“I think that’s a trauma response.” K** said, enough times that I learned to notice it myself. Often though, when she first started saying it, I didn’t quite understand. The sweater I wore all day today might have been triggering? The weather change is triggering?
She was merely asking me to notice. But she was so good at noticing, so good at knowing me, so good at listening, that often she knew before I did, and ever-so-gently asked me to notice my body and what might be going on around it.
This morning I got up at 5:30am to run and the morning air was much crisper than the heat I was used to feeling against my body. I distinctly remember thinking, “wow, I feel cold,” and questioned a jacket, though I decided against it. I went running, and when I got back as I taking off my shoes it dawned on me that the weather was changing. The meteorologist was on the news in the background confirming my observations as I was suddenly thrown back into K’s office, seated on the ground, her across from me asking softly if maybe the weather brought on a particular trauma response.
“No,” I’d defensively shot back–nothing about the weather has anything to do with anything. And then, the next time, I’d responded more thoughtfully, “I….I’m not sure. Let me think about it.” Last September, she asked me again, and I remember trying to process out loud: “well, fall was the beginning of school, and cross country, but I can’t correlate a specific trauma to those things.” I feel a shift in emotions when spring turns to summer, and I’d been able to pinpoint, possibly, why. Maybe the fall shift is that it’s generally the beginning of things that are important to me and I have always felt enormous pressure to succeed. But that shift–it’s more of a depression shift, not as much anxiety. Maybe it doesn’t much matter—I don’t always need to know why.
Regardless, I think K was right. I think the season changes affect me (especially around September/October and March/April) and yesterday was a trauma response. Today is the aftermath of that: landing me squarely in depression.
Yesterday, for a couple hours, it got so bad I sat with and mulled over and contemplated the life-ending thoughts that were coming in. I then watched myself from afar become numb, and separate things I love from myself, as if they weren’t mine, or didn’t love me. I became robotic in text-message and verbal responses, so no one would be particularly alarmed. But I was not ok. I wasn’t really sure what would happen, I just felt like it didn’t matter what decisions I made next.
How did I get there so fast?
Right now, I feel like I’m surviving by avoiding and distracting from intrusive thoughts. I’ve had enough to do today for that to be the method of survival. But when it’s dark and I don’t have to be busy anymore, and it rushes back in?
The part that concerns me is the part where I left myself and felt no hope. It’s the part where I couldn’t attach to anyone or anything. I haven’t felt that in a while, but at the same time, it is all too familiar. I feel afraid of depression. It’s such an awful place to be, I don’t want it to come back. I don’t want to be in the beginning, middle, or end of it. I want to be far, far away from it.
Does the weather trigger such a big trauma response in me that I need to completely change the ways I cope or receive help in those windows?
K**, help me. I need help.