I was on a call with a client this morning when the conversation unexpectedly turned to a car wreck that my client’s nephew had been in a few years ago.
As a survivor of a car wreck myself, and someone who now experiences PTSD because of it, you can imagine that this is exactly the kind of conversation I try to avoid.
My client was talking really fast describing his nephew’s experience though, and I was a bit frozen trying to mentally grapple with how I felt about this conversation and what the potential consequences of it were for me. Would I be triggered? Would I shut down? Would I not be able to get out of bed for 2-3 days? Would I verbally freak out? Could I get out of the conversation without relating my own experience? Could I just hang up?
I did the unthinkable. Not only did I listen to the car wreck story, I told my own, answered questions about the details, and stayed with the conversation to the end. I didn’t get triggered, didn’t freak out, and while I feel a bit off at the moment (a few hours later), none of what I thought could happen did happen.
I owned my trauma story, and it didn’t take me down.