It's curious how the brain gets 'stuck' in the 'fight or flight'/Red Alert response, isn't it? Take yesterday teatime for example (or evening meal, to non-Yorkshire people out there!) Paul and Ben were eating fish in breadcrumbs, chips and mushy peas. Ben commented on the fact that Sainsbury's mushy peas weren't a patch on Batchelor's mushy peas. Then there was a silence. And the 'stuck' part of my brain suddenly went into FREEZE. I mean F.R.E.E.Z.E...
Because in the 'bad old days' when Ben's anorexia was raging, he'd make
a comment on something about the food not being right (too hot, too
cold, too tasteless, too fatty, too little, too much, too dry, too
salty, too... you name it) and then there'd be silence.
THEN ALL HELL WOULD BREAK LOOSE as Ben would crash his knife and fork
down on the plate, maybe throw food around, definitely storm out of the
dining room shrieking like a wounded animal, yelling, bashing his head
against the hall wall, charging up and down stairs...
And meanwhile I'd be sitting at the dining table in floods of tears, my pulse thumping in my ears, feeling hot and cold, dreading what would come next.
that's how my brain reacted last night. Just because of an innocent
comment about mushy peas and a period of silence... Before Ben carried
on eating as normal.
Meanwhile inside my head I was busy doing every CBT and mindfulness technique known to man to bring my fear back to normal levels.
So, no, the PTSD hasn't gone, despite all that therapy.
But at least I'm able to recognise it when it happens and know why it happens, and observe how my body responds.
And to continue with the helpful self-help books.