Therapist and I had a good conversation today about the differences between triggers and reminders. Sometimes I think my words confuse the two even though my feelings and my body know there is a drastic difference.
POSSIBLE TRIGGER: Talk of Sex
The conversation came up because I got triggered over the weekend. Married life is great and the sex part is actually pretty fun most of the time too. However, Sunday night we were at my parents' houseboat with all of the family for the 4th. The walls are paper thin and the water helps everything to echo too, so I informed hubby before we got there not to get any ideas b/c it was just going to be too hard to have sex in our room on the houseboat even with the door closed b/c of how easily sound travels. While he complied and was totally respectful, it didn't stop him from wanting to see what he/we could get away with that night in bed. He listened to me the minute I said stop, so I can't really fault him for that.
What triggered me was being in the dark, knowing there were others nearby, and feeling like I was doing something "wrong." The fear of getting "caught" or being heard coupled with the few small things hubby wanted to try and get away with was just too much. Since he stopped the minute I said so, I didn't explain anything else in the moment. I just needed to be. I needed to do damage control internally. I needed to separate past from present. I needed to remind myself how old I was, where I was and that this wasn't wrong. I spent most of the night nauseated but did manage to get a little bit of non flashback-y sleep. I felt decent the next morning, so I just let it go. I have no issue explaining things to hubby if I need to, but on the boat was not the time or the place.
Therapist and I were talking about the experience today b/c I was feeling frustrated that the 'minor' incidences from my childhood could still provoke such a reaction in me, especially when they're the images that just flash through my head periodically anyways. I guess she didn't realize how many times I see have a memory flash through my mind with my eyes open or how many daily life things remind me of something and momentarily put me back in that place. I can't blame her for not knowing. I don't really talk about it. It's just a normal part of life. The big thing that we put into words today is that those everyday things are more of "reminders." Something reminds me of a bad event, feeling, thought from the past but I don't have to re-feel all of it or re-live all of it. It's usually gone as quickly as it comes. And this is WAY different than the true trigger I experienced Sunday night.
Reminders, while not fun, are something every human experiences based on their different life experiences. Some things bring up happy memories, other things bring up painful ones. While I don't expect my reminders to go away, I do pray that new memories will be associated with some life things and I will have less negative reminders. I also pray that more triggers will enter into the reminder category where I can acknowledge something hurt and it was awful and then go on with my day without being caught up in the moment or having to do damage control inside.
A definite work in progress...