I mentioned a couple times recently that I spent this past weekend visiting a friend that I hadn’t seen in about 13 years. We had recently reconnected on Facebook after so much time had passed and quickly figured out a weekend when she and her family were free and I could come down and visit. I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to see my friend, and get away from home for a few days.
Allow me to give you a short glimpse into the weekend before I get to the real point of this post.
They live about 2 1/2 hours away from me, so I took off early on Friday afternoon so I could make sure I beat the Friday night rush hour traffic on my route. I made it down there safely by around 3pm and the weekend was underway.
We spent time together just chatting, laughing, reminiscing about old times; you know the usual stuff. We watched movies, played games, and had a few serious talks too about our lives. I didn’t tell her much in the way of my past, other than I did let on that I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and I’m in therapy. That in itself is a very significant thing for me because as you know, most people who know me personally, are unaware of my past. I trust her though, for some reason. She was very understanding thank goodness and reacted pretty much how I hoped she would.
I say “for some reason” because I hadn’t talked to her in over a decade and we only reconnected within the last couple of months. We were very close though before that.
I bring all this up because while this was a mini vacation for me, it was just entirely too much to ask to have my Anxiety, Dissociation, Depression, Complex/PTSD, and Stress take the weekend off. I think if there was a way to make a bargain with my mind, I would have paid a kings ransom (if I had access to such a thing) in order to have a weekend of peace. Basically I’d have given anything possible to completely enjoy my time stress free.
That was completely unrealistic of course, the brain never takes time off, and I’m not proficient enough in my coping skills to ward off the feelings when I can tell they’re coming, much less when they hit me out of the blue.
I ended up having a flashback in the shower the Saturday morning, which of course is when most of mine happen here at home. I honestly wasn’t expecting one to happen down there, because it wasn’t the normal time or place that they occur, so it caught me off guard.
Laying in bed at night, it was so unbelievably quiet that I couldn’t sleep, so I had to put in my headphones and play some music to break up the thunderous silence around me. I’m one of those people who can’t sleep in total silence. I need a fan running or my sleep machine, or at the very least the sound of my turtle tank filter running.
We were watching a movie, The Hateful Eight, which also triggered a memory for me, but I managed to not let on it was happening. If you’ve seen the movie there’s a part where Samuel L. Jackson describes an event that happened between him and another character that involved sexual acts. That sent my mind racing and I had to distract in my head, I basically dissociated right there on the couch and just stared into space for a few minutes until the scene passed. I had to excuse myself for a few minutes to go to the restroom just to take a breather and splash some water on face.
Other random triggers happened throughout the weekend, although not quite as intense as the flashback and dissociative event but of course just enough for my mind to remind me that, “hey I’m here, and you’re not healed enough yet to completely let go yet”. I always thought my mind was supposed to be on my side, but if that’s the case, it’s got a strange way of showing it at times. One of these days I need to have a serious talk with myself about this, because vacations are supposed to be relaxing.
This was another stark reminder that no matter how much my therapist stresses about living life, getting out and enjoying friends and time away, I’m not strong enough to completely cut loose and enjoy myself. I guess I’ll get there one day. No wait – I WILL get there one day, she says. That’s it man, keep telling yourself that!!
After all that, I am still glad I went. I got to see my friend and I enjoyed catching up so much. It was a good time and hopefully I can go back again this year sometime. It’s just a bit frustrating knowing that my past just never lets go of me, even on vacation. Live and learn, and keep trying though!
image found on Google search – credit www.angeladipaola.com