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What is wrong with my brain???

Old 10-10-2017, 04:37 PM
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What is wrong with my brain???

I posted a couple of days ago about being slapped with a really unexpected wave of grief that was just so very intense. I got so much help and so much support - thank you all for that. It made getting through it so, so, so much easier.

Now, for the last two days, different things are coming up. I've been having the worst flashbacks: not to any really big incidents - but my brain just seems to be flooding randomly with the tiny details - the times he would pick a fight, when he'd get jealous over my spending time with my boys (not his children), the days that I would just look at him the wrong way and he'd have a fit, the days he would complain for the 90th time about being allergic to my cats. And every time, I just keep thinking: How did I get here? How did I let myself get so trapped?

I'll be having a calm evening or just brushing my teeth and then I'll get slammed with some horrible detail. And then, to make it all the more confusing, I woke up this morning and my very co-dependent brain thought it might be a good idea to check in on him and see how he was doing. WTF????? I know exactly how he is doing. I didn't contact him, but it just seems to speak to the power of my habit, my addiction. I absolutely don't want this relationship anymore and yet I'm still thinking about reaching out: because I care, because I'm concerned, because that's what decent people do ... The whole thing makes me realize how much of my own life I've missed out on because I let myself get sucked into this alcoholic whirlpool that just sucks you deeper and deeper.
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Old 10-10-2017, 05:44 PM
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Things get better. Hang in there!!!

The brain is absolutely amazing in how protective it is... to the extent that it can and will shield a person from trauma by creating an illusion of safety in very dangerous situations.

Now that it's safe to process these things, it's letting you work them out. It sucks. It hurts. It does get much, much better.

Pray, ask for direction, ask for eyes to see and ears to hear... and expect God/Universe/Mother Earth/Great Spirit to show up for you. Get mad, expect happiness... let your heart get involved in this process.

What does your current support network look like? What would you like it to be?

That random wtf thought of suddenly wanting what you KNOW you don't want will quickly go away with no contact.

For me, there was an uncomfortable void that was needed before I was meant to fill it with new, beautiful, wonderful people and relationships.

You're asking great questions and doing great things for yourself.

(((((Hugs)))))
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:41 PM
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Hi shauna,

I think what you are going through is perfectly normal for you right now. It seems that you are starting to see and feel the things that you weren't able to before, and you are getting angry about them, but then you go back to having more feelings for him then you have for yourself. I would say when I felt like that it was when I was switching stages from denial to acceptance, but denial kept wanting to come back.

You went through a lot, and it's a long process to get yourself back.

Keep posting, here for you.

((((((((((hugs)))))))))
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:28 PM
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Shauna-

I had intense mental, emotional and physical flashbacks as I was working through my recovery.

My therapist helped me to understand it was PTSD release of sorts.

Just knowing my behavior was "normal," for the abnormal circumstances I was in, was helpful.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:15 AM
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I've heard that emotional memories come up at times when you have the psychological space to handle and process them. When you're in crisis mode, you often can't really reflect on or even really deeply experience some of the things that are happening around you because all of your mental and emotional energy is taken up with getting things done which have to be done (getting the alcoholic out, or getting yourself away from the alcoholic). When things have slowed down and you're not caught up in a dozen urgent things that need to be done for you to get out of the situation, other feelings can come to the surface almost spontaneously. I found that when I was in the process of leaving my alcoholic ex-husband, I had plenty of access to anger, because that kept me energized and motivated - but it wasn't until after I had moved out and sorted out the separation that I was able to really feel sadness and grief. Too much sadness and grief in the early stages might have been demotivating, because sadness doesn't give energy. But once there was space for it to emerge safely, it did.

In other words, I think what you are experiencing (odd bursts of memories and feelings) is completely normal and part of a healing process. Try to just stay with it and ride it out. It will slow down eventually.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:22 AM
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^^^^^^^Agree.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:52 AM
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Semi-related question: how many people here find themselves getting triggered by things that are neutral for normal people? I am willing to bet there are people here who get anxious when they hear the sound of a key turning in a lock, or who start to feel angry when the phone rings. Who start to feel resentment when they hear the sound of someone snoring, or who suddenly feel suspicious when they smell a heavy scent of aftershave or perfume.

The last one is a biggy for me. There are certain perfumes I just never want to smell again if I can help it, and when I find a pillow that smells like it I get anxious, and certain fights play out in my head.

Put a regular person in a forest, and they barely notice leaves rustling in a bush. Put a regular person in a forest full of tigers for 6 months, and you will find that the same sound will trigger terror, a massive adrenaline rush, and perhaps even make them run like hell before they have even had time to think about it.

I think a lot of people who have lived with an alcoholic are a little bit like that. We have learned to identify signals that indicate threatening stuff is about to happen. And even when we know in our rational minds that there is no immediate threat anymore, seeing the signal will still conjure up the same feelings. It may even bring back memories.

It takes time for conditioning like that to fade, they tell me. And the more time you spend at peace, the quicker that will happen.

Mindfullness techniques are really helping for me.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:54 PM
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For me, it's the "you've got mail!" audio notifications on my laptop, because I always worried that it would be another drunken rant coming my way. I discovered that a) you can mark mail from certain senders as "junk", and anything that arrives as "junk" doesn't generate a notification; b) you can turn off email notifications on a Mac.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:08 PM
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Yes, yes, yes to all of it! The most intense periods of random memories, processing and grief occur on the weeks that my boys are with their dad (not my XABF). I am starting to accept that my brain (and I guess my heart) are doing heavy duty healing when I really have the time to be fully present to it - which makes total sense. Thank you so much for your help with this - I was seriously starting to wonder what was going on!

When I joined the site in September, I was really minimizing the effect that the whole situation had on me. I didn't understand how much healing I had to do - I was too focused (big surprise!) on his process, on how he was doing - I never even really started processing what happened to me. I used to think that not drinking was enough - now I know it's not even close. I have a better understanding of the disease and spending time on this site has really taken such a weight off of my shoulders. I understand my part in all of it, but I don't have to be weighed down by any extra guilt - I accept his choices - wherever they might lead him.

And yes - to the triggers!! For me it's the 'pop' of a soda can (which sounds way too much like a beer can) and the Tweet notification - that used to be his notification sound. Every time I hear it, I still automatically reach for my phone -even though it's not coming from my device - and my heart is always in my mouth.
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Old 10-14-2017, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by shauna71 View Post
And yes - to the triggers!! For me it's the 'pop' of a soda can (which sounds way too much like a beer can) and the Tweet notification - that used to be his notification sound. Every time I hear it, I still automatically reach for my phone -even though it's not coming from my device - and my heart is always in my mouth.
A soda and beer can have slightly different sounds, in my opinion, but I still think about him when someone opens a can of soda at work. I wonder if I will ever not think about him when I hear a can open.
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