However, something that almost flies in the face of our logic is that milestones - especially happy milestones can cause a huge emotional upheaval. Major moments in our lives: graduating, moving, getting married, having children, buying a car, etc. can shake us up worse than a trigger. Milestones for all people usually indicate that it's time to look back over our life and see how we got to this important time in our lives. Though it's mostly on a subconscious level, our brain *definitely* makes us re-process our abuse with each milestone.
Often, having our trauma resurface at such a happy time can be even more frustrating - feeling like our happiness was taken away from us. So this week we'll be talking about happy milestones in our lives, and how we coped with the emotional upheaval it caused.
This week's questions:
- At which happy milestones have you felt an emotional upheaval?
- How did you cope with that upheaval? What worked best for you to be able to get through that time?
A couple times, moving to a new apartment has triggered a big upheaval. Though I felt I should be celebrating my new place, I ended up very triggered, unable to sleep, and having a lot of flashbacks. There was a good couple months before things started to settle back in again. It was really difficult to cope with, even though I'm usually good at coping.
How I got through? Strategic use of stuffed animals, mostly. I'd cry into them when I felt lonely or lost, and I tucked them in bed with me so I felt like I was being held. I spent a lot of time with lilac scents around me (it's a smell I associate with innocence and safety). I also found journal'ing to be particularly helpful, to write down all the thoughts and feelings I had. It helped most because I could re-read my entries and see my improvement, understand why I was so confused and upset. I also spent a good amount of time talking with friends to remind me that I was safe and supported