not have a choice. I'm having trouble functioning. I'm having trouble getting every day things done. I need help.