Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bits and Pieces

There are so many things I can’t remember about the day Daphne and I were attacked and the days immediately following.   I used to have nightmares/flashbacks about it.   In the beginning the dream was always the same, centered mostly the events leading up to the attack, and then the cold clammy anxiety was enough to wake me.  Over time, I dreamed further and further into the nightmare, usually waking at the point where I truly thought I was going to die.   Even in my waking hours I could never remember past that point, except for bits and pieces.  And that was fine with me until my therapist convinced me that reconstructing the memories was the key overcoming them.   


A few years ago, as part of that therapy, I returned to that campus with my therapist and went back to the actual site.  It had changed significantly in the intervening years with much development encroaching on what was once a secluded woods.   Nonetheless it was intact enough for me to recognize it and it was an extremely difficult visit for me.   But it also jogged a lot of random memories that I haven’t put all back together yet.


A few weeks ago I found myself back on that campus because my daughter was playing an away game there.  And feeling stronger than ever, I walked over to that place during half time.  All by myself.  Core of iron.  And I sat on a small hill, the last thing I can remember of that day.   I sat in sadness.  Sadness for Daphne.  Sadness for everything that died in me that day.  And yet with a certain amount of pride and appreciation that I have healed enough to be sad without falling part.


Anyway, the purpose of this post is to document something more important to me.  As I sat on that hill I had a very clear picture of the woman who sat with me that day.  It was she who wrapped me in a blanket and allowed me to sob on her shoulder.  It was this woman who told me she would find out what was happening with Daphne when I was panicking, not knowing what was going on.  And it was this woman who helped me into an ambulance and stayed with me through at the hospital, something I am just beginning to have glimpses of.  It was this woman who showed me a human kindness at a time when my very being had been totally shattered.  She allowed me a shred of dignity, a recognition of the person I had been, which may have been the one shred that eventually allowed me to heal.  


If you read much about PTSD recovery (and I do)  there is much talk about having to create your new identity, as you will never be the same person after trauma as you were before.   And I think there is a mourning process you have to go through, grieving the loss of the person you once were.


And then I read this beautiful post by my blogging friend kj about her mother in a nursing home.  She writes “I find myself staring at most of the folks on this unit until I can see their younger selves through the lines of their faces.  They’ve had children, jobs, homes, spouses, gardens.   I’ve come to understand their confusion and resistance because where they are now is not their life.”    


This resonated so strongly with me.  As time goes on I am remembering more of the bits and pieces. I am not sure why it is so extremely important to me at this point, but it is.   Perhaps, like the elderly, I just want to remember my younger self, who I was before the trauma.   I don’t want to lose her forever.

And, it feels safe now for me to remember, which is bringing a new kind of confidence.    


18 comments:

  1. I understand this completely. "... I just want to remember my younger self, who I was before the trauma. I don’t want to lose her forever." And, I don't think you ever will lose her forever. You've held on to your essential self, the essence of your self, through all of it. You have. True, I didn't know the young 8, but I believe that she is still integrated into the current 8. And, part of that shows in how much you have grown and changed in the last few years. You have let go of more of the trauma self and allowed your true self to take more space.

    Core of iron. You've always had it.
    XOXOXOXOXO

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    1. Core of iron. I know only you would understand the reference : ) I didn't really believe it then, but I feel it now. And that is a powerful thing

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  2. I was so young when the abuse started I don't think I can remember who I was before that. I have felt some improvement now with trying EMRD therapy but I can't go consistently. Thanks for always staying in touch with me and giving me hope that it can get better.

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    1. I am so happy the therapy is giving you some relief! I have heard of many others who have benefited from it. Hang in there friend.

      (I will be emailing in a few days on the other issue)

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  3. 8, my comment got deleted :-( so for now I 'll just say I'm sure your younger self is very proud of who you are xo

    Love
    kj

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    1. Oh, I am so sorry your comment got deleted. I'm sure it was wise and wonderful!

      Even my today self is proud of who I am today. But that is not really the issue. It goes more to something you had said about the disorientation. It is difficult to explain, almost like that movie Sliding Doors, except that I am aware that my life took one door when it was suppose to take another. I love my life today, but it is still a strange, nagging sense that something changed that shouldn't have and that I lost something because of it.

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    2. i understand, 8. you've explained this so perfectly. the one thing is that you know something very deep and very unknown to most people. i know the price was unspeakably horrible but i imagine there is a gentleness from that experience that knows how to care. i'm not saying this well.

      in my own way, i wonder about my turns in life. if i hadn't _____ or if only i had ______, there are times when i am not content while also knowing i choose to stay here, not go there. i do that as much for another as i do for myself. but that place is not trauma. trauma is some else altogether. you have courageously chose to heal; to make decisions that heal, even when it hurts to do that.

      that woman. i hope i have or will be that woman in a quiet way for someone. such an honor.

      one of these days, 8 xo
      love
      kj

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    3. Rambling on as I continue to think about this. . . I think the difference between my Sliding Doors analogy, and what I am really experiencing is that Sliding Doors is more circumstance and one is never aware that a different scenario could have happened. It does not impact the person’s identity. I think with trauma, I experienced a violent shift in my soul. And I am very, very aware of it.

      Your statement “There is something very noble and very sad about living in old age in a place you don't know, with memories that don't always work, with a true north sense that this place may be okay, but it is not home.” That touched me in a very familiar but difficult to place. An aha moment. That sense that this place may be okay (in fact, it is very nice) but it is not home. Home being something in my lost identity. (I think)

      I am fascinated by similarities of what you’ve written about the elderly and what I experienced. It’s like a new window to understanding something that I can sense but seems always just beyond my grasp.

      (and I would bet you have been that woman to someone, sometime. The thing is, you never get to know : )

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  4. Time and healing have given you the strength and courage to be the person you are today... You should be proud!

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    1. Thank you. I am extremely grateful to have reached this point - with a lot of help.

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  5. I cannot begin to comprehend the strength and courage it has taken for you to complete this journey. I am heartened that there have been people along the way who have sustained you and shown you dignity and given you hope. It is my prayer that you find the wholeness you seek and the forgiveness you deserve.

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    1. Thank you, all prayers gratefully received.

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  6. So much good and strong and uplifting. Kudos to your journey. Kudos to those who stood with, fought alongside. Thank you for sharing, inspiring and motivating.

    One Love.

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    1. Thank you for being part of my journey.

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  7. I am just knocked over by the strength you've shown. To get as far as you have on your own steam is just...such an honor to watch.

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  8. Thank you but, of course, I haven't gotten this far on my own steam. I have had lots and lots and lots of help and support. So many angels (I am still discovering) who kept me afloat. It is humbling.

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  9. I don't know if you've written about what happened, since I'm fairly new here. But I'm impressed that you were able to go back and sit with your sorrow in that place. If you has a core of iron on that day, that means you have always had it. That resilience is key.

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