Last week while I read the homework for DBT and answered the personal questions it happened. Then last night when we went over the reading in class it happened too. The reading triggered a deep feeling in the pit of my stomach that I haven’t been able to name. I recognized the grief I was feeling, but underneath … Underneath was a cyclone in my spirit, a fomenting sandstorm in my stomach, the rumbling and crashing of a scary thunderstorm in my eardrums. Fear of the feeling rose up from my gut to my throat.
The reading talked about the suffering of PTSD or of pathological grief, when, by avoiding cues that trigger the pain, one actually triggers deeper suffering. The only thoughts I had while reading and going over this is that I know that feeling. This entire year I know that feeling. I am that poor creature. And then came the unbearable, scary feeling that I couldn’t name.
I finally realized part of it was panic. Panic and anxiety. I don’t know what I’m panicking about, or what I’m anxious about. My fight or flight mechanism has been tripped, though, and I’m scared. The last year, when that switch was tripped, I turned self-destructive and got suicidal thoughts and plans, or self-injury impulses, both of which are new in the last year. There’s really something wrong with my brain!
Last night after DBT I tried some skills like self-soothing and distraction to tolerate the panic and anxiety. I ultimately had to take a Lunesta to sleep since my thoughts wouldn’t stop and I couldn’t drain the adrenaline from the fight or flight response. Today I’m still keyed up, a bit less, but I’m scared. I’m scared that the panicky feeling won’t work itself out. I’m scared of the cyclone, sandstorm, and thunderstorm growing in strength in me. When they are too strong, I’ve ended up in the hospital, where I needed to be, but I’d like to not feel so badly. It’s scary. I’m scared.