Today was awful. It was grueling. It was terrifying. It was distressing and heartbreaking and sad.

A realization of epic proportions and traumatic body memories that refused to subside shoved depression out of the way, allowing grief to pour out. It still hasn’t ended. I feel like I’m in a sleep-paralysis nightmare. The kind where you continue to dream but you’re awake enough to know you’re dreaming and you can’t move or open your eyes or do anything about it.

Today was also a day filled with love and care and kindness.

It would have been harrowing without those things. Instead, it was healing. Horrendous, and healing.

“I have a client who feels like she has hands touching her all over her body when she’s eating.” My dietitian tells me in an effort to help me explore tactile sensitivities and body sensations.

Ten minutes later I could see her lips moving but I couldn’t hear the words and I blurted out, “I can’t hear you anymore.” The image of hands all over my body while I’m eating is exactly how I feel all the time. I felt strangled by the imaginary hands and fearful it would somehow come to life in real time.

Triggered is an understatement.

The lines felt blurred between past and present. Safe and not safe. Reality and imagination. I spent the next 6.5 hours alternating between grounded and lost at sea. Grief sprang from every part and tears rolled down my cheeks soaking everything around me.

Once I was inside this trauma body memory vortex, everything was triggering. The sound of my voice while I cried alone in my car, sounded like the cries of little-me, alone, gasping for air. The smell of my breath, the way I was shaking, the temperature of the room, the sound of a door opening. Each tied to an unpleasant memory, each burst of tears trying to get rid of the awfulness.

It was unrelenting.

But for most of it, I was with a member of the wolf pack. For most of it, I was being held. Protecting arms wrapped around my confused and frightened body. I was given ample space and time and the kind of care usually reserved for a family member. I was shown mama wolf love.

Tangled up in a major trauma reaction, I found the things I needed to get through. Love, care, and connection were filling in the cracks.

Both/and wins here: I feel completely wrecked and I feel built up. I feel devastating grief and relief. I feel lonely and surrounded.

I feel loved. I feel loving. I feel hopeful I will get through this. I feel certain the horrendous parts of today held a purpose: healing.

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