Invisible Tripwires

*This is a throw back from our drafts folder circa June 2020 ish? Pre cancer diagnosis but while knowing we were physically unwell and attempting to find out what was wrong. – Kate

Most of the time my life feels like a well known movie I watched decades ago. I can remember one or two catch phrases that have been repeated over the years, perhaps a lead actor or a song from it, sometimes the name of the film or occasionally even part of the plot.

But mostly I don’t think about the movie, I don’t notice that I don’t really know how it goes anymore until someone mentions it and says “hey remember so and so” and I’m like “yeah!” Then they say something about the storyline and I realise I actually didn’t remember it at all, I simply knew it existed.

So I don’t remember the beginning of this story, I wasn’t really there, I just became more and more aware of how flustered I felt, the room had been so far away but it was getting closer, we were at the doctor, long story short we have suspected endometriosis and the only way to confirm, deny or treat that is through invasive procedures that our trauma history prevents us from pursuing.

So, I was aware Catherine was there and they were talking about the egg donation and how we only did that because we felt obligated, it’s a big trigger for a lot of us or a bunch of reasons.

The Dr was being kind but it didn’t matter, we were starting to get lost in the memories, the fears, flashbacks of other stuff. I think she was trying to explain that even though we’d had procedures like this before there were too many things we know now that we didn’t understand then and it had changed everything so it was off the table now.

Ultimately there were several of us triggered in different ways from the same topic and we all realised there was nothing more the doctor could actually do and it was up to us to accept help or suffer more and more and likely indefinitely.

Shit was flying around inside our mind from all directions. Stuff like:
We can’t continue like this yet help isn’t an option. Death is our only way out.
Feelings of Sheer embarrassment for asking for help knowing full well we wouldn’t take it.
Sadness
Fear, so many layers of fear.
Memories desperately trying to be brick walled
Guilt over the egg donations effect on us
Guilt over the egg donations effect on an innocent 3rd party.
Guilt for feeling regret when there’s a kid at the end of it who we love.
Jealousy
Nobody’s allowed to touch us again.
Desperate urges to run away.
More memories
Guilt over what not getting help is doing to our marriage.
Exasperation over physical pain.

Help meant surrendering to a vow we had made so long ago, a vow that we forget and remembered a million times over and can’t logically explain yet know in our heart is unbreakable, to break this vow will surely kill us and yet if we have to die to prevent being killed in this way then somehow thats different, justifiable, somehow it makes sense in our soul.

Back in the real world Catherine (or some variant of Catherine overwhelmed by the rest of us) was crying and she spoke of how ridiculous she felt when she knew we’d done it before but couldn’t again. She said it was our own fault because we wouldn’t accept proper help.

The doctor said something compassionate of course because she’s lovely words to the effect of “it’s not your fault, it’s the traumas fault” which in turn broke ME because it’s mostly MY fault not the traumas or the others and certainly not Catherines and yet I’m stubbornly willing to sacrifice them all for my own prides sake of not reneging on an old vow, but because I tend to turn my hurt into anger I suddenly heard the words I was meant to only be thinking leave our lips in a far too flippant manner.

“It doesn’t matter anyway, I’ve signed an advance directive, We won’t have any anaesthetics ever, even for a life saving procedure!”

I felt our body stiffen, I could also feel the tears that were falling down our face again and as a painful and all too familiar feeling of humiliation and regret washed over me, I realised I had been triggered to full presence in the room and had somehow accidentally kicked Catherine out and spoken aloud placing a land mine that would likely destroy us, and a hard to find good therapeutic relationship.

The doctor wasn’t expecting me to say that and she fell right over my invisible tripwire. the atmosphere of the room turned cold, her eyes flickered a steely glare lasting a mere microsecond yet it penetrated my preoccupied mind like a sword. She looked away and typed something into her computer, there was a deafening silence that in reality probably only lasted moments, but it went on for an eternity in my head.

Pride buries it’s roots in shame and in that moment the shame hit me like a boxers glove. The others had scarpered, I was alone and everything I had ever done wrong, everything I’d ever perceived the others to have done wrong swirled like a vortex around me.

A life filled with the shame of simply existing flashed before my eyes like a death scene only I was still alive, trapped in the torturous hellscape my mind was laying out for me.

Lost. Broken. Hopeless.

There were more words spoken but I don’t know what they were, I got up to leave with a script of something that likely won’t help but at least the doctor could feel like she was doing something for us even though I didn’t deserve that. She said something else kind as we stepped out the door that set off another land mine from the humiliation & suppressed rage fairy.

I beeline the bathroom to try and rid myself of myself or at least these feelings and look less like we had been crying to the waiting room full of people.
A fear of judgement from the most judgemental person of them all, me. Fucking irony. At least I’m self aware.

We had to get home. Someone else drove, I was distinctly aware of not being in control as I was looking down on our hands on the wheel. Funny how autopilot kicks in but it only knows how to get home. I was supposed to buy things at the shops on the way home but the urge to self annihilate had reached a 9 on the scale and autopilot wasn’t stopping for anyone. I looked at the ghost hands on the steering wheel and was urging them to take out a tree as Jody from Twitters voice echoed through my addled mind on repeat saying that most suicidal impulses will only last 20minutes.


I needed to last 20minutes, I needed to fuck right off and let someone else deal with the rest of the day but I was too worked up, this switching consciousness shit doesn’t work on command unfortunately.
19 minutes… There are people at home, we had to fix this before getting home or end it.
18 minutes…
We could make it look like an accident?
17 minutes…
I put on the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast but I couldn’t really hear it.
15 minutes…
I got angrier realising I hadn’t finished helping a friend with a promise and was trying to decide if that was enough reason to live. Not really.
10 minutes…
I was suddenly aware of Paul, the podcast host talking and riffing comedically as he does, then he did this bit with his “Mean DJ voice” and for some reason it snapped me right out of it and I heard myself laughing out loud, all be it from 20miles away.
5 minutes…
Mean DJ voice might have just saved our ass
1 minute…
Deep breath, urge to die is subsiding and Jody is right on the money.

blink
Two days later: Writing this.

V.

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