You don’t have to remember it. It does get worse before it gets better.
But! It does get better.
It probably won’t go away. At least for me it won’t. What has happened is that I’ve become more skilled at identifying when I’m getting close to a meltdown and getting myself to a safe place before it starts.
Then, just like you said, I ride it out. I let it go through me. I don’t try to fight against the flash backs anymore. With the help of a supportive therapist, I’ve learned to give those hidden parts of me a voice and along with that voice, lots of love and affection.
I’ve learned to love the lurkers in my brain because they are why I’m still here. Again, just as you said, my brain had to protect me, so those things were hidden.
And, the truth is nothing “horrific” need be “the thing” that happened. You don’t need to know the thing. You don’t need to look for it. It doesn’t matter.
What happened is that you became afraid for your life as a result of something outside of you. You were helpless to stop it and because you couldn’t get away from that thing, and that thing was so overwhelming, your brain did the only thing it could do to help you live through it. Those mechanisms made you sick, but they also saved your life.
If someone had told me to stop looking for the “first big thing” that traumatized me as a child a long time ago, I would have avoided a ton of pain and aggravation. I wish someone had told me.
As soon as I stopped trying to figure it out, I remembered. It was horrible and I did almost die and no one helped me.
I helped myself.
Just like you, I have been traumatized multiple times since that very first time when I was about 9 months old. Funny thing about trauma is that once you’ve had one event, you almost become a magnet for subsequent events.
Anyway, I want you to know that I understand. You aren’t alone. It can get better and it will. Be patient with yourself. Your brain is an amazing self-healing thing, you will learn ways to manage it. You will learn to feel when you’re about to have a serious problem and you will come up with creative ways to work with your illness and you will start to see yourself differently.
You will see how strong, adaptable and gifted you are at survival, but also beyond survival — you will start to grow and thrive.
This TED talk may have saved my life. Enjoy it. I hope it helps you too.
I also play the SuperBetter Game the speaker created — I recommend it for anyone who is like us.
You are not alone. You really aren’t.