Immediately I feel nauseous.
It washes over me like a wave. It fills my belly and begins to squeeze my chest. My heart is racing. Adrenaline flows through my limbs. They begin to tingle. My head tingles. My eyes struggle to focus, and I’m so light-headed I dare not move.
My breathing becomes fast and shallow. I want to close my eyes. I do.
The waves continue to come. Nausea, adrenaline, pounding. My heart literally feels like it’s going to beat out of my chest. I want to throw up.
“Open your eyes,” I remember my hope-speaking counselor say. “Come back.”
He is not here to coach me. I have to fight my own way through. It takes all my will to open my eyes and focus on the cup in front of me.
Stay here. Feel the chair beneath me. The cup is full of pens. They are real. I am here. I am not there. I make myself feel the air on my skin. The hair falling on the back of my neck. My eyes begin to focus. I remember to slow my breathing, and I count.
Inhale. Exhale. 2. . 3. . 4. . 5. .
It happens in an instant. Trauma revisits me, and I’m sucked into my body’s God-given preservation system. It’s meant to protect me, but it doesn’t discern I’m not in danger right now. Trauma lives in the past.
My body is the one the keeps bringing it to the now.
Today is was a coffee shop. The thought of going to a coffee shop where my world was turned upside down years ago. It was the place where my picture of reality tumbled down like a domino train. Where what I thought was, wasn’t. The explosion of that place, the betrayal, I feel them as if they are happening right now.
My body fights as if they are now.
I hate it. I hate that my body is preparing to flee what no longer endangers me. It holds me captive to a place I want to have no power over me.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. Let me grieve the pain of that place without the panic of today. Free my body of it’s fight. Bring sorrow, but please speak relief over the terror that haunts me.