Written by Kendra Bennett, LPC
I am sitting here at the computer for the second day in a row and starting this post again after writing, deleting, and rewriting it I don’t know how many times. The events of the past week have triggered so many emotions within my heart and head as they have with a lot of people that I have spoken to. I find myself thinking back to my own out-cries as a child when I was told, “You have to be making this up” and “There isn’t enough evidence to prove what you say.” Those thoughts have been spending way too much time in my brain the past week. As a therapist, I find myself struggling with my own triggers this week that led me to where I am at today. See, I have triggers and I have been in a healthy place with them. I do my grounding exercises, I talk to my people, and I work out what I can. I am in a healthy place with my past abuse. That in no way means that I am over it, I will never be able to go back and have a different life, therefore; my past will always be just that: MY PAST. I choose what to do with my past!
The problem with triggers for me today was this, I was tired of being overwhelmed and controlled by my emotions this week. So, when a trigger, at church of all places, started, I fought it. I argued in my head and begged God to take it away, all while tears were running down my cheeks as I tightly clenched my husband’s hand. My muscles were tensed, my throat was shaking (you know that shake it does when your body really wants to full out ugly cry), but I was determined that this trigger was not going to win! I was not moving my seat to get away from the smell, I was not going to sit down so that I could feel like I was hiding: I just wasn’t! Then the worship leaders asked us to sit and had one last song to play. I knew what was coming. See one of the worship leaders is my people. The one I ugly cry to and a few weeks ago I sent her this amazing song that is currently my anthem song. Lauren Daigle’s “You Say”.
She started singing the words and as everyone was sitting, I stood straight up, raising my arms and praying for the trigger to be gone.
I wish this is where I could say a beam of light shown from Heaven and God miraculously healed my trigger and I rejoiced. That isn’t what happened. The song ended, I sat down and as my friend walked from the back. I left my seat discretely walking behind the congregation with my head down, straight towards my person (Remember the lady who just sang the song? I LOVE her). I walked to her quickly and I think I said “I need you,” touched her hand and quickly walked to the church office. I barely got to the couch before the full-on ugly cry came.
See, by the time I got to the office all I could do was let it out. I was angry that a trigger was having so much control over me. Then, my friend said, this has been coming all week….
That being said, here is what I want to tell you. Whomever you are that is reading this post.
- I BELIEVE YOU!!!
- We can NOT heal alone. It truly takes a village of supportive and loving people to walk with us, hold our hands, and be okay with our random breakdowns! Find those people, 1 in 3 is those people, I am that person and so are many others.
For everyone else:
- Teach Mutual Consent. Just because “no” is not said, does not mean yes. This protects you and them.
- Respect Survivors – Listen to their stories, no words are needed most of the time. The most healing part for me is having someone just let me tell my story while holding my hand.
- Memories – Trauma is different for everyone. Some people remember every detail and some don’t. I have one question for those who say “I can’t remember what I was doing 30 years ago.”
Do you remember where you were the day the World Trade Centers were hit with planes? What were you wearing? Doing? Working on?
That is a traumatic memory. They are not all like that. The more threatened and afraid one feels, the more devastating the effects on the brain. This is individualized like all fears.
In conclusion, I want you to remember one thing. WE BELIEVE YOU! I believe you and there is joy and happiness and peace in the healing process.