Vulnerability

I’m experiencing a hard shut down, triggered by vulnerability. “Vulnerability refers to the inability (of a system or a unit) to withstand the effects of a hostile environment.” [Source: Wikipedia.] I recognize my vulnerabilities as triggers for dissociation, panic attacks, flashbacks and nightmares, or any other symptom of anxiety, depression, or PTSD. My triggers for the defense mechanisms that serve to protect me are these vulnerabilities:

 

  • Specific Trigger Dates:
    • January 11th — date my divorce became final
    • January 15th — my dad’s birthday
    • March 1st — my oldest son’s birthday
    • April 11th/12th — date of first rape
    • April 14th — the day my dad died
    • April 27th — my youngest son’s birthday; memories associated with giving him up for adoption
    • August 11th — date of second rape
    • December 3rd — marriage anniversary

    Suicide Attempts (Possible trigger dates):

    1. August 9, 1996
    2. April 12, 1998
    3. October 14, 1998
    4. December 4, 2004

    Holidays that I recognize as being triggering:

    • Easter
    • Mother’s Day
    • My birthday
    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas
  • Certain strong emotions, e.g. rage, grief, terror, contempt, disappointment, despair, hopelessness, disrespect, humiliation, frustration, overwhelm, shame, confusion, and shock.
  • Confrontation.
  • Harsh or negative criticism and judgement of others, feeling persecuted.
  • Acts of aggression and violence (hostility). I’m horribly sensitive to media coverage that is gruesome or hateful or violent, etc. Coverage of stories regarding rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, or even sexual harassment can be triggering for me.
  • Exhaustion — whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, or all of the above.
  • Feeling exposed, out in the open, insecure paranoia.
  • Injustice.
  • Loss of safety or insecure environment. Threat of homelessness, starvation, or abuse make me catatonic, totally checked out.
  • Feeling misunderstood, unheard, or not believed.
  • Lack of consistency, routine, or structure in my daily life.
  • Change — big or small, I don’t do well with change.
  • Healthcare — mental health or physical health, either one. I still, to this day, have “institutional” type nightmares; and I never stayed at any psychiatric facility for more than one month. I have no faith in the medical community, no faith in our doctors to actually listen, hear what they’re being told, and understand that I know my body better than they ever will given the brevity of time spent with patients. I have no patience left for psychiatry. I’m right there on that cliff of anti-psychiatry, ready to jump off. I don’t even have any trust left to give to another counselor or therapist. I have absolutely no cause to believe that corporations (pharmaceutical, healthcare related and insurance related) will grow a conscience and do what is “right” for the American people. And absolutely NO confidence in our government to protect us from predatory greed.

I think it’s a fair assessment to say that most people nowadays are feeling vulnerable, insecure, and lost in bewilderment in reaction to not only the violence of this past Saturday’s protests but also the hateful rhetoric spreading through social media like wildfire. And we still have that pesky little problem of a US president who does not belong there due to his emotional instability. This is a matter of National Security. Period. When the Commander-in-Chief is compromised due to illness, he must abdicate his position to someone of sound mind and body. Periods of hate and violence breed more hate and violence. There’s no doubt that our feelings are completely warranted in this particular situation. The political climate is volatile. Social unrest is of dire importance. It must be dealt with delicately and swiftly. Neither are Trump’s strengths.


What brought about this sudden change in the posts shared here on my blog as well as my reasons for listing my triggers again is specifically a reminder to me to remain vigilant in how I manage mental illness, especially now without the help or support of mental health services. Trust no one; and NEVER complain! That’s the message I’ll take away from my experience with PMHC and their corporate owner VBHCS.

I filed a formal complaint about the mishandling of my Safety Net review. Neither my counselor nor case manager took responsibility for the screw up, each blaming the other. Less than a month after I filed that complaint, my counselor tells me he’s no longer providing counseling due to a job change at the end of this month. No termination process whatsoever, just him asking, “I didn’t know if you wanted to take a break from therapy for a while?”

Me: Yeah, I think so. (Quietly livid — inner voices raging and screaming, while mocking, “Told you so! Told you so!”)

My counselor: I kind of figured that you’d want to. I was thinking on and off all day if I was going to approach this with you because I didn’t want to shock your system.

Too late for that. It was yet another shock, and I shut down — hard. I felt like I had just been kicked in the gut and booted out the door with a, “Buh-bye, now. Good luck!”

Coincidence? Or am I just being paranoid?

Did I just get discharged from mental health services because I filed a formal complaint?