It Turns out Getting Arrested Is Super Triggering

Simply Simon

Sponsor
Those of you who know me are probably thinking that if I got arrested, I was being self-destructive. Plenty of you have watched me flirt with alcoholism and invest earnestly in other addictions carrying far worse legal implications.

But no. As is the trend in my life, I tend to get caught doing the most benign permutation of an act I habitually engage in to a far greater extreme. So I had a couple beers after work on an empty stomach, was pulled over for speeding while getting tacos on my way home, and just before the officer was about to tell me to watch my speed, he smelled beer on my breath, and we both seemed surprised when I blew hot.

.08, folks. Right on the line.

And then the handcuffs. And then the Total f*cking Meltdown. The officer saying they won’t let me go home if I “keep acting crazy.” Hyperventilating. The handcuffs were so tight my wrists were bruised for days.

Rationally, I was okay. This was a statistical inevitability. I anticipated getting arrested eventually. I thought it would be far, far worse. I’d narrowly escaped going to Actual Prison when I was not quite 19, and ever since, I’ve been waiting for another shitfest without the bizarre twist of luck that made those officers just let it slide. So I got got for something mundane. I may not even see charges. It took four officers looking before they realized I really did have a clean record; I’ve had one speeding ticket since I was 19. I’m pristine. Or I was.

But it’s been a little over two weeks, and it feels like my symptoms are only mounting. I can’t get out of bed some days. Sunday I slept almost 20 hours. I wake up and cry myself back to oblivion half the time. I have nightmares that are so vivid I can feel pain.

All that’s to say, I haven’t been like this in a long time. The funny thing about always being suicidally depressed and feeling constant, crippling fear accompany everyday consciousness is that you get really good at it. It’s like being a functional alcoholic. It’s not debilitating when it’s your stasis.

So anyway, maybe the worst consequence I’ll actually face is the barrage of my own symptoms, and that f*cking blows.

And yes, my friends, I feel sufficiently scared straight, as loathe as I am to admit that. Two beers over three hours was not worth this fresh hell. But it IS kind of funny that I got caught the one time my drinking wasn’t some maladaptive coping mechanism. I worked a long day. I went out with a colleague. I picked up some tacos and a DWI. Then I went to work... because it was a Tuesday. How droll.
 

LuckiLee

MyPTSD Pro
I don't like like your post but I like that you shared it with us. Scared straight is a good thing however scared into a crying symptomatic mess sucks! I tend to learn things the hard way too.

It sounds like you're taking some time to comfort yourself. Although it probably doesn't feel all that comforting.

Keep sharing and maybe we can work through the trigger with you. (I know exactly how J would react if put into restraints.)

Sorry his happened and I'm glad you're okay-ish.

 

ruborcoraxxx

Sponsor
Yeah, getting arrested really makes you feel the weight of authority. I did fight 2 cops during a suicide attempt and I got handcuffed, transported to a hospital for parameters and then let there in an interview room for 2 hours and transported again into a secured van, still handcuffed, got my stuff in a plastic bag and was given 8 hours before a psychiatric assessment. They let me use my phone though.

A note is that in the UK they use handcuffs with rubber around and they aren't self-constricting and as painful as in the US or other places.

Although thinking back of it the process was terrifying, I had a weird satisfaction with it. Like at some point someone does call the police. My experiences with law enforcement have been mostly positive. Mostly.

Perhaps because I have some ideas of how the law works and all and understand the processes and how things work, I don't get overwhelmed by it. I always try to remain collected and calm once the interviews start even if I was batshit crazy the second before. It's knowing the moment there is no point in resisting. It comes to the point I empathize with the cops and make some conversation and ask questions.

But I have to say being a woman of 45kg might make any agent rather lenient on me as I really don't have a threatening profile. And I don't drive.

I was really triggered when my ex got arrested though. Charges and all the waiting for the hearing, having to come make a statement. Waiting for the sentencing. That was pulling stress over the roof even for me.

I guess in some sense when situations are so big it's not even a trigger. It's full stress response but the adequate one. Suddenly I know exactly what to do and what to tell. It's afterwards that I crash.

But overall law enforcement teaches the executive power rather brutally, and you remember that rules are there to be enforced with force if needed. It gives a very different perspective on how the world works.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
But it’s been a little over two weeks, and it feels like my symptoms are only mounting.
Are you seeing a therapist these days? Because THAT sounds like it might be a good reason to drop in for a visit if you can. I imagine that most "normal" people find getting arrested to be disturbing. (But I'm only imagining because I don't think my grasp of how "normal" people operate is all that good.) This reaction kind of suggests there might be something buried there worth picking apart. Doesn't it? Any thoughts on the triggering thing?

I'm tempted to say "I'm glad you're ok." Except that it doesn't exactly sound like you ARE ok. So, I'm glad it wasn't worse but I also hope it gets better!
 

Yukio Z

New Here
Those of you who know me are probably thinking that if I got arrested, I was being self-destructive. Plenty of you have watched me flirt with alcoholism and invest earnestly in other addictions carrying far worse legal implications.

But no. As is the trend in my life, I tend to get caught doing the most benign permutation of an act I habitually engage in to a far greater extreme. So I had a couple beers after work on an empty stomach, was pulled over for speeding while getting tacos on my way home, and just before the officer was about to tell me to watch my speed, he smelled beer on my breath, and we both seemed surprised when I blew hot.

.08, folks. Right on the line.

And then the handcuffs. And then the Total f*cking Meltdown. The officer saying they won’t let me go home if I “keep acting crazy.” Hyperventilating. The handcuffs were so tight my wrists were bruised for days.

Rationally, I was okay. This was a statistical inevitability. I anticipated getting arrested eventually. I thought it would be far, far worse. I’d narrowly escaped going to Actual Prison when I was not quite 19, and ever since, I’ve been waiting for another shitfest without the bizarre twist of luck that made those officers just let it slide. So I got got for something mundane. I may not even see charges. It took four officers looking before they realized I really did have a clean record; I’ve had one speeding ticket since I was 19. I’m pristine. Or I was.

But it’s been a little over two weeks, and it feels like my symptoms are only mounting. I can’t get out of bed some days. Sunday I slept almost 20 hours. I wake up and cry myself back to oblivion half the time. I have nightmares that are so vivid I can feel pain.

All that’s to say, I haven’t been like this in a long time. The funny thing about always being suicidally depressed and feeling constant, crippling fear accompany everyday consciousness is that you get really good at it. It’s like being a functional alcoholic. It’s not debilitating when it’s your stasis.

So anyway, maybe the worst consequence I’ll actually face is the barrage of my own symptoms, and that f*cking blows.

And yes, my friends, I feel sufficiently scared straight, as loathe as I am to admit that. Two beers over three hours was not worth this fresh hell. But it IS kind of funny that I got caught the one time my drinking wasn’t some maladaptive coping mechanism. I worked a long day. I went out with a colleague. I picked up some tacos and a DWI. Then I went to work... because it was a Tuesday. How droll.

Hi, I unfortunately have been arrested a few times myself. The self loathing involved was tremendous. I had messed up so bad, I was now in the control of people who can and will do whatever they desire to me. I am not talking about physical abuse, ( though you often get “ roughed Up “ in the process, ) instead - I am talking about the mental torture that comes with having Authority figure abuse us to the point where any interaction with an aggressive power figure will send us back in time. We are in many ways a trapped animal and we often act as such. My advice based on experience, do something nice for yourself, a haircut, new sunglasses, and deal with the consequences with as much Dignity and confidence that comes with the knowledge that 99 % of your life is lived with you having freedom of thought and action and you will once again regain you equilibrium. Good luck and hang in there, this too shall pass. Yukio Z
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Friday

Moderator
You knoooooow I have something to say on this 😜 I’m just in a place right now, and will hit you up as I can. Love atcha in the meantime. And cut yourself some slack. It’s hard to be flexible & adaptive when you’re trying to lock yourself down. Can’t ride a wave stiff. That’s how you sink. Arrow yourself through it, but bend to direct the force. Just like dancing, but with exterior forces applied.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I find drinking maladaptive like you said . The magnification of my negative feelings and just having to deal with it for the few hours of relief it brings, and I don’t deny it does, make it no longer doable for me . Plus there’s the little problem of drunkenness, which can sometimes be a big problem. There are other medications that work better and I wonder that there hasn’t been more of a cultural shift away from drinking but. There hasn’t . Maybe now you’ll be encouraged to try something else but who knows ? You aren’t the first one to get a driving under so you’re not alone. I wouldn’t feel too bad but I suspect not drinking might help with the depression. I really hope you feel better and the cops let it slide , good luck.
 

Simply Simon

Sponsor
A note is that in the UK they use handcuffs with rubber around and they aren't self-constricting and as painful as in the US or other places.
I actually got these kinder handcuffs. I’m in a city that’s really improved its law enforcement policies thanks to its booming population of leftist denizens with a profoundly critical view of law enforcement, and it was a State trooper, which apparently meant I likely had a far better experience overall. Honestly, I hate to admit he was exemplary in his professionalism. He was also just genuinely kind overall. (Footnote for @scout86 this feels like a sore spot. Maybe it added to why it was triggering. The perception of gentleness in the midst of helplessness is definitely making me feel some kind of way as I elucidate it.)
I always try to remain collected and calm once the interviews start even if I was batshit crazy the second before. It's knowing the moment there is no point in resisting. It comes to the point I empathize with the cops and make some conversation and ask questions.
Well thank goodness for dissociation, because I snapped directly from a complete meltdown to presenting as perfectly calm and friendly. Cutting up with the officers. Chatting with the magistrate about his background.
But I have to say being a woman of 45kg might make any agent rather lenient on me as I really don't have a threatening profile.
He was definitely about to just let me go with a warning... twice. I always get a warning. It’s not fair at all. Being white, 5’2”, and 130# with a telling vocabulary and bright demeanor will get you out of so much shit. But I knew it wouldn’t always. This was a very lucky time for me to get got. Normally I would have been caught with the kind of charges that would induce serious pearl-clutching. This girl is doing THAT? The amount of extremely damning crimes I haven’t been busted for is truly ludicrous.
It gives a very different perspective on how the world works.
I actually couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky I was while I was being processed. The amount of privilege I enjoy is outrageous. And Jesus—there was a TV playing advertisements for bail bonds. WTF. It was some kinda jacked up.
Are you seeing a therapist these days? Because THAT sounds like it might be a good reason to drop in for a visit if you can. I imagine that most "normal" people find getting arrested to be disturbing. (But I'm only imagining because I don't think my grasp of how "normal" people operate is all that good.) This reaction kind of suggests there might be something buried there worth picking apart. Doesn't it? Any thoughts on the triggering thing?
I am not seeing a therapist... but I can afford it again soon. I’ll only see one therapist, though. I owe her $200, and I just don’t know if I can handle it if she won’t take me on again. I don’t know.

I was extremely relieved when my colleague/new friend told me she also flipped out. She seems fairly trauma lite. But who knows.
You knoooooow I have something to say on this 😜 I’m just in a place right now, and will hit you up as I can. Love atcha in the meantime. And cut yourself some slack.
I mean, I was hoping you might. I am cutting myself more slack since reflecting after this post. I’m so used to being told I’m being too lax about my f*ck ups here with drugs and alcohol, so it’s nice no one is really coming down on me. But point of fact: I really wasn’t being particularly stupid or reckless for once. That’s the comedy.
I find drinking maladaptive like you said . The magnification of my negative feelings and just having to deal with it for the few hours of relief it brings, and I don’t deny it does, make it no longer doable for me . Plus there’s the little problem of drunkenness, which can sometimes be a big problem. There are other medications that work better and I wonder that there hasn’t been more of a cultural shift away from drinking
I think having two beers (over three hours!) with a coworker after a super long day is the most healthy incarnation of drinking I’ve ever engaged in, so no, I just don’t think this was maladaptive behavior. My mother eschews drinking outside of religious practice (Jews drink a lot of wine), and even she said the lesson I needed to learn from this is to eat a sandwich. I’m petite. I underate. I sped while merging. I don’t think I was drunk whatsoever. I’m just small and eat badly.
 

Simply Simon

Sponsor
This reaction kind of suggests there might be something buried there worth picking apart. Doesn't it? Any thoughts on the triggering thing?
The only memory I have where my hands are pulled behind my back is when two boys, brothers, jumped out of seemingly nowhere when I was maybe five or so. They were 8-10. My brother babysat them around that time, then suddenly that stopped. I’ve had my suspicions since I was 15 or so about why that was. About why they did this.

I have an earlier memory that’s blindingly sharp with detail about these boys. The only time I can remember my brother, 13, implicating them directly in abusing me. How I ran into the bathroom and locked the door. The hand towel I hid my face in was soft pink. White ceramic everywhere gleaming in the light from a frosted window. The way they talked to me through the door, apologetic and reassuring. How it started fresh when I finally unlocked the door. There’s a blur of laughter. Humiliation. Betrayal.

When they grabbed me, it was off the sidewalk. It could have been visible from my house, but everyone in the neighborhood past pubescence was cloistered in the synagogue I was walking past save the harried women busy in kitchens and nurseries.

Each brother grasped one of my arms, pinning them behind me. They dragged me screaming around the building into the covered parking lot: the reason I still can’t cross some darkened parking lots.

Sometimes I would get halfway across a parking lot in college—one in particular, called The Dustbowl—at dusk, and by the time I realized I was frozen, unable to get to either my dorm or back to my car, it was usually dark. I eventually started calling someone to get me. Otherwise I’d be there until someone walked nearby enough for me to hurry to the shelter of their witness. It was one massive perk to going to such a small college; there were no strangers. Everyone knew everyone else, even if only in passing or by reputation. I didn’t have to wonder about whose orbit I used for security.

In the covered parking lot, there was a boy a little older than the brothers, maybe ten. I still bristle when I hear his name. The boys holding me brought me in front of him, and he told me he heard what I did with the teenage boys at my house. He had the brothers drag me behind the dumpster. He would make me include them, too.

Throughout my childhood, a story was told about the eldest boy. Apparently the adults knew he was “picking” on me. They always laughed about it. I don’t remember it, but they would tell how my best friend, David, eventually beat him up in my defense.

I just don’t remember that.

I do remember what happened later. David remembered the fight. He was only my age. I don’t remember anything after I was behind the dumpster that day. I do remember David feeling I should compensate his heroism after he made them leave me alone some weeks later. I remember him asking what it was I did with the teenagers. Asking me if I would show him, because he saved me from the three boys who “bullied” me. Begging. Persistent. I felt indebted and ashamed.

I don’t remember what happened behind the dumpster with my arms pinned behind me, but my reenactment-as-payment sears my senses with the clarity of the memory. I can feel how rote it all was for me by then. I remember him seeming unsurprised. I felt as truth he already knew what to expect. He’d heard. Still, I carry something like guilt here, like I was the perpetrator. Maybe it didn’t matter. Within months, maybe a year, he would join the older boys with my brother. He was ultimately a victim too. That’s me as an adult framing things. Back then, I saw him as an accomplice. I can still see his enthusiasm in being included. Just a couple years later, I would be avoiding him entirely. Everyone thought it was because I was embarrassed by him. He was fat and lonely. He had bright orange hair and round, rosy cheeks swelling on either side of lipstick pink lips.

It was because I was ashamed. I knew he remembered too.

Somehow the absence of force in this memory alone is what still makes me so sick. I wouldn’t have even remembered what he said afterwards if I hadn’t written it down here, now. That was when he promised to protect me forever. A boy of five or six telling his playmate he would marry her when they grew up after she performed fellatio on him.

Those younger boys never bothered me again—not one of the three.

When I was twelve I saw him again. The story was told. Very funny. Playground squabbles.

They told it again when I saw him at 15.

When his father died a few years ago, I could not bring myself to offer my condolences. Our fathers were best friends our whole lives. They bought that house from my family when we moved. I wondered if it ever haunted him to live there.

I still have nightmares about that place—the basement, the neighborhood, the parking lot distorted into a massive parking garage.

When the officer cuffed me, I didn’t struggle. I just begged over and over. It’s the same thing that always comes out of my mouth when someone grabs me from behind: “Please don’t hurt me.”

I was sobbing. Asphalt. Dark. My wrists bound behind me. His hand gripping my arm.

So yeah. It’s coming together I think.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
Yeah..... I'd say there's a lot there to be triggered. I think, for a lot of people, being arrested would be kind of a thing. My T tells me he "doesn't think I'd do well in captivity" and being arrested would surely be a form of that. Just having to surrender control to someone.... And I'm thinking that WITHOUT a specific incident(s) to flash back to.
He was ultimately a victim too.
Maybe, but he was also a perpetrator. And, by my definition, not really a "friend". But it sure makes things more complicated when it turns out that one of the few people you think you can trust isn't that much different than "everyone else". I can totally relate to that. It goes a lot of places and even coming close to thinking about it definitely makes me cringe.

Could be there are valuable lessons to learn here Grasshopper! (I'll bet the T has forgotten you owe her money and will be pleased to hear from you, especially if you come with check in hand.)
 

joeylittle

Administrator
And then the handcuffs. And then the Total f*cking Meltdown. The officer saying they won’t let me go home if I “keep acting crazy.” Hyperventilating.
This is my nightmare scenario, also. It's not happened to me, but I was just telling my therapist the other day why it would be very very bad for me to ever get into a situation where I needed to be brought in. Hell, when I had my car impounded for expired everything and the officer offered me a ride back to civilization and I sat in the back....I was f*cked up for awhile.
But it IS kind of funny that I got caught the one time my drinking wasn’t some maladaptive coping mechanism. I worked a long day. I went out with a colleague. I picked up some tacos and a DWI. Then I went to work... because it was a Tuesday. How droll.
Yep. Pretty normal shit.
I think having two beers (over three hours!) with a coworker after a super long day is the most healthy incarnation of drinking I’ve ever engaged in, so no, I just don’t think this was maladaptive behavior.
Agree. Next time, eat the tacos before driving onward :). Glad the in the big scheme of things, you're OK.
 
Top