Today I had a PTSD flashback. It was the worst PTSD flashback probably since the instance in the hotel lobby.
I smelled cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s Christmas time, so someone was probably feeling particularly festive. Or maybe the cafe downstairs was making a lot of things involving cinnamon and nutmeg. I love cinnamon and nutmeg, I love the smell, I love how festive it feels.
It’s also the smell of chai lattes, as a colleague commented. And that was the trigger.
My gut dropped and I went numb, my mind had a few seconds of racing then just disconnected. I kept my breathing even and my face blank – I was at work, no one could know what was going on (this is part of my self preservation mechanism). I messaged a friend to get it out and then kept on working while everything inside of me screamed.
Fortunately an urgent piece of work came up which allowed me to scoot my wheely chair across the room and then back to my desk, and with (very forced) cheerfulness, I continued with my day.
I’m still shaken. All through the rest of the afternoon I was shaken and very very carefully maintaining my facade of general competence and cheeriness. I probably will be for a while. I had a few things to do this evening and I made the executive decision to ask someone else to cover me (as I cover for her when she needs it) so now I can spend some time properly relaxing.
When a big shock like this happens, it’s very important to implement greater than normal self care measures. So that’s what I’m doing.