Fight or Flight: What Happens When Neither are Possible?

The last two days have been pretty awful. Mostly due to the house in our street being demo’d. (Pro Tip: Don’t park your big ass truck in front of a cop’s driveway. It won’t end well for you).

It may sound like that is just an annoyance. But the crunching and crushing sounds have been a massive trauma trigger for me. I grew up near an operating rock quarry. And the sounds of the quarry during the day terrified me as a small child. I thought they were “Rock Monsters” climbing the hill to come hurt me.

And so, the last two days I’ve been stuck hearing the Rock Monsters outside. Add that to my pre-existing major anxiety and you get a fun bag of crazy!

The two responses to any stressful situation is commonly “fight or flight”, but what happens when neither of those are options? I can’t “fight” the construction workers and their machines, I can’t “flight” either: I have nowhere to go.

I can, in a sense, “fight” my Rock Monsters. I can challenge those thoughts. I can challenge them with “I’m safe. I’m alive. I’m here, not there. They aren’t real. They cannot hurt me.” thoughts, but that is waaay easier said than done.

Another reason I am out of sorts, is my birthday is on Monday. I do not like my birthday. I really do not like my birthday. And it is a bit of a trigger in itself.

What is left, when an anxious person has their trauma triggered, when the main responses are unavailable?

“A child molester only has power as long as their secret is kept.
Tell the truth, and his power is gone.”
– L&W: SVU, ADA Alexandra Cabot.


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