Staying present is harder than it looks

Flashbacks have been hurtling me into the past, into this odd blended world where past blends and merges with present in completely confusing ways.

Seeing my sick dog lying there, I suddenly was 8 years old and seeing the dog AF poisoned. The image superimposed, so childhood dog is on top of my real dog like a transparent photoshop layer that at moments is opaque and seems oh so real.

In those moments, I relive the trauma as it happened. Not just like watching a movie, as that would be only sight and sound. This is the entire experience, all of the smells, thoughts, fears, sadness, helplessness. I hear AF laughing, his cruel voice saying the stupid beast got what it deserved. I feel it in my skin and bones. It takes every ounce of energy to remind myself I am an adult, not a child, that I am safe, that this is a different dog, and no one poisoned him, he is sick.

I go through grounding exercises. I look at my hands and breathe and count. I look in the mirror. I tell myself AF is not here, he is gone. I am safe. I can help this dog. I don’t have to watch it die. He can’t make me watch it die. No one will laugh. I can go to the vet. I am in charge. I am okay.

I slip in and out of reality several times as I see my dog struggle. I have not slipped like this since the day I revisited the building of my childhood back surgeon.

Some triggers are just too strong. Some events were just too horrible.

Hubby says maybe I can finally grieve for that dog now, combining with current grief maybe. That I can say goodbye to her also when we have our little funeral. I don’t know if it will help, but I think it is worth a try to get some closure on that.

I don’t have any pictures of that childhood dog, but I started googling and I think she was part border terrier. She was really ugly! All straggly hair, mostly black, some white. But she was awesome, a good friend, and a good frisbee player. She would fetch anything and was always outside with me.

**Next part is graphic, stop reading if you don’t want to know**

It took her three days to die and none of us were allowed to help or comfort her. She climbed onto my brothers bed and stayed there, filling it with blood, as it seemed to leak out of her everywhere. The blood dripped off in a little stream at one point, dripping onto the floor. Her tongue hung out as she gasped for air. Her eyes were gummy and staring at nothing. Once in a while she would convulse, kicking her legs wildly, then nothing but gasping again. We were not allowed to hold her head or give her water. All I could do was stand in the doorway and watch, helpless, as my friend died in the most horrible way and AF laughed.

There were other animals he hurt too, but this was the worst and most difficult to erase from my mind. I don’t know how to put something that devastating into perspective. I can’t help that dog or that little girl and I can’t explain why it happened. So my brain keeps it active, in case one day I may figure it out?

So I am hoping that grief is the answer. There is no why. He was cruel, that is it. There was nothing I could have done. I need to grieve for the loss of the dog and the pain of the little girl. I’ll see if I can, and if it works. Because this is one flashback I would really like to stop seeing, please.

7 thoughts on “Staying present is harder than it looks

  1. I’m so sorry! I totally understand what it’s like to live with flashbacks. Of all my symptoms, those frustrate me the most. They are frustrating, exhausting and leave residues of emotion. Take good care today!

  2. AF gave away his humanity for evil. No excuses.

    May you be blessed with the grace to mourn, to know both dogs are pain free now and waiting for you because they know the truth.

  3. Grief is only a part of the answer. The other part is letting go of trying to find the answer for why that S.O.B. did the things he did. You will never fully know and you truly shouldn’t try to put yourself in his sick, cruel and twisted mind. He was a S.O.B. leave it at that. He isn’t here to hurt you anymore.

    I am so sorry he did what he did, to you, to your sweet friend. Grieve, for both of your friends. Put both to rest. Grieve also for the sweet and helpless little girl.

    • I have really been thinking about this and you may be right. Part of my restless mind is my confusion, continually searching for answers to explain what happened. Maybe I should stop, and not put myself in his sick mind any more. Just accept he was sick. I’ll try.

  4. Hugs. Huge triggers are just that huge. This one is huge. I had a big one like this. I was body slammed by the memory to where I couldn’t walk. Took me a week to talk about it. Finally wrote about it and cried and cried. Now, I still remember but the intense pain has subsided. Now I feel sad but not overwhelmed. It took me a long time to process this through. You have great insight to realize you AF’s behavior was his cruelty and not about you. I suggest taking extra time to self care and rest.

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