I am not going to lie to you—the last few weeks have been very hard for me emotionally. I have been dealing with flashbacks (true “flashes” without a linear explanation) and a flood of related emotions (mostly terror). I alternate between wanting to invite them out so I can heal and wanting to drug myself at night so I can get some d@#$ sleep. I wrestle with feeling despair at still being in a place of having to deal with more memories.
However, I also see, even in this place of struggle, what a difference that I am making in the lives of others through this blog and recognize that, without my struggles, I actually wouldn’t be of that much help to all of you. If healing was really easy for me, how could I be of help to you? It is my ability to show you that I have been in the trenches, too, and (unfortunately) continue to cycle around through the trenches that offers hope.
I am human, though, and like any human, I don’t enjoy being in pain. It’s not that I am afraid of the healing process … I am p@$$ed off that there is still more to process. I don’t think it has anything to do with not “working hard enough” before – I simply suffered from that much trauma. While healing in some areas does spill over to other areas, I still have areas of trauma that I need to address. I try to remember that this is just another part of the ebb and flow of the healing process, but I confess that I am not always very graceful about it.
I continue to struggle with the release of “flashes” of memories, such as the flash of a white pickup truck, a very detailed memory of the dirt, and seeing the boxes and skeletons used to frighten children who did not know that they weren’t real human skeletons. I experience the terrors of the child who didn’t want to be thrown in a box with a “dead person,” all the while understanding from the adult perspective that the child was purposely manipulated to fear something that was not even true. My head feels like the “bubble within a bubble” you sometimes see when children are blowing bubbles as I reconcile the child’s memories and terror with the adult’s understanding of what really happened. I have to find a way to reassure the terrified child inside without invalidating her experience.
I am also wrestling with body memories, such as last night when I “couldn’t see,” smelled the overpowering scent of chalk (like the smell of chalk when you bang two erasers together), and “couldn’t breathe” due to being enclosed without fresh air. Again, I had allow my body to release the body memories while, at the same time, allowing myself to breath in deeply both to calm the terror and to keep myself breathing. I struggle with the dichotomy between the memories being released and my reality of being an adult today who is safe.
Photo credit: Hekatekris