My husband and I sat down after my brief nap after my long day yesterday to watch a new series we’ve heard so much about ‘house of cards.’ We subscribe to an extra service so that we can tap into the American Netflix as the NZ Netflix is a bit behind with all the buying up and rights of airing of certain American programs so we are grateful to access movies and series that we’d otherwise miss.
As most of America and the UK seem to be, we are really enjoying it, and I’m a huge Kevin spacey fan. However in this particular episode an innocent scene where a character goes back to his childhood home and sees his girlfriend there, they end up in his bedroom. As they’re kissing he looks to the ceiling and remarks about the cracks. How he used to stare at that them every night. How he knows every curve.
It wasn’t a scene that usually my husband would expect as potentially triggering and fast forward. The dialogue wasn’t even predictable.
But for me, that scene alone sent me into a spiral of panic and flashbacks. My breathing felt out of my control. I couldn’t verbalise my fear, so sat rigid throughout the duration of the show. After as we went to bed my husband remarked I seemed short and agitated but I just wanted to get into my bedroom. As he did the locking up and turning off off lights that I usually help with, I sent him a quick text.
When he came into the room he didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure he’d checked his phone. It forced me ask, to which he replied when I was ready to talk he’d listen. And then I broke down and cried. Again, another unusual move for me.
The cracks in the ceiling were my distraction when I was being raped. When I knew that the fight was over, that no one was going to help me, when I knew it was inevitable, when I knew I was his, I looked at those cracks in the ceiling. I stared at them until they were the only thing that existed. I became lost in those cracks. They went from the wall to the light fixture.
When the pain was so great and his voice was all I heard I didn’t move my eyes from those cracks.
To this day, it’s become so easy, so automatic for me to seek out a blemish, a mark, a crack in a room and focus on that when I’m uncomfortable, most of the time I don’t even realise I’m doing it. I can lose myself in seconds, but sometimes I can’t fully return for such a long time.
I can miss entire conversations. It scares me.
It also helps me.
But it was born out of something so violent and painful that to hear someone else refer to it, it breaks my heart.
Last night I must have had nightmares. I don’t remember their content, just the throwing myself around and waking up in panic. I’m glad I had my salt lamp to lighten the room.
Triggers tend to be more something more obvious. But this was unexpected. Subtle. But equally, if not more gut wrenching and painful.