Repressed Memories.. January 14, 2014

Good morning, Dear Readers!

The other day, I had a bizarre experience.  i was gathering some wood from the pile outside to bring inside for the fireplace.  Suddenly a breeze came up & moved the big plastic tarp- it looked for a second as if the tarp would cover me, then the breeze stopped, laying the tarp down.  During that fleeting moment the tarp was elevated, a blind terror enveloped me- I was too scared even to scream.  I came inside my house, & prayed about this.  It occurred to me that I get anxious when plastic is near my face, such as the shower curtain- I can’t tolerate it even touching me- & have been like this ever since I can remember.

This was all very unsettling to me.  I couldn’t understand what was wrong.  Then, God reminded me of repressed memories.  Repressed memories are created by trauma that is too much for someone to tolerate at the time it happens, & the mind pushes it into the dark recesses of the mind.  Many times, they resurface at a much later date, when you are safe & able to cope with the pain.  They can be triggered by a look, a scent, a phrase spoken, the feel of a certain texture or about anything.  

What happened with me, I believe, was a type of repressed memory- while I still don’t know why I feel the way I do, obviously something has happened to me in my very early life to trigger such a drastic response, as well as creating the very odd anxiety I have always had about plastic near my face.  I think I have a basic idea of what happened to me to create this repressed memory, but I’m unsure.  

I’ve had many repressed memories come back to the forefront of my mind over the years- although admittedly none quite like this- & have learned a thing or two about them.  I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you today.

First, if you have a repressed memory come back to the forefront of your mind, don’t panic.  You aren’t crazy, you aren’t making this up or looking for attention.  Something very traumatic happened to you, & your mind wasn’t able to cope with it at the time.  You have become able to handle it now.  That is a good thing- it shows you are getting stronger!

Second, be gentle & understanding with yourself.  If something was so traumatic your mind hid it from you for a long time, then the event will be hard to handle.  Be patient with yourself- realize that sometimes you’ll be angry & be sarcastic with your children or cry when your husband asks what’s for dinner.  It’s frustrating to be that way, but it does happen when coping with trauma!  Apologize when necessary, but don’t beat yourself up about it.

Third, remember, what happened to you was not your fault!  Keep the blame where it belongs- on your abuser!

Fourth, don’t push yourself to remember!  Allow the details to return on their own.  I know many people believe in using hypnosis or other things that can bring repressed memories back, but I am not one of them.  If the memory isn’t coming up on its own, it’s because you are unable to handle it just yet.  Let it return in its own time, otherwise you can do more damage to your mind.

Lastly, pray!!  God will help you to get through this.  He will show you how to cope, & to help you forgive your abuser so you don’t go through life angry or bitter.  Besides, you need to get the negative emotions out of you anyway- who better to help you do this than your Heavenly Father?  Sometimes there are times you will feel unable to talk about it, & that is ok too.  Keep a diary, or write letters to your abuser (but never send them!), scream or beat up a pillow.  God sees these things too, & understands your pain.  

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

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