It was interesting that I also paid careful attention in those posts to say that the skills do not always work. Not working probably means many things to each of us at different times. For me, I am very specific. For me, it means that I have not been safe; that I have self-harmed. That is the case today.
I have to tell myself that it does not mean all that work I do means nothing. I have to tell myself that the skills really do help and it is expected that there will be setbacks. I have to tell myself that I will recover from today. I have to tell myself that I need to keep faith in myself that I will keep healing.
I will pick myself up and try again. I will try to be more aware. I will try to do more of what I know helps.
But this is not an easy time period for me. And I know for many others it is difficult too. In the US, Halloween is a major holiday. Well over a month ago, decorations were in the stores. We are surrounded by images and sounds. Images that never "seemed" to bother me in the past, now send me over the edge and reverberate all throughout my system. For the past several years, Halloween has been very hard.
It has always been a time of extreme activation of certain aspects of me; the parts who deal with issues of living and dying, good and evil, and other scary things. And, each year, very specific scary memories always rush to the surface. They are always exactly the same down to the last detail. My reactions seem off scale, but comparable to those I experience around Easter.
As I have healed, I have become aware of this unrest inside during this time. I have realized how sensitive I have become. How easily triggered I am. So, navigating through these weeks around Halloween is not ever easy.
I cannot even ride it out in peace because my wife has a huge Halloween party every year for all the neighbors and kids. It does not at all make sense to me. For several years, I have huddled in my bedroom, medicating myself to get through. I do not want to do that this year. I thought I could be involved in the party and have it be okay. I had a sense that things were going to be okay this year.
11/2 Update: I just noticed that on Halloween, Dr. Kathleen Young put up an excellent article on the subject as it relates to child abuse survivors. It's worth taking a look at. See: Trauma Survivors and Halloween.