My amazement with trauma comes with the triggers it creates during chronic illness. In some ways, I have dealt with the actual traumatic incidents better than the backlash years later. Chronic illness has me more sensitive than ever. I feel like a pin cushion. Most of it is the odd interactions I have with humans that trigger it. I am learning how to calm my responses and deal with this.

Past traumatic events that are unresolved can create current triggers. Re-traumatization is what it can feel like. I have no interest in reliving any of it. I actually would prefer to ignore it all and let it just go away. I have no problem burying my head in the sand. It is the easiest fastest pain medication I know of. It stops the immediate pain.

What I want and what happened during the worse of my chronic illness are two different things. Sometimes things are forced on us whether we like it or not. Sometimes those things are good for us, help us heal at a deeper level so we can move on, in a healthier fashion.

Triggers come in many forms. People taking certain attitudes with me has set-me-off the most. There are smells that trigger past trauma. Watching movies has brought up memories creating triggers that were long forgotten. The list is endless and will be different for everyone.

It is those darn human interactions that have me in sheer amazement right now. Some people will just plainly be ill-intended, mean-spirited and will actually try to set off these triggers. Then there is the majority of the population that has no clue what our private trauma is, much less the capacity to deal with it any better than we do. It can be a very well-intended comment that pushes our buttons.

Hiding from all human interaction is not the solution, even when we just want the pain to stop.

There have been days, weeks and months that I have had to step back and protect myself from the onslaught. This onslaught keeps us on edge. Keeps us in the fight-or-flight response. Keeps us from fully healing from our chronic illness. I want to walk through chronic illness, coming out the other side a better person from it all. I don’t want to get stuck in the horror of re-traumatizing encounters with other well-intended people.

The worse of my chronic illness has passed. I am still walking through the healing process though. I sometimes refer to the past and sometimes the present as I write. I am not trying to make writing my occupation so bear with me while I try to just openly speak on this subject.

What are your current triggers that bring up past trauma?

Maribeth Baxter, MBEC

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Donations are accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.


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