PTSD Triggers and Losing My Sh*t

I have never been kicked out of a place before, but  that changed the other night, and I am not the type of person to lose my shit like that. I will leave a place before I lose my cool, so I am surprised at myself, actually. It wasn’t expected, but there were three things going on all at once that triggered PTSD.

Here’s a little backstory on something that happened recently: I had seen OC out a couple of times with the woman he’s dating. I didn’t think it bothered me; perhaps I suppressed my feelings, but my feelings weren’t towards them. My feelings were about how I felt when he ghosted me, and for whatever reason, those feelings came back in full force, as if it had happened all over again. I didn’t eat or sleep well for about a week, and I had that same knot like I’d been kicked in the stomach that I had two and a half years ago. I don’t understand why I had these feelings except maybe the stress and depression around the holidays also triggered something else that I have yet to deal with.

OC’s girlfriend happens to be a bartender at a place I sometimes go. I think she’s a nice person, and I never have problems with anyone. I happened to be there when she was working, and there were cute puppy videos on the tv we were watching. She then showed me a pic of her dog and said something about her boyfriend of six months (surprised he lasted that long with anyone). Then we got onto the subject of the boyfriend (OC). I told her I had dated him, wish I’d never met him, said I think he’s sneaky and a liar and filled her in on my side of the story. I don’t think she knew he and I dated. I told her I hope she breaks his heart. I wish nothing bad on her whatsoever, but perhaps she is also avoiding the red flags and warning signs that I had.

In the meantime, someone else walked into that bar that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, and it set off another trigger. I don’t know what happened, but my mind just shut down at some point. I was still talking to the bartender when someone else that knows nothing about me piped in and started talking shit to me about me. First of all, I’m not going to let anyone talk shit to me, especially when they don’t even know me enough to attend my funeral. This is a person that has zero room to talk, but I suspect she gets her information about me from a frenemy, so that’s when I lost my shit. I told her to fuck off, told her to shut the fuck up, called her a stupid fucking cunt, and at some point I don’t remember what else I said. I must have been blackout angry by that point. Actually, I was yelling, which is something I never do unless I have just had enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve yelled at anyone. Maybe it’s what I needed before I exploded inside.

Between PTSD triggers, anger, and alcohol, that was it for me. I was told to leave the bar, which I was attempting to do at that point anyway, and I was getting up to leave and gathering my things. I think they thought I was going to physically attack her (I’m not a fighter), so I was grabbed and pushed out. Not a loss, actually, because it’s the place that I feel a lot of the douchebags I’ve written about here hang out; I just like the music there.

I have never dealt with certain things that have happened to me, because I find it difficult to talk about and blame myself for a lot of it. Now that I’ve identified a trigger or three, maybe I can begin to work with it in my next counseling session.

End of Year Brain Dump 2019

I’ve been struggling a lot emotionally lately. I don’t know if it’s the holidays or a combination of things that have kicked in, things that have triggered PTSD, anxiety, and depression back full force, causing me to lose sleep and lose my appetite again. I seemed to have been doing fine up until about a month ago. I need to get back to counseling, but I don’t have my next appointment until the end of January.

What changed? Some of my habits changed. Since the holidays are here, I’ve been going out more, which means drinking more, which has brought up some suppressed feelings about things I wasn’t ready to deal with before. Suddenly, I’m aware of things that I don’t want to think about, but I’m unsure what to do with these feelings.

Major anxiety and depression has my mind going back and forth, creating stories that don’t exist (this is where I need to put them into a fiction story just to get it out), and I can’t focus on anything. I haven’t been this bad in two years. My appetite has changed. I don’t have much of one, and I don’t know if it’s due to stress (I tend to not eat when I’m stressed) or other things that I’m allowing to bother me. Perhaps it’s hormonal, but I don’t think this is.

Holidays. Parts of my family do not get along or speak to each other anymore, which makes it difficult on everyone trying to get together. It also makes it sad for the rest of us. Being single once again during the holidays is also taxing, kicking in reminders of how our society views women as failures for being single at all.

All of this reminds me of when I was a senior in high school when my first boyfriend cheated on me and dumped me without telling me. I was devastated. I have that same gut anxiety feeling right now. I remember then that I couldn’t eat and couldn’t sleep, but I rode my bike a lot just to let out some physical angst. The only thing different is that I’m in my 40s, haven’t been working out, and I have more life experience. So why is this awful feeling coming back? Triggers.

I suppose I need to learn to recognize what really triggers all of this, but I’m thinking it probably has a lot to do with abandonment issues and feelings of lack of love and trust from people that I’ve loved and I thought loved me, too. At this point, do I even know what love is, because what I thought was love apparently was not. Hmmm….

Shopping at Walmart May Require Mental Health Therapy

I’m positive I don’t stand alone when it comes to what I think about Walmart. It seems like everyone I know feels the same about the place. It amazes me that a place can be so shitty and still rake in billions a year.

I was trying to save time and get everything in one place, because I had to be somewhere else, so I went to Walmart to return something. Of course there’s a line a half mile long in the middle of the day, because no one is ever really working there.

So I raced around to get some of the things I needed, like cat food. Should have been a simple task, right? Not at Walmart! The cat food I needed was stuffed way in the back of the shelf, but too deep for me to reach it. Of course no one was around, and I ended up having to go to the shelf under it and literally crawl under/into the shelf and reach up to push it so that I could reach it. They were also out of collars and have been for weeks now.

Then I looked for olive oil. The regular type I use for cooking was out – of course – and they only had EVOO left. Shelves are nearly empty! (Again, how does this place function??)

I needed to get flash drives, but they only had them in single packs, which were more expensive. I’ve bought them before in multiple packs before, so I asked the employee. The guy  “Ryan” told me I probably bought them at Staples. Say what??

I told him I don’t shop at Staples. Then he said I might have got them on Amazon.

I couldn’t believe my ears.

I said, “I think I know the difference between buying something at Walmart, driving 20 miles to Staples, or shopping online! I was IN the store!” – and I pointed “right there” to where I saw them last.

Then he said, “Well maybe you don’t remember.”

Oh. My. God.

I was in NO mood to deal with this idiot’s shit. I went OFF on him and said, “Maybe you don’t know how to do your shitty job, Ryan!” – and I threw everything down and walked out.

No wonder Walmart is offering mental health therapy in their store!

Living as a Single INFP-T Idealist

I had probably taken this test back in college, but long before everything was available on the internet. After recently taking the Myers-Briggs personality test, I realized why I have always felt alone, always felt like I was on the wrong planet or born to the wrong generation, or just plain never fit in anywhere. The more I read about the INFP-T personality type (“the mediator), the more I’m beginning to understand myself. I wish I had done this years ago!

From what I’ve read, the INFP personality is a rarity, fitting only about 4-5% of the population. Every single characteristic of an INFP-T fits me spot on. Here I was all of these years thinking something was wrong with me, because I never fit in, people always told me they could never understand me, and because of that – I never understood myself and always felt as if something was wrong with me. So now here I am in my mid-40s finally figuring it out.

It seems that most INFP personality types are lonely, mainly because we prefer to be alone or have difficulty being around chaotic environments or people, prefer to communicate in metaphors, and take things personally. I’m not the type of person that’s far left or far right, and I like things diplomatically balanced right in the center. We like to spend quality time with a few people that mean a lot to us. This explains why I have never fit into groups, no matter how hard I’ve tried. I mean, I can get along with anyone or find common ground with anyone somewhere along the line; I tend to be a listener, and more than enough people have unleashed all of their problems to me; but I have also been told more than enough times that I am difficult to get to know. After reading all of the strengths and weaknesses of the INFP personality, I identify with all of them 100%. I am ruled by my emotions and feelings for the most part, which is probably why my entire life has seemed so scattered.

After taking the Myers-Briggs test, I found the Keirsey personality test that also fits along the same lines. There are four types of Idealists (15% of the population), and INFP personality type is one of them. I happen to fall into the Idealist-Healer category. Again, this type fit me quite well, especially as a nurturer and dreamer.

Taking all of this into consideration, I can see why I have had such difficulty in relationships and opening up to people. It all makes total sense now. I suppose this is another reason I’m single; I find the good in everyone, even though they may not be good for me, and I often don’t break off relationships (whether it be friendship, romantic, or work related) when I should. I care more than I should, and like many INFP types, I tend romanticize a partner for what I think they are or could be rather than what they really are.

I already knew all of this about myself, but these tests just help explain things better for my understanding. Now that I’ve discovered all of this, I realize I need more personality types that fit my own. Further research suggests that I the best matches for INFP types are ENFJ or ESFJ. If it were only that easy to find that without going around asking people to take the test! Maybe the next time I write a dating profile it will read “INFP seeking ENFJ or ESFJ” and see what happens.

Does he really like me, or does he just want sex?

Dear Susanna,

I met this new guy but I’m not sure if he really likes me or is just another player. How do I tell if he’s really interested or just wants to get laid?

— Aly

Dear Aly,

I’m sure most women can relate to this question, and sometimes it really is difficult to know if a man really likes you or just wants to lay it down. While some guys are easy to weed out, others play the cat and mouse game and will wait for sex… and then promptly dump you. It seems there are fewer men that act like gentlemen anymore, but they are out there! (Just don’t ask me where.)

When a guy is truly interested in getting to know you as a person, he will ask questions about you, show concern for your well-being, act considerate, take you out and treat you like a lady, and keep a healthy amount of communication. Oh yeah, and doesn’t string you along, because interested people act interested, period.

If everything is going great and there is chemistry (there should be if it’s something you want to pursue), and perhaps your bodies may want to have sex but in your mind you know it’s not time, he should accept that. If he gets angry like an Irishman or gives off some weird negative vibe or later ignores you or ghosts you, then he doesn’t respect your needs or feelings. Then you can just label him as a douchebag.

Once you get to know someone’s character enough to know for certain that the relationship is moving along, then use your best judgment as to whether or not you want to give up the cherry pie. Sometimes you never truly know, but the longer you wait, the better the chances are that he truly does care.

Hope that helps!

— Susanna

Have a question? Send it to me here

Dealing with Abandonment in Relationships

Looking back, I suppose I’ve always had some type of abandonment issue. If you’ve ever read my book, “Unheard,” you’ll have a general idea of my childhood experiences with abandonment. Beyond that book, I had never written much about my adult life, and writing helps me to examine things that I have played over and over throughout my life.

I moved to the Florida Keys in 2003 and was told by a family member that my father thought I had moved there to “become a lesbian.” This was a surprise to me, considering I’ve only dated men and believe that no one just “becomes a lesbian.” I thought that was absurd and ignorant, as it only went to show that my father knows absolutely nothing about me, nor does he bother to care enough to ask me a thing about my life. In fact, the last time we spent any time alone together was when I was about 12 years old.

My father hasn’t spoken to me verbally or seen me since my grandmother’s death in 2003 – and currently, we only live about 10 miles apart. I can only guess it’s because I don’t live the lifestyle that he would choose for me – even though I’ve done nothing wrong – and he just assumes untrue things about me. Religion has played a huge part in this, which is why I have rejected religion since I was a teenager. My father and I don’t share the same beliefs, and I do believe that my stepmother is an extremely huge influence on his decision making or lack thereof. The reason I partly blame her is because my invitations, addresses, and the same phone number I’ve had for 15 years have always been “lost”. The last time I heard from my father was in 2007 when I sent a wedding invitation that he declined. I never even received a card. And to top it off, he has also avoided his first grandchild, my daughter, all of these years.

Bringing all of this into consideration, I can see that many of the relationships I’ve had over the years have replayed the theme of abandonment. It seems to have either gone that way or the complete opposite – the suffocating type. I have yet to find that happy middle with anyone, and now that I see things for what they are, it’s difficult for me to allow myself to get close to anyone.

After reading this article, “The Five Signs of Adults with Abandonment Issues” – I recognize that I exhibit all five of these signs. I know I have insecurity issues at times, but I never understood why – and people have commented to me and often question me about this. I spend a lot of time alone, more so than most people and a lot more than most people think, especially since my divorce. I’ve made some pretty bad decisions or started having panic attacks after being dumped (“heightened emotional response”) or rejected in some way – or even having thoughts of being dumped or rejected. I definitely have commitment issues and fear getting too close – or quite the opposite of attaching to someone too soon, only to get dumped.

I mean, I always knew there was something wrong with me and felt like no one would ever love me, but this really clears up a lot. Wow, do I have a lot of work to do, but how do I fix these things? At least for now, I’m glad I can recognize these traits.