I am having a difficult time writing, which is unusual for me. I have been completely exhausted from processing the memories I blogged about last week. I have ideas in my head of what I want to talk about, but I just shut down when I get in front of the computer. I am hoping that I can get through this topic since it is not directly related to what I am currently processing.
I wish we could remove all platitudes from the English language. You know what I am talking about – “Just give it all to G-d/higher power,” “Just let it go,” etc. Really!?!! If it really were that simple, don’t you think I would have done that already? (The blog entry was inspired by offline conversations, not anything that anyone wrote online.)
I have been active in my church and faith for many years and have led a bunch of different Bible studies. I know how to pray, etc. The problem is not a lack of knowledge, belief, or commitment.
People don’t say this crap to those who are suffering physically – at least, I hope they don’t! You don’t tell someone who is battling cancer, “Just give it all to G-d/higher power” or “Just let it go.” People recognize that, to beat cancer, you have fight it with chemotherapy, and it’s going to be a battle.
I truly believe that trauma is an emotional cancer that takes the same level of energy to fight, only the battle is in the mind instead of the body. I wish there was a shortcut to processing heinous memories, but there aren’t any. Believe me, if I could pray this stuff away, that would have happened a long time ago.
My guess is that people fall back on platitudes because they don’t know what to say. The thing is, I don’t think it’s that hard to know what to say. When someone shares a heinous memory with me, I know that I don’t have the power to fix it for him or her, so I don’t even try to come with the “right” words to make it all go away. I know that my job is to offer support, not fix the issue.
Platitudes make it sound like I am doing something wrong, which is the last thing I need when every ounce of my energy is going into processing a memory. I think most people cannot handle deep pain and emotion, and they don’t want to think that they could have to face that kind of pain. So, they distance themselves through platitudes – If you just do X, Y, and Z, then you won’t suffer anymore. That is complete BS!
I think Michael is the one who said something about processing memories from the subconscious to the conscious mind. I don’t know if there is a physical component as well as an emotional component. All I know is that I must process my memories to move past them, and that process is exhausting. I cannot sidestep the process through platitudes.
Photo credit: Hekatekris