For five days in a row, Choo-choo choke-hugged me. I know this is one of my triggers. I know he does not mean to hurt me. And I finally had the chance to fight back against my PTSD before it broke me down.
With my son’s arms snug around me, I silently repeated in my mind: “I’m safe. I’m safe. I’m safe.” I said it as many times as I needed, even if it was fifty times a minute.
When that started to not work, I did my deep breathing again, along with my most common breathing mantra: Exhale anger, inhale peace. Between the two, I stayed calm. I never panicked. I never cried. I never felt the urge to run away to safety.
I am so proud of me for working through this myself. It really was hell the first few days. I desperately wanted to call my therapist for help. She would have helped me, too. She always tells me at the end of our sessions that if I need her before my next scheduled appointment, that she will get me in.
I just needed to know that I could conquer the panic on my own. I need to be able to work through issues that pop up, especially my triggers, because they will most likely always be around, hiding in the shadows. After three nights of breakdowns and a fourth of Choo-choo moving his arm away without any prompting when choking me, I was ready for the fifth. And I made it through.
“Thank you, Jesus,” I quietly whispered as Choo-choo and I snuggled in the chair. “Thank you so, so much!”