This is part 2 in a 4-part series. To read part 1, click here.
Triggered. It's a word we use often in our house these days. But it wasn't always that way. It used to be that when my heart started racing, and I'd feel the panic set in, and the ground felt like it was about to crumble under my feet, that I'd turn to extreme anger, start crying hysterically, maybe hyperventilate, and sometimes even put a hole in a wall or throw things.
It's not something I'm proud of, but it's something that no longer holds shame for me. For years, I had no idea what was happening. I thought I was just angry, and that this was just a meltdown because I was broken. Now I know that these were severe panic attacks that manifested as this blind rage, brought on by past trauma that was never dealt with properly.
Once I learned what was actually going on, and where it came from, I was able to start working through it and find better was to cope. And just knowing what was happening helped me feel less scared and alone. Now when I start to feel my heart racing, I realize it's because I'm triggered, and I start to ask questions and lean into what my emotions are trying to tell me.
Learning to lean in and ask hard questions didn't happen overnight. It took time and intention and lots of practice. Sometimes I still mess up and let anxiety take over. It happens more when I'm tired or hungry. I've come along way though. Where I used to have multiple panic attacks a day, now I have maybe one a month instead. It's not perfect, and that's ok, because it is a huge improvement and I am moving in a forward direction these days.
If any of this sounds familiar, I want you to know that there is a community waiting for you. We, too, know those feelings and experiences, and we are here for you. There's no shame or judgement here, just love and compassion, and some humor too. Don't try to go through this journey alone, it's so much easier with friends who understand you.
By the way, if you need a little more help digging into your triggers, I offer 1:1 zoom calls where we can walk through things together. I can also help you set up an action plan for how to cope when a panic attack hits you. You can find out more about these coaching calls here.
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