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  • Writer's pictureLydia Lampert

Mental Jungle Juice

Triggers, triggers, everywhere. Triggers, triggers, should I care? On Monday at my outpatient program, we had a class called Understanding Triggers. There are five types of triggers according to Boon, Steele and van der hart, in their book Coping with Trauma Related Dissociation (2011). The triggers are: Time Related Triggers, Place Related Triggers, Relational Triggers, Internal Triggers and Sensory Triggers. The trigger I most related to was The Relational Trigger. Boon, et al, define Relational Triggers as:

“Relationships and any perceived threat to them evoke the most powerful feelings in everyone, for better or worse. When you have been mistreated by others, intense feelings of abandonment, rejection, humiliation, shame, panic, yearning and rage are often easily triggered by the minor ups and downs that are natural parts of even the best relationships. When a serious relational disruption occurs, it can feel catastrophic.”

According to that definition, I don’t think any of my relationships stood a chance, including my current relationship, until now. I immediately felt horrible for my husband when the therapist went over this type of trigger, because I was finally given some clarity about my behaviorisms. My poor husband has spent almost 17 years of his life with someone that has perceived everything as catastrophic, and the abandonment issues were never ending. Looking back over our 17 year relationship, I realize how exhausting it must have been for him, and yet he held in there. Why? I was the type of wife who could never be loved enough, or made to feel safe and secure enough, and now I know why. It’s because long ago, those feelings were stripped from me, and I have been searching for them since I was a young girl. It may sound hokey, but I never felt that love from my father, was traumatized by my father, then a rapist, then an abusive ex-husband. I didn’t even realize I was doing this, which is scary to someone who always perceived she was in control.

The outpatient program is helping me, which makes me thankful. I did manage to survive today without the program as well, but not really so sure it was in the healthiest way. I got up, brought the kids to school, prepared the Corned Beef for dinner then went to visit my friends that were still in the hospital.

You would think that someone that spent 43 days in the hospital would not want to go back for a visit, but I do. Maybe in some way I am avoiding my own issues? Maybe it is an escape from reality? Maybe it’s something else I am not completely unaware of, however, I like going to sit with my kindred spirits, even if only for two hours drinking coffee and talking. How twisted is it to say that I miss being in the hospital, away from everything? Pretty bad, huh? Maybe it is my way of dissociating from real life.

Maybe I have been intermittently detached from my normal life over the past and just did not recognize it. For example, in 2010, I could not deal with anything and would walk around the house with my headphones on, listening to music all the time. Who the hell knows? I just wish I had more answers, but I know that there’s no quick fix and no easy way for the doctors to pinpoint my exact issue at this time.

The conglomeration of my mental illnesses is like that college drink Jungle Juice, where they throw in whatever kind of alcohol they have on hand, add some Hawaiian Punch and cocktails are served. You have no idea what you are drinking but it sure tastes good.

And me? I’ve got a little bipolar, mixed with some PTSD, a dash of anxiety and an abundance of depression, but unfortunately, it’s not as likeable as the Jungle Juice. You see, all my zaniness comes in a cute little package until you undo the pretty pink ribbon to expose what’s inside!

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