What is it about kitchen floors that so often catch our fall? A fall sometimes caused by slipping on a piece of food or falls that come from the overwhelming pain of emotion — the later describes the type of falls that have created an intimate relationship with the kitchen floor and my ass, or my knees, depending on how far I fall, in recent months. And the floor is fairly acquainted with my tears, I might suspect. Though they say you never cry the exact same tear, so maybe the floor is just really confused by the many personalities my tears represent (if my tears are anything like me, that is).
Yes, the kitchen floor.
It happened this afternoon and again tonight.
I was standing there, and then all of the sudden, my body buckled from the pain that hit me. And, I curled over and dropped to the floor, the counter holding my hands so I didn’t completely hit the floor. (Thank God for counters to brace onto since I don’t always know when an episode is about to hit.) And with my hands glued to the sides of the counter, my head bowed as my eyes closed and the tears flowed. So many tears came that they skipped my cheeks and went straight to the floor, forming tiny puddles. I attempted to take a deep breath as I waited for the emotion to pass — an emotion that, under typical circumstances, would be reserved scenarios of death or grieving the loss of someone close. Yes, the emotional response I was having would be a normal and valid response to such a scenario; except no one had died in my life as of late.
I did have a sort of loss, you could say; a man that I care for, he and I made the choice to part ways and keep our distance with an understanding that it wasn’t the right time for us to be in each other’s lives. So yes, that type of situation might make one feel some sadness, and even cry a little (ok, maybe a lot)… but not have such a strong emotional reaction that required the support of the forever loyal kitchen floor.
It was clear I was having a C-PTSD (Complex-PTSD) response.
The beauty this time compared to other times before (yes, as I shared, the kitchen floor and I have become very well-acquainted), is that I recognized the distinction. I had this feeling that I didn’t want to go on — I felt like dying — though I knew it would pass, and I knew it was connected to very significant trauma from my past — my very, very distant past.
I’m not sure if I can count the number of times in this past year that I have fallen to my knees, sometimes with the support of sliding down the kitchen counter and other times without it, in deep emotional pain that I wasn’t sure how to stand back up… or if I would even be able to stand back up.
“Maybe this will be the one time that I might not be able to stand back up.” I would think. “Is this it?” I would ask. “Is this going to be the time that I’m not going to make it through?”
The darkness, the stabbing pain, nausea, and the emotion that could rip any heart out felt insurmountable at times.
At least my treatment (I’ve been in recovery since early 2018) taught me about what was happening to my brain and system during these episodes, so logically, I could understand it. But the emotional brain, the brain that holds and recognizes trauma, wasn’t always on board. Nope. Not at all. Instead, that part of the brain would either recognize something that had just happened as trauma (because it had lived it before in the same/similar way or context, so the brain assumed imminent danger even though there wasn’t any) or it triggered an emotional response rooted in distant trauma that needed support to become a memory.
Yes, I have C-PTSD.
Yes, I’m in treatment for it at least once a week and have been faithful in doing the work required to recover.
And yes, I am recovering, though I still have a ways to go.
In the meantime, thank God for kitchen floors.
Until next time.
Reclaiming well-being one story, and one voice, at a time …
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