Friday, January 29, 2010

The Weirdness of Minor Emotional Trauma

I'm in a position I've never been in before, and it's pretty strange for me.

Because the blog entries are individually searchable some redundant information first:

I attended an avalanche class where to get to certain places I needed to ski on terrain that was beyond my skiing ability.
I was basically in the position of having to either snowplow or side-slip down to where I needed to be and I also had to traverse some very steep terrain that would have been no problem if I was on foot or on snowshoes, but with skis one made it completely different and the snow was too deep to just take the skis off and go on foot (I tried). I was sometimes in tears from the anxiety and frustration, but I never feared for my life and only a little for my safety. The situation was intensely anxiety producing, but on paper wasn't that bad in the grand scheme of possibilities.

But now days later I still have these odd things happening to me. I'll have these moments where I have to just go cry for a few minutes, and not just weeping, but serious crying jags. I have trouble sleeping sometimes and I rarely have sleep issues. Last night a bad dream (a man who I don't know came at me with intent to do harm) woke me up suddenly and keep me up for a couple of hours.

Bodies are funny. I recognize that my body is healing from what it considers an emotional trauma, what's weird is I've never been in this position from something as minor as getting dragged into something that I would not of chosen under normal circumstances. I have experience with emotional trauma, but more in the realm of real trauma (depression, breakups, sickness, death: the more usual kind of emotional trauma that takes months/years to really heal from), but this is different as I never could have anticipated it. For one I usually don't let other people push me into situations that are over my head. I push myself, but I, of course, respect my own limits. I have been in groups where the skill level was beyond me, but I always had the option to drop out. I've never been in the military or other groups where you have to keep up. This situation has made me swear off groups/tours if the potential for this exists.

What's also strange is how it manifests. After seeing how well snowboards could cope with the steep terrain and knowing that the reputation of snowboarding is that it's initially difficult, but you can get good at it in a much shorter time period, I've decided to take the step of starting learn it. This gives me no anxiety. I think because starting to learn snowboarding means spending a day or more on the bunny slope and right at this moment I'm all for bunny slopes.

There's also another very positive experience about this whole thing. The trip was there and back in two different chainsor 4wd only storms. While I do have 4wd envy I was very pleased with how the car did in the storm and how well I fared putting on the chains twice. I did it one with tighteners and once without and I didn't notice a difference. The manuf. says don't use them and everyone else says do. I split the difference.

The cool think about traveling in a storm on 80 is that at least going back the speed limit is 30mph and there were no accidents. I like it. Very slow going but not that stressful.

And I have finally pulled it together to make the beacon location entry.


Elf said...

I wonder how much of this is also the subject matter of the course. Avalanches, saving people's lives, that's heavy-duty stuff. Could you be subconsciously feeling like your inexperience with the skis leads to inability to make rescues? Or to save yourself from an avalanche?

Ellen said...

I don't think I made that connection as I wouldn't be on skis like this in such a situation.