There is nothing worse than feeling stuck. Literally stuck! Sometimes we have a zipper that is stuck. When it happens, it is usually when we are in a hurry. So, what we do is to keep pulling and tugging on the zipper, creating a worse situation. Then, we pull long where we end up with extra material in the way of the zipper, and the next thing you know, we have a ripped coat and a stuck zipper.
How about being stuck in an elevator? I don’t like elevators myself, and so the thought of being stuck on one just makes me feel claustrophobic and helpless. And of course, for people who have been stuck on elevators, their first reaction is to panic. Lastly, what about feeling stuck in a relationship? There is nothing worse than feeling powerless, and not realizing that you do have options. However, you have grown so used to dysfunction, that you don’t know what it is even like to exert boundaries, and explore these options.
Today’s topic, “The Stuck Aspect”, deals with a dissociated state of trauma. In this state you end up feeling helpless, trapped, and not sure of how to proceed, where to go, or when to go. We will explore two aspects of this state: the stuck inside and the stuck outside aspect.
STuck Outside Aspect
The Stuck Outside aspect of trauma is when you are dissociating, and having an experience where you are “outside” of yourself. This experience makes you feel like you are watching yourself as if you are watching a movie, but you are not part of the movie where all of you is integrated together.
I first experienced this when I was living at my last place of residence, and trauma was reigning, and in the forefront of my life. Basically, I was in survival mode. I hadn’t done much work in the area of healing because of being afraid to face my feelings, possible retraumatization, and fear. I had all of this going on coupled with the fact that I had just been released from working in a toxic environment for nine months. When it happened, I felt out of control, and I started feeding more into it, with the anxiety from trauma escalating.
It continued to occur when I moved to the residence that I am living at now. However, I realized how to manage the symptoms better. Instead of panicking more, I started to remind myself that I was fine, and of the status of my present surroundings and situation. This created a calm inside of my brain, and then it would pass.
Stuck Inside Aspect
The stuck inside aspect deals with you feeling like you are trapped inside of your body. People on the outside can see from your facial expression, or the lack thereof, that something is wrong, but they aren’t sure of how to handle it. You feel like your whole body has gone stiff as a board, and you can tell that your eyes are doing something weird. This might sound strange, but I have also noticed that since having trauma, eating certain foods can bring this on.
I was at a worship service with a friend right before Christmas a couple of years ago, and it happened right after I’d finishing eating. I could tell that she was trying to figure out what was going on, because I saw her staring into my eyes, trying to figure out if I was okay. Once again, I grounded myself in my location, and in the present moment, and I told myself that I would be fine, that it had happened before, and to just let it pass. It eventually passed. However, it had definitely caught me off guard.
Have you ever found yourself in the “Stuck Inside” or “Stuck Outside” Aspect of trauma. And if so, what did you do to calm yourself down? What was the reaction of others around you? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Other posts in this series: