I was shaking from head to toe. I couldn’t think. I was naked, in the shower with a nurses aid standing beside me. A black woman was touching me! I might as well have been a child with my mother in the shower, that’s why I was shaking. It didn’t matter that the CNA was there to help and it doesn’t matter that this happened several days ago. It’s still heavy on my mind, still makes me shake.

There are so many instances that trigger me that I have to throw away and not think about. I had no idea how much I’d be asked to face in such a short time, mostly concerning being touched by a black woman. A black woman removes my depends and washes me. She stands less than 2 feet away when using the restroom. She helps remove my pants, put on my shirt and anything else personal. Never did I think I could do this.

Because I was bedbound and feet wrapped in gauze, I was unable to get in the shower until recently. It never crossed my mind the amount of physical help I’d need to just to get in the shower at all. I coped the other times she had to touch me, but it didn’t cross my mind that I’d have to emotionally survive the shower, too.

I even emotionally manage having an African-American nurse give me a shot every evening. Despite needle torture from my mother, I have gotten ok in my head to let a black woman raise my shirt and give me a shot in the stomach.

I panicked. I totally panicked. Then the tears came. I was so embarrassed. Now I’m determined to manage the shower situation, too. I want to be able shower but there’s only one way that’s going to happen. I can’t have a black woman help. I’d do better with a black man, never a black woman because in my head she’s my abuser. I’m going to talk to the nurse about my trigger and hope they understand that I can’t work with a black woman in this instance. I will manage a helper. I should say, I’ve emotionally managed all helpers, but this time the trigger is too great. I will not force myself to cope like I have too many times.

Concerning the shot, each time she comes at me with the needle I think to myself, ‘Please, don’t hurt me.’ Sometimes the shot hurts but most of the time it doesn’t. It’s just that I’m lying in bed defenseless with a black woman approaching me with a needle. I feel small, helpless and angry. Eventually I’ll take over the shots. It’ll be my hand with a needle. When asked how long I’ll need the shot, the doctor said, ‘For the rest of your life.’

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4 thoughts on “Surviving Triggers

  1. Oh I am so very sorry. It all sounds so incredibly scary. You are so resourceful so to be honest and talk about possible changes that hopefully can be made. My heart goes out to you.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts on this total nightmare! I can’t believe how terribly I was shaking. Hopefully we can get some changes in place soon for the shower, until then I’ll wash in the sink.

  2. How terrifying to be forced to face so many triggers in such a short time. Hope and prayers that they can find someone less triggering for you and be understanding of this need.

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