Four weekends per month (sometimes five); twelve months per year for six years (continuously). This is what gets repeated in my mind when I ask the question: how many more new memories can possibly resurface? When I look at the all the memories of my abuse that have showed up so far, it makes me crazy to think of how much more I have buried in the deep corners of my mind. I wish I could write in my blog more than I am currently but with each entry, I risk triggering myself. I risk triggering new memories of my grandfather’s bad behavior. Nothing can be more devastating than recalling a memory that renders you in a state of disbelief.
For those of you who are lucky enough to never experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, let me share with you how these memories work. First of all calling it “memory” is probably misleading because there is “memory” which is recalling an incident of the past while having some control over what you are recalling. Memories can be recalled at will or stopped at will. However, the memories that I am speaking of is better known as “flashbacks”. Flashbacks are very different because once the memory pops up (especially new ones), there is no controlling them. These flashbacks do just that – they take you back. It is as if you have travelled through time back to the past and you re-live the moment as if it were happening today. You hear the sounds, you smell the smells and the worst of it is feeling the disgusting horrible feelings all over again. Each time this happens, it takes a day or two for the numbness and anger to disappear and hopefully, I don’t have another one for a few days but this is rear.
I consider myself to be quite brilliant and nothing more perplexes my mind than the mind itself. It never ceases to amaze me how I was able to block out so many horrible memories. It amazes me even more that when the flashbacks come, it comes without warning. A screen pops up in front of me and everything around me goes black and silent; everything except the scene that is about to rip me open like a five-year old with a Christmas present. The flashback “pulls me in” to the moment and I re-live this over and over again. Once the flashback is over, it takes time for me to get over the shock of what I just recalled. Then I freak out over the fact that “I forgot that” and I ask myself ” how did I forget that? How could I have possibly buried something like that”? After that question comes the realization that I do remember; I remember the smells; the sounds and yes, even how it felt as if it were currently happening. Nothing could have prepared me for this method of recollection. I use to think Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was a poor excuse not to let go of bad events; I thought “that only happens to those who love being a victim”, but now I take it all back. Ignorance is bliss. How much I wish I were still ignorant because this is far from bliss. I am a bit of a control freak…okay I am more than a bit of a control freak and I pride myself on having control of my life and myself. Yet, this seems to be the one thing I cannot control. I cannot stop the flashbacks nor can I bring one on consciously. I have to be triggered but at times I don’t know what the trigger is until long after of course. My triggers are everyday things like washing dishes (he would hug me from behind and put his hand down my shirt); taking a shower brings on the numbness feeling if the water hits my nipples because my breasts were his “go to place” when I was eight; I am triggered by the smell of urine because….I’ll save you the disgusting details on this one. I have two boys and they were taught not to miss the toilet and they usually don’t, but when they did…flashbacks.
The most disturbing aspect of this is that I have accepted that this event may continue for the rest of my life. I can say this because my mind constantly reminds me…four weekends per month…twelve months per year for six years. This is an indication of how many more memories may resurface from the corner grave of my mind. My only hope is that with my trauma therapy, I will learn how to avoid feeling like I’m being ripped open. I now know that I cannot fool myself into healing because I did that once before. I thought I was “over it”; I thought I was “good” and after giving birth to my daughter ten years after having my second son, the joke was on me. It was as if my mind said “I have protected you enough but if you are going to protect your daughter in a healthy way, you must deal with this.”
Nothing could have prepared me for this…nothing. Four weekends per month…twelve months per year for six years; THIS MY FRIENDS, IS MY REALITY.