The Email that Stopped Me in My Tracks

An interesting thing happened to me a few weeks ago…

I was going about my days, as you do, and an email popped into my inbox from someone I didn’t know. I opened it. My blood went cold. My heart might have stopped beating for a few seconds. And what I know now (but didn’t at the time) is that my body went into a stake of shock, mimicking the symptoms of a concussion.

For the next 8 days I suffered from an excruciating migraine type headache. I blamed the weather, the new meds my doctor put me on, life stress, and my kids fighting.

I didn’t connect my ‘can’t function headache’ reaction to the email I got that day to the physical symptoms I was experiencing. I got a total of 8 emails that week from the same person, all re-triggering my shock, all contributing to my blinding headache and I was too obtuse to put two and two together.

I have done my work. I have wicked boundaries. I know my triggers and have pre-planned physical and mental responses prepared for each.  Or so I thought.

My boundaries were around the HCP’s in my life. I wasn’t prepared for the HCP that wasn’t in my life to sneak in out of nowhere, (seriously, nowhere), and poke my most deeply hidden and protected vulnerabilities. I wasn’t prepared for the HCP I didn’t know to have the power to shock me out of my comfort zone, so ferociously that my physical body manifested a migraine for 8 days. I wasn’t prepared for a stranger, a complete stranger, to put my brain and body into a state of shock and anxiety. This person got into my head and then spun around on a hamster wheel for 8 days.

I started obsessively checking my email.   I instinctively knew another email would be coming – it wasn’t IF, it was WHEN. And when the email would arrive, my brain would tell me ‘I told you so.’ Which just fuelled me to keep checking my email even more often.

Without even knowing it had happened, I gave a complete stranger absolute power over my thoughts, actions and physical body. I was checking my email constantly, looking over my shoulder when I was out to see if anyone was following me; my internal dialogue played out every worst-case scenario you could imagine and my head hurt like someone was drilling holes into the back of my skull 24/7.

Those few people I told about the situation told me to block the email so I wouldn’t keep getting triggered. But I couldn’t. It was difficult to put into words so that they would understand and it’s difficult today, trying to write why I couldn’t block the email from inbox.

It was as if my brain had convinced me that if I could read what was said in the email, I’d be able to control the outcome. Isn’t there a saying out there “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t?” I don’t think it was meant for a scenario like this, but my brain convinced me it was.

Which, if you’re reading this or have any experience with an HCP, you know that kind of thinking is INSANE but when you’re triggered and in terror – you aren’t sane. You are trying to survive a perceived threat.

In my case, every cell in my body was trying to protect me from the perceived threat I was getting in my inbox.

On day 7 I checked in with my acupuncturist to see if maybe something else was causing my headaches (that no drug could help alleviate, trust me, I tried many of them). And she was the brilliant soul who told me that I needed a treatment immediately, that my body was in shock and that my headache was a symptom of the shock. Miracle worker that she is, she removed the shock from my energetic system and I haven’t had a headache since.

In reflection, I think what bothers me most, isn’t that I let an HCP wreak havoc on my being, it was the mask I wore during those 8 days. If you had met me on the street during those days, you wouldn’t have known anything was wrong. If you weren’t someone I happened to go for a walk with and ended up downloading on, you never would have known I was suffering. I had a migraine and was in a state of shock and terror AND YET I went to my kids’ sporting activities, met up with friends, worked and carried on as if everything was normal.

Why did I let myself suffer in silence? Why did I wait so long to get help? What underlying trauma do I need to resolve so that a stranger can’t have that kind of power over me again? Why am I telling you this?

Because I want you to be gentler to yourself.

I want you to appreciate the stress you are under by co-parenting with someone who doesn’t like you, (ie: tries to manipulate and control you). I want you to take a moment and do a quick inventory of who you have become and do you like that person? I want you to recognize what physical symptoms your body is presenting with today that it didn’t present with years ago. I want you to ask yourself what hamster wheel message do you have in your head?

Once I removed the shock from my system, and my headache was gone, I was able to rationally take back control of my brain, my thoughts.

Am I still checking my email as often as I was when I was in shock? I’m definitely checking it more often than I was before this all went down, but I’m less afraid of what might be in my inbox than I was before. And my positive take away?

I used to live in that state permanently. I was 100% stationed in fright or flight, total shock, always armed and ready for the next attack. It took me a long time to shift out of it. Longer than I’d like to admit, actually.

But with this attack? It was only 8 days. Sure, it’s 8 days I’ll never get back… but I didn’t let myself sink into my old pattern for too long. Regardless of how many boundaries you have in place, you’re going to get triggered from time to time. What matters is how quickly you move out of the trigger, the shock, the terror.

And for gosh sake, if you end up with a migraine for a week and don’t know why? Learn from my experience, CHECK YOUR TRIGGERS!