Sharing this good article and some of its quotes. Sometimes people closest to me are flabbergasted by how complicated I make things. “Just” gets used a lot. And I get it. But while “just” for some people is a simple word, to me it is a giant, overbearing one.
Every choice I make has to be stuck on this carousel that circles between the experiences I would like to have, how I should behave, the consequences of each, and whether or not I should just take a nap. Things that are easy to a lot of people are rocket science to me, like picking a place to eat or what to eat. Somebody close to me, who is very observant and often right more than I begrudgingly admit, is spot on when he says I treat these decisions as if they are my last meal and make it “too much of a thing.” And he is right. And I hate that about myself. But it isn’t so much fear of when I will eat again or what or where. It is that I don’t enter a restaurant and hear a dish sliding on a table or wobbling a bit when sat down without hearing the palpable aggression in fear that I head as a child. I hear dishes slamming into floors. I take a dish from the cabinet and, when it is a heavier dish, I remember the times I winced because I knew when a family member had a dish that was heavier but I didn’t know if it was going to be thrown my way.
A lot of family dysfunction happens when the family is all together. And families tend to be together (and in my family, drunk) at meals. Which is why I am really glad we stopped eating together as a family. But when something happens for over twenty years of your life, you build up such anxiety around food and meal times that it seems as innate of a reaction as a person salivating while looking at something incredibly appetizing. I get trapped under all of these feelings that I don’t know how to sweep away because I know, as a rational adult, that they aren’t really there. And as much as I am good at making something out of nothing, I come up short when it comes to the magic of making things disappear.
“It’s a constant battle in restaurants and cafes. My friends and family are perplexed and sometimes annoyed by the musical chairs generated by my need to feel safe.”
“My fear-based brain is still trying to keep me safe even when there is no imminent danger. When we grow up stressed, our bodies adapt to a constant state of fear. As infants we can’t tell the difference between being left to wallow in our own distress and imminent physical danger. For babies, there just isn’t any difference. Survivors of chronic trauma have been left with a hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis that is permanently skewed by toxic stress.”