My therapist has a really great word that she uses when talking about physical and emotional reactions to intense or stressful stimuli- being “activated.”

I’m quite sure we have all heard the term “triggered” being used as the passing term for anyone experiencing a trauma-based reaction to an external stimuli. Being “triggered” is the first initial feel and movement to a quick spike in our fight-or-flight systems, but that reaction doesn’t go away as soon as we ground ourselves and reassess the safety of our situation. The days and hours it takes for us to ramp down from these mental and physical reactions is the “activated” period of time… the period of time when we are most prone to spiking back into terror, concern, and a restless urge to run. It’s also when we are the most on edge and the most prone to falling back into unhealthy habits with ourselves.

I’ve been “activated” for two weeks straight now. And I’m exhausted.

From complete anxiety over a project that I botched and reworked and botched again, to turning in this project to a museum and fearing not only it’s safe passage but it’s acceptance into their judgement- to feeling terrorized in my home by my new upstairs neighbors who created racket the entire night long, (the same night of this project’s transportation)- to starting my period right in the middle of that same day- to not being able to sleep each night or eat very much- to having an epic lucid nightmare in my studio last night after trying to steal a nap….

You could say I am entirely worn out by my survival systems.

I’ve been so jumpy I almost fought a fly one night when it buzzed too close to my ear, and I have been getting exhausted by any moment I am driving in my car, (which already gives me anxiety after the accident.) One day I could barely get out of bed or talk or walk across the room without nearly passing out.

My overworking tendencies are back in full swing, and I am feverishly seeking closure with projects, work and life to feel a sense of closure in my terror. My drive to run is pulling me strongly, and I don’t have the strength to fight it. I’m trying my best to “be level-headed” and “keep perspective” in my situation(s), but I am still finding myself at a climactic battle field in my mind.

Where everyone is a threat to my safety and I have nowhere to retreat.

I’m trying to be soft and kind to myself but it is an uphill battle that I need more sustained strength to climb. I’m trying to find pleasure in small simple moments, to allow them to steal me away from my consistent concerns- but I know that is not a long-term solution. Only a momentary respite.

I’ll keep trying and hoping and throwing my intentions to the universe for a sense of safety and resolution- and doing the best I can in the mean time while I fight my internal senses of danger.

I am feeling wholly and entirely ready to move back to a safer and easier environment for me to be simply at rest and at ease. I have reached my threshold for stress and physical exertion.

If you’ve ever experienced the same or similar experiences, please feel free to comment any advice or share your story below. I know we aren’t the only ones living in a state of activation.

May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering

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