That One Topic…

That One Topic...

Talk about anything but that

Many people have topics that they do not prefer to speak about.  Ranging from annoyance at political views to embarrassment at not understanding trigonometry to boredom with unending stories about a sister-in-law’s children, listening to others speak about something you are not interested in can be awkward.  If you feel the need to enter into the conversation as well, the situation is even more difficult.

However, the way I feel about certain topics goes much deeper than normal discomfort.  Panic rises in my when I hear people mention them.  Face flushing red, I attempt to escape to a safe place.  If I am stuck talking to the person, I usually being to stammer an awkward phrase to change the subject.  Sweat glistening on me, my heart beings to race as I slowly inhale in and out to keep myself from hyperventilating.

 This heightened response to certain words, phrases, or ideas has happened to me ever since I was about seven.  At this age, another child did something that he considered amusing.  I, however, ended up traumatized.  Suddenly I felt dirty, gross, and bad.  Even though I was young, being perfect and pure were already my life goals.

Although it was years ago, this incident still haunts me.  Other memories along with this one are the reason for my PTSD.  Instead of simply ignoring certain conversations or changing the subject, I get paralyzed with horror and shame while flashbacks play in my brain.  Continuously, these videos of past events stomp about inside my head, making it nearly impossible to think clearly to act.

Now, I cannot keep others from triggering me.  Sure, I can talk to family and friends about it but this gives little comfort in the times when strangers unknowingly make a dirty joke or my sisters talk about “girl things.”  As hard as I may try, I cannot control the world around me.

However, I can make myself safe when certain thing are mentioned.  I always read movie reviews to find out all the objectionable parts of a movie so that I will be prepared.  When others talk about uncomfortable issues, I practice deep-breathing or take  a walk alone.  Finally, I attempt to be honest with my family about my feelings.  Usually they are pretty good at avoiding certain words that upset me but I cannot expect perfection from them.  They need a life of freedom and peace.  Weighing them down with my problems is not at all what I wish to do.

Thus, support people, please understand when your loved one cannot handle certain topics or words.  Often, there is deep pain and fear associated with those simple noises strung together.  Try not to judge or add more shame but instead help the person you know to slowly defeat their past.

The journey out of PTSD is filled with much terror and awkwardness.  However being whole and able to stop fearing certain places, things, and words will be worth it in the end.


3 thoughts on “That One Topic…

  1. elisabethv92 says:

    This post is perfect timing with my life right now. As you know, I can 100% relate and I have been having really bad issues with flashbacks lately, especially when people mention certain things, obviously. I related to everything you wrote. My therapist told me on Monday when I was coming down from a panic attack that the more I talk through these events, the easier it will get to hear about them and discuss them in general. She said with talking about it comes less anxiety, panic attacks and urges. You are so strong and you will get through this, I know you will. Praying for you, love!!

    • I am glad that you can relate to it too although it is awful going through it. Thank you so much for you encouragement and prayers! I wish that we could meet up and talk. I hope that everything is going a little better recently though. ❤

  2. […] words feel dirty and unsafe to me. A while ago, I wrote a post skirting around this issue. That blog mostly focuses on these words related to PTSD. Fear of past […]

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s