A New Memory

Another new memory. Well, maybe more like a new connection.

The memory itself I feel like I have remembered before, my money says in flashback form, but the actual connection and perspective of the memory – yeah, that was new.

I have no idea what triggered it; it just hijacked me while I was driving over the weekend. In this memory I am playing with my cousins; as I watch it play out in my mind, all I see is my young mind and body imitating what I had already learned; things a child my age should never know.

Why didn’t the adults who caught us do something about it? Why weren’t more questions asked?

I can see my grandparent’s house, the home before my grandma died and my grandpa moved. This is how I realized my age. I was so young, I am amazed I have such a vivid image of the memory.

My adult heart is broken for the little girl I used to be, but my soul – the little girl inside who never fully bloomed – she feels the pain and torment of this memory so intensely I fear my coping skills aren’t working.

When I realize how young I was …

How innocent I was …

And what I lost …

I’ve diffused essential oils, listened to music, looked at happy pictures, watched my favorite shows, cleaned, and cried – none of it has eased this heaviness.

The anxiety, insomnia, and the nightmares when I do finally sleep …

I have suffered enough; I lived an entire childhood of shame, fear, and isolation – it’s past me now, I survived it – how come it can still devastate me as easily now as it did then?!

Is this resilience; living with copious amounts of residual pain and grief due to the heinous acts of a family pedophile? Is this what my life will be like now that I am no longer protected by my concrete wall of disassociation?

Sorry friends, I have no amazing words of advice to end this post with, no sunshine or words of encouragement. Welcome to my mind; welcome to the chaos of a sexual abuse survivor as I try to deal with new memories, and the pain they bring with them.

This is real life recovery from childhood sexual abuse.

I cannot wait until the day I can take on a flashback without it taking me out first.


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12 thoughts on “A New Memory

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  1. I applaud you for your ability to share what happened here on your blog. I don’t really have any words of comfort or answer that will make the flashbacks go away in the short-term. Other than to say you’re headed in the right direction and are amazingly strong for having survived and gotten where you are today (even though I know most times it doesn’t feel that way). Not sure if you’re familiar with Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk? He wrote “The Body Keeps The Score”. I’d recommend checking into that as well as The Courage To Heal Workbook. I’d also put in a plug for a local therapist trained in EMDR. Hang in there! 😃

    1. It took me a couple days to get my thoughts together enough to write this post.

      My public diary. My connection to other survivors.

      I actually have the book “The Body Keeps the Score” but I have only spot read parts here and there. I will look into “The Courage to Heal” as well, thank you! Another book I have that I really appreciate is called “I Can’t Get Over It” by Aphrodite Mataskis, Ph.D.

      Ready for this … I see two therapists weekly right now. One for CBT and one for EMDR. The EMDR has been put on hold however due to my inability to handle the memories that are surfacing. Too much anxiety and panic. We have a plan to start the processing again in a couple months after I get better at feeling feelings, processing emotions, and develop a mental safe space. Nine months in and I still don’t have one.

      Ugh, the work this takes.

      Thank you for your comments. It means a lot to be heard. 🙂

      1. It does take a while. Sorry! I wish there was a quicker, easier fix. I’ll definitely take a second look at I Can’t Get Over It. The Courage To Heal is a great resource; but, most of the first half deals with creating the “safe space”. It really is THAT important! It’s part of why so many people struggle to find healing, because it is such a process. Glad you have someone for CBT and EMDR. You’re committed to healing, now it’s just weathering the journey. Anytime!

      2. I too have a very difficult time processing the memories. I can’t picture things well in my mind, so I can really connect with what you’ve written about no mental safe space. The flashbacks just start to warp whatever I’m trying to imagine. I’ve adapted by creating literal safe places; a “meditation” room and other areas with special items. Being in these spaces on a regular basis helps me stay more grounded than I used to be.
        My dog has been the best thing for me in terms of flashbacks; having another being there who I can messy cry in front of without judgment and who licks my hands non-stop to break the flashback cycle has been an enormous relief. It’s been several years since I first had intrusive memories, and I wish I’d had him with me then.

      3. Literal safe space, not something I have specifically tried. I mean, I have ‘safe’ space but not specific to coping or calming. I’m going to try this, it’s different then what I am doing and I like the sound of it. 😊

      4. “I can’t wait for the day that I can take on a flashback without it taking me out first.”
        After spending my entire day getting my butt kicked by a flashback I can’t agree with you more. I don’t understand why this is so hard. I had 3 sessions of EMDR in November. I had a horrible flashback after thanksgiving and put a pause on it for the month of December. I tried a lighter version of EMDR this week, and woke up today in a brand new flashback facing a brand new trauma. I honestly feel like what happened to me “wasn’t that bad” to warrant such terrible PTSD. I don’t get why it’s so debilitating. I kept grounding myself and still kept slipping back into it. I could get my mind out but it took 12 hours for my body to feel normal again. How long does it take for you to fully “come back” when you have a flashback?

      5. I am so sorry that you are going through all of that. Flashbacks are my least favorite part of healing. I wish I had some kind of profound advice but I don’t. For me, each new memory, each new connection to what I went through cause me to cycle through the stages of greif all over again. There is a certain level of comfort in recognizing the cyclical nature of healing but it doesn’t make the physical anxiety go away or the memories any easier to process.

        As for coming back from a flashback – sometimes I feel like I have a mental hangover for days before I can even get my feet under me, sometimes the depression can hang on for weeks and weeks, other times I can process and move through it in a few days and a therapy session.

        I wish you peace as you remember, relive, and process. Try not to minimize your experiences and their effect on you – your feelings matter and they are completely normal. You’ve got this! And you aren’t alone in your struggles. <3

        p.s. I also see an EMDR therapist, have been for almost a year – however after the first few sessions of EMDR triggered severe panic attacks both in her office and out, so we have put that form of therapy on the back burner until I come to terms with my experiences first. For me it was far to intense and it triggered my disassociation like crazy; my therapist would tell me how she could see my eyes turn off.

      6. That makes sense. I think it was so debilitating because it was a new connection that I never realized before. I feel so much better today. It completely knocked me off my feet for two days.

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