Triggered

August 15, 2017

 

Last night, I almost spiraled down. I was triggered, for the nth time, by no other than Z. 

 

I was on the train on my way to meet my fiance for the night, scrolling down through my Facebook feed. I saw a photo uploaded by a friend, and Z was in it. Then, I felt the all-too-familiar symptoms of an impending panic attack: heavy pounding on my chest, feeling weak on my knees, and feeling light-headed. Good thing I was seated. 

 

Then, as if to fire a flare gun into the sky, I posted a status on Facebook. It was my distress call. My SOS. My status read: "You are not spiraling down. You are not spiraling down. Repeat to self 100 times." 

 

After a few minutes, I managed to calm down. The rest of my commute went by smoothly. But when I got off the LRT, I became restless again. "What if I bump into her?" I thought. I got scared. 

 

And as if fate was taunting me, I saw her. I almost bumped into her, but she didn't see me. She was with her friends. In one second, I managed to scan the faces of the people she was with, thinking that maybe I know one of them. I didn't. They were chatting merrily, and Z walked past me without seeing me. Nevertheless, I got triggered again. 

 

I instinctively took my phone out of my bag and texted Pam. I told her what happened. Seconds later, she replied and assured me that no, this wouldn't make me spiral. A few seconds later, Therese, another friend of mine texted me. She read my SOS post on Facebook and she asked me what was wrong. 

 

In the next hour or so, Pam and I chatted on Facebook messenger to talk about this whole I-almost-bumped-into-Z incident. Until this morning, we were still talking about it. 

 

I am wondering why on earth does she still have that kind of power over me. PM and I are getting married, and she's already irrelevant, so why on earth am I still triggered? 

 

I told Pam that Z now looks slimmer and prettier, and I cannot accept it. Even if I don't want to admit it, a part of me still competes with her. A part of me still thinks that somehow, someone out there might compare the two of us that's why I always end up comparing myself with her. 

 

I have been told countless times that there is no reason for that comparison, but I can't help it. I still feel that even if she and PM are already over for a long, long time, there's this circle that both of them belong to that I can never be part of. They're both doctors. They belong to the same fraternity and sorority. They're brods and sisses. And here I am. Yes, I am PM's fiancee, but I feel like an outsider with her around. 

 

This is why I try so hard to be "better" than her. I want to be prettier. I want to be slimmer. I want to be nicer, kinder, sweeter. I want to be the better singer between the two of us. She is smart--probably way smarter than I am--that is why I want to be better than her in other aspects even if no one is telling me be so. 

 

I have written about this insecurity of mine countless times on my previous blog. This issue has been bothering since the start of our relationship, when I learned from PM who she is. Again, PM and I are getting married, so this should no longer be an issue. I hope this would stop soon so I could finally have peace of mind. 

 

But the good thing about last night's incident was the fact that even though I almost spiraled down, I didn't. Just a bit, maybe, but I didn't fall into that deep, dark hole. I didn't have thoughts of hurting myself. I didn't reach for a razor or a pair of scissors and cut myself. I didn't attempt to overdose on meds. All these things that I didn't do, I count as an achievement. 

 

My triggers won't go away. They will always be there. I avoid them most of the time. But sometimes, I would have to face them, both literally (like last night) and figuratively. If I bump into her again, I hope I will no longer be scared. We're not in a competition. No one is going to win or lose. 

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