Negative experiences happen, but we do not have to let them move in and hold as much of our life space hostage, as they tend to often times do.
We experience a myriad of both positive and unpleasant moments each and every day of our lives. Due to the way our minds work, we are naturally inclined to squirrel away, cling to, continuously drudge up and often carry around some of the unpleasant moments in a somewhat protective space, as if our lives depended on their existence. As if these unpleasant moments make up so much of who we are, we cannot bear to part with them. Since we scientifically know this inclination to be true about the human race, and knowledge is power, how do we work to overcome these natural tendencies to live in a negative space?
PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation(s). I would be more worried if I didn’t have it! Then, I would just be a sociopath.
Why would my brain want to dig up something so tragic and force me to relive it, as though it were happening again in the present moment? I put a lot of energy and effort into shoving the memory as far down as I could. If my mind were a big house, with many rooms and hallways, I wandered down to the deepest depths of the basement. I found the darkest hallway, with the darkest corner to bag the memory up and leave it in. I wanted to keep it from ever surfacing and hurting me again. Out of sight, out of mind, right? So what was the purpose of digging it up and reliving it? Why would anyone purposefully do that?
Well after much thought, this is my opinion. We humans are natural problem solvers, we do it from the day we are born. We think, therefore we are human.
Our brain has a natural tendency to solve and resolve whatever is happening in our lives. If it is particularly difficult, we will chew on it over and over in an attempt to grind it up small enough, so we can “swallow it and move on.” Sometimes we put an immense amount of effort into this process, whether we want to or not. You know how it goes. Why can’t I stop thinking about this! Ughh….!!!
I left my therapist’s office and as soon as I hit the hallway, where she could not see me, tears began to flow. Head tucked down in embarrassment, I strode quickly to the parking lot. I wished to be invisible. Fumbling with my keys, I unlocked the doors and jumped inside. “Safe” inside my car, I began to sob uncontrollably. I sobbed for two hours. The kind of cry which makes your eyes swell, your face red and makes you feel like you cannot breathe. I could not drive and all I wanted to do was go home. I reached out to my husband, who thankfully came to my rescue, physically at least.
The hurt and pain of the memory swelled up inside of me. I felt as though at times, I could not possibly contain it and I did not want to share it ever again! Hurt cascaded into anger, then anger into shame. I was ashamed of myself. I must be honest and admit to you things got much worse before they ever started to get better.
You see, inside I am a gentle soul. I am pro-life. What I mean, is inside and out, I have a huge respect and zest for life. For me, death and the idea of dying, has always been in my view……the greatest tragedy of living. I have a hard time killing anything…..except spiders. My fear of the spider is great. 🙂