I wondered how many of you get triggered when you start to exercise? If you were in fearful situations a lot as a child or if like me you suffered a few life threatening events where you pulse was raised, I have read that exercise can trigger panic as the body/mind registers the raising of the heart beat as fear. This thought is also triggered by a response to a comment I read on another post about self harm where the commenter recommended the gym as a diversion from pain and anxiety. The person replied about how the gym triggers them. Ideally we feel our pain and don’t try to escape it but one of the long term impacts of paralysis, freeze or collapse which is such a big part of both Post Traumatic Stress and Complex PTS is that we don’t exercise or even move enough but get locked in self protective patterns which may include ingestion addictions to calm feelings. That is okay if we turn to healthy food but if we turn instead to wheat or sugar laden snacks it can be a problem for some and as survivor of breast cancer I have had to watch that I don’t turn to those kind of snacks when my anxiety gets triggered in the now.
I was also prompted to write this post as Jasper and I just returned from a good long walk. I then did some stretching at the bench in the field I sometime sit on to read my book mid walk. When we drove home I felt such a surge of happiness, joy, power and wellbeing but as soon as I got inside to make a late lunch my thoughts started to race and I felt my heart beating fast and happiness turned to panic and fear.
I then though of all the times when I was attending AA that I was warned to not get too high or happy and when I share this with my therapist she is shocked. I get triggered by happiness or assertive energy anyway because often as a young child in a much older family I was helpless at the power used over me not always in very nice ways, especially not by my older sister but the second one who used to pass off her own frustration about no one being home with us and having to care for me, onto me. Also in later years when this sister was supposedly ‘manic’ (to a degree this was true but in some cases she was being pathologised) I began to feel a lot of fear.
Anyway today I was glad to be able to make the association to the way I was feeling. I know that often my anxiety is manifesting without me consciously registering it as anxiety. I just have all these strange flooding or drowning sensations in my body and I don’t always recognise feelings as such, at first they appear as somatised body symptoms. When I spoke to my Mum this morning she was expressing something very similar. I thought it might be good feedback for a post. Last week with Kat in therapy I was sharing how I felt my feelings about past mistreatment as a few wild horses in my breast champing at the bit to get out. My teeth were aching where my denture attached to that two top back teeth and that reminded me of being in bridle head gear every night for over a year when I was 16 and had braces. I am SO ANGRY I had to go through that : it was fucking torture for a highly sensitive person and I just had to grin and bear it and swallow it down.
There are some of the things I need to externalise and share here, when I share them at 12 step meetings people get triggered and get in trouble for saying how it really was, which also makes me angry. But if I don’t speak about it I will get sick and my cancer may even return.