How do you deal with second round of old triggers?

GiantSquid

New Here
How do you deal with unavoidable triggers? I got PTSD and DID in childhood, when my bipolar mom committed suicide, dad died in heart attack and I was abused by family CPS placed me with.

I had a son, whom I loved dearly. He inherited bipolar from my mom when he was only ten. His illness was just as difficult to manage as my mom's, and his last depression made me unable to work because I was so badly triggered. He took his own life at our home four weeks ago. He was only seventeen years old, and I could not help him even though I tried with everything I got. My symptoms got so bad that I could not sleep or eat, and I was having physical flashbacks. My trauma was overriding sleeping drugs. My doc arranged a hospital stay. After nine days I could eat again and sleep with drugs, so they sent me home.

I have three parts, the adult me, child me, and a guardian part. The guardian part is absolutely exhausted and grieves her failure. The child part is what I'm having difficult time with. She panics when the other two want to visit my son's grave. She is terrified of anything which remind her about death. We had a panic attack when a friend gave us flowers and offered her condolences. I can't calm her down or control her. I'm also barracked by constant trauma flashbacks. I used to fear ambulances, high places, teenagers, shouting, violence. Now I'm also afraid of things like gym equipment, any cords, sheets, belts. My son hanged himself with a sheet at my home gym, which used to be my place of respite. I can't go there anymore, and my back hurts like hell. I freak out when my MIL sent me pictures from the funeral. Why would I want a picture of myself carrying his coffin?? I will remember it forever even though I don't want to. I wake up remembering the mark on his neck, and fall asleep thinking his death.

The only place where all my parts feel safe and content is the church. But I can't be there 24/7. My T is good, and I've doubled the appointments, but I don't think it helps. I feel like this was a precise shot in that spot of my heart where I was already weakest, and I don't genuinely think I will ever get over it. It goes too far beyond my window of tolerance. It's like someone took my original trauma and then switched my mother for my son (which makes things worse, because he was my child) and pushed repeat button.

Currently I mostly lay in bed. I can manage coloring one page a day. I sleep a lot. I skip meals, because I don't want to get up. I can leave the house for church, but two times a week is the max I have strength for. I dissociate constantly. I'm not sick enough to get inpatient care, since I can eat, but I have no idea how to control triggers. The house is full of them. I cling to them, because they are memories of my son, but I know they are not good for my mental health. Right now, I'm sitting on a chair where he used to sit and cry when he was hurting from his depression, and wearing his clothes because I don't have enough money to thrash them and buy new ones for me. I can't afford to move. I haven't worked since last summer, and my sickness benefit ends in July. I'm meeting my doc in two weeks to discuss whether to apply for disability.

This is mostly a vent, but I would be encouraged to hear your experiences and grateful if you have any advice for managing old triggers.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
gentle empathy on the loss of your son. i lost my son (35) in a fatal car wreck just before corona crowned and? ? ? ouchus maximus. grief is a mysterious process, i tried to get into a grief workshop, but ya know, ya know. . . it's been a lo-o-o-ong two plus years.

on the ptsd triggers, it has never occurred to me to separate them into old and new. upon this first reflection, i wonder if ALL of them are old since they are connected to past events. mostly i wonder if i should let that mystery be. a psych trigger is a psych trigger. don't complicate it with fashion reviews. each trigger event is a new round. my focus is on changing old behavior rather than allowing it to escalate to the dysfunctional behavior that put me in psychotherapy to begin with.

but that is me and every case is unique. . .

gentle support while you sort your own case. vent freely. sort often.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm so sorry for the traumatic loss of your child. That is beyond heartbreaking.
I don't know what to say, other than you are in my thoughts. And that it must all be triggering everything, given how recent his death is. This is very very new and must be so raw.

Maybe, over time,the reminders of him in your house might become more comforting. Although I say that without knowing what losing a child, in your home, feels like at all. Just holding a space for some hope.
 

Teamwork

MyPTSD Pro
I’m going through similar with 16yr old grandchild’s suicide on January 4th. My psychologist almost always suggests sitting with the parts that hold things-for me it is most of my emotions, a lot of memories. I barely understand it but I’m learning that I do need to console or be with the part and allow the feelings to be heard As that didn’t happen back then and they are quite difficult to get around now. Everyone gets to grieve now, and grief has a mind of it’s own and no timeline. For the longest time we would read things on her ipad, but of late we can’t go near it. It is one day at a time. Telling ourselves, yes we are sad, or angry or stressed. Just letting ourselves name the emotions, feel them and not get punished. Our story is different than yours but the reality is that so much of what you said is similar. Also normal. This way that you are living is normal and will change and change a change as you move through grief. Also from what you describe you are creating the same chaos that you may not clearly recall from early childhood when you must of been living in chaos and loss before you went in to care. For a young child that removal to alternate care that also doesnt go well is very chaotic. If you can look around and ask yourself how you can help the younger part how to navigate the chaos, what would they choose to do, see, be with, organize the space to both begin living in it but keep the things you want that are your sons. It would be a tiny project. Just ask the question and see if child part has some ideas about creating the home space to be hers, and comfortable. It is the beginning of listening to the unmet wants and needs. My space is full of plants, teddy bears and books. I do a lot of trauma summit conference that are offered for free online as it accelerates my learning, understanding of the therapy I go to. It is odd but I have not joined a grief group or suicide bereavement group. I just can’t but the trauma summits work well for me as I can listen, turn it off, choose the topic. I like /Janina fisher, Peter Walker and the body keeps the score guy-can’t think of his name.
 

June70

Confident
I'm so very sorry for your loss. There are no words to ease such pain. I'm sorry I am not in a good place to give advice. But I am a mom and my heart is breaking for you. I'm very glad to hear your T is good. Therapy and time and self care (as Teamwork mentioned) is the only thing I can think of. Gentle hugs to you.
 
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