Through a grey mist

When a person has lived through trauma, their view of the world becomes clouded. It affects everything; relationships, work, social. It skews perception and magnifies perceived threat, often creating threat where there is none. It does the opposite of rose tinted glasses, trauma survivors see the world through a damp, grey mist.

It affects their trust of others, and judgement of situations.

It makes them vigilant, always assessing for danger, their fight or flight response primed and ready.

They misconstrue the intentions of others, disbelieving in random kindness.

Their anxiety response can be triggered by things that give a reminder of the trauma, something they see, hear, smell, travelling along a particular road, a song, the weather, a person.

They try to avoid known triggers and situations that have the potential to be triggering.

They retreat into a bubble of safety, the world shrinking to a manageable size.

They crave peace and calm, and hate conflict.

They want to control things to keep themselves safe and don’t trust that anyone else can do it.

They blame themselves for what happened, thinking that they should have been able to change things.

They feel responsible for everything that has ever gone wrong in their lives.

They set themselves impossibly high standards and goals.

They need to achieve these standards and goals to feel successful and competent, as deep down they believe they are a failure.

I could go on… living through trauma of any origin or duration can have a long lasting impact on an individual and while there’s a much better understanding of trauma and PTSD now than there was historically, there remains difficulty in accessing the right psychological support. Instead having an overly heavy reliance on medication to manage the symptoms.

There’s no real point to this post, there’s no story with a blue sky happy ending. I just felt like sharing, and raising awareness, and trying to understand myself a little better.

Much love,
Karen xx

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Hi, I'm Karen, creator of which is home to my poetry, art and general ramblings. I am the author two collections of poetry, 'Kaleidoscopic Beauty' & 'I am the Stars in the Sky', and the children's book 'All That Glitters' (not yet published). I also enjoy running.

15 thoughts on “Through a grey mist

  1. I looked up PTSD and realised I had very little understanding of all the implications and I just related it to stress. Thankfully I do not have these unwelcome symptoms , more due to luck than judgement. Thinking again it is true that some of our irrational fears are impossible to overcome , the most well known being a fear of spiders. My wife refuses sleep in the bedroom if it contains a daddy- long- legs and keeps windows shut on hot summer nights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that fear, ugh spiders. I have addressed my spider phobia and am OK with really small ones, or skinny legged ones. And I allowed a tarantula to crawl onto my hands, but I wouldn’t look at it until it was on them.


    2. If you haven’t already, take the time to look at my two related posts on resilience (tomorrow is a new day & part 2), I write more about PTSD.
      Thank you x 🙂


  2. When we are young our security is our parents , they are our world , without them we would be lossed. Do you remember that first day a school when Mum walked away , when she deserted you , left you alone ? Later when you had to leave your precious infant school to go to the juniors where clumsy strong big children ran in the playground . It seems so long ago for me now at 76 but the memory is etched on my mind. Life is a process of ceaseless change and for some this is so disturbing they cannot face it .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree, life is constantly changing and we have to adapt to get through difficult and unplanned events. Humans are on the whole a resilient bunch! Although generally they like life to follow their plans.

      In this post I’m specifically talking about trauma (that leads to PTSD), where the brain is in such a state of constant fear that the event doesn’t get processed in the normal way as it remains within the brain as a current threat even decades later. The individual may not even have a conscious memory of the event, but becomes distressed when something triggers an emotional memory.

      An example (not from my life)… a young child is woken by the sound of doors slamming when dad comes home drunk and he is then abusive (yelling, throwing things, maybe physical violence) to anyone in the house. If this occurs regularly the child’s brain will associate doors slamming with a real and genuine threat. The child may not remember anything of the events, but his emotions and reactions (those of extreme fear) are triggered whenever they hear a noise like a door slamming. This fear response is out of their control as it is caused by the event not having been processed correctly at the time.
      I will write more on PTSD over time. Since being diagnosed with it, alongside depression, so much of my life makes a lot more sense. And it is a fascinating area of mental health.

      Thank you for reading and commenting,
      Karen 🙂


  3. I’m so, so glad you shared this post. It made me feel more “normal”. It made me realize that all of these things are the things I feel like my last therapist forgot when she pulled away and I anxiously tried to get what the therapy was back. Once met with coldness and rigidity, I realized she wasn’t seeing me as a traumatized client. She was seeing me as someone who “should be” healthy enough to understand and accept her change in boundaries. I felt toxic because I couldn’t just do that. This reminds me that how I responded was a trauma response.

    Liked by 1 person

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