Even after we moved back to Long Island, I still said never. I’ll never be able to have a job related to construction in any way. I’ll never be okay with certain things, no matter how much progress I make in getting better. I may never be okay with stuff being stored in the crawl space. Lots of stuff like that.
Well, I have definitely learned to stop saying never. Highly unlikely, not sure, maybe; yes, I say all those things. Just not ‘never’. Now I had a good reason for saying never (yes, I did, and yes it was a good reason). I thought it was true. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be okay. Did I hope to be one day, fully recovered, able to withstand my triggers (or at least understand them)? Yup, of course I did. But at the time I felt that saying “never” was true.
As time has gone by, I have gotten better. I’ve been able to do things now that I would have, and probably did, say never to, things that I thought were out of my reach. I’ve driven on roads that at one point were “contaminated,” hell I’ve walked by my triggers almost without noticing, and been okay. That, in turn, has given me a little more confidence, to do other things.
So while it’s highly unlikely that I will ever work in the construction business (perhaps green construction, but I think that’s my limit – see, I said ‘think’ there), I have in fact had several situations, temp jobs, etc., where I’ve been in the vicinity of my triggers and not panicked. Was I blase about it? Hell, no, but I didn’t run from the room screaming, crying, or doing anything else that other people would deem padded-cell worthy, not knowing my particular brand of brain muck. On such jobs I could see one of my triggers; and yes, my heart beat faster, my stomach/chest got tight, I felt my limbs stiffen up a little. I was, however, able to get on with my day. Did I go in that room again? No, thankfully I did not have a reason to go in there during my time at this job.
There are also things being stored in the crawl space. I followed a suggestion of packing the items in bags and then into a storage crate, therefore 2 layers of protection from the evil stuff (although it’s more the air, than the surface since it doesn’t actually touch it, but I digress). Now, when that stuff comes out, I’ll want to have it cleaned, for a variety of reasons. One, at the moment, yes, I still need to be able to tell my emotional brain that the stuff is in fact safe. Also, and better for my family, it’ll have been in storage, so cleaning and freshening up clothes that have been in storage is not a bad idea, in general.
One HUGE sign of my progress is my job. I work in NYC. Anyone who has been there for any length of time knows there’s always construction going on somewhere. Stuff gets finished, new stuff gets started, etc. Now before this, I wouldn’t have been able to do this job, not with all the construction around. Even though there’s walls, and scaffolding to keep both the construction workers (I hope) and regular people safe, it’s still construction. And, yes, I have instances where I see my triggers, but the fact that I’m writing this proves that I’m okay. Do I go up and touch my triggers? No, no, and no. I am however, able to walk past them, sometimes giving them a wide berth, and go on with my day.
What’s my point? Truly, never say never. However (wait, what?), IF you are even THINKING suicidal thoughts (i.e. I can never live a normal life again, I’ll never get better, etc.), please, please, PLEASE call 911 and get help. Call your doctor, therapist, psychologist, a friend or family member, someone to talk to about what you’re feeling. One of my dear aunts was able to calm me down during a HUGE panic attack/nervous breakdown. I was still thinking negative thoughts, but my husband was on the way to make sure nothing bad happened. So please, get help.
And never say never.