Life on Pause: Searching for memories and the disassociation war.

PAUSE  and my war with PTSD. 

The other day, I got an offer from Shutterfly where I could save $20 -some Christmas in July thing…Well that prompted me to look through some really old photos – really old… Photos from over 10 years ago – when my daughter was just a toddler (she’s close to 16 now)… I’ve had some trouble with remembering certain years and I thought that might prompt some of those missing memories….

While I kind of remember some moments, I still find myself disassociating from them – and it is quite disturbing still. To understand what my mind is doing bothers me. My counselor tells me it is all part of this PTSD that I am experiencing… I see the photos – I see myself in them, but it is like it was somebody else. To me, it feels like another life – It all sounds like crazy talk, and I have expressed this to my counselor, yet she tells me it is completely normal.

When you see a photo that you can’t associate with your life – it is a really odd feeling. Somewhere in time, it is like I literally stepped out… I just don’t know when … and all I know, is that almost two years ago, I woke up. That moment, when I was pushed up against a wall and his saliva shot into my face, it was like my eyes were opened for the first time in years and each day ever since then, they continue to open even more…

Dreams that I had so many decades ago have come back…. Interests that I had closed off, have reawakened… I have even begun to feel more free to explore my spirituality – something that was kept in the dark for so long….

Somehow, for years, I was asleep. Closed off.. and why? -to protect myself?

So I looked through the old photos. Slowly, I could see myself aging inside…. I saw myself in my younger 20’s, and I still could see a light within my eyes…but as the years progressed, it was like that light died… I was growing old right before my eyes… But – the moment that light turned off, I think that is when my mind or memory went to “sleep.”

I am greatful that my mind is allowing me to process all of this with my eyes wide open – without growing crazy…. I am aware that memories are missing – But I think the bad moments that I experienced somehow overshadowed other regular everyday memories. After  awhile, there were just so many moments that broke my heart, that there wasn’t enough room for good things anymore…

Seven years ago, I know there is another terrible tragedy that overshadowed  an entire year. In 2009, I lost my grandmother – my best friend. I remember her being ill, in the hospital and the last day I saw her before she passed away. I remember crying by her casket all alone… holding her hand. I sat there for an hour, tears streaming down my face with nobody to hold me… It was among one of my darkest hours.  My spouse at the time did not comfort me…. he did not come into the funeral home with me. The time when I needed someone, I was all alone. Deep down inside, I secretly prayed grandma would wake up and tell me everything would be okay. That moment in my life, allowed me to believe, I would be alone in my pain…. Aside from grandma’s illness and death , that is all I remember in 2009….

One evening, I began creating a timeline in my mind of events that I remembered in my life….Hoping that could lead to those lost memories. But something stopped me and I found myself frozen. My mind literally stopped – it was like I reached a road block.

To me, I feel like I am at war with my mind … on a mission to find those hidden memories. My counselor asked me why I wanted to remember – I told her it was my life – and I want to remember my life…. She said that our brain sometimes shut out bad memories in order to protect us. – But one thing in life – I do not like forgetting things – and if something happened – I want to know. To me, it is like life is keeping a secret from me….

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