Switching, new memories and feeling rough around the edges

It’s been a hard week. I went looking for my diploma in the boxes where I keep stuff packed away. I didn’t consciously focus on anything as I dug through photos, old clothes and paperwork. I didn’t find my diploma. And then everything began to fall apart. It started with some massive dissociative episodes, then my sleep became disrupted and anxiety, paranoia and cognitive shutdown set in.

By yesterday, I was in a state I haven’t experienced in well over a year. I was vacillating between being in my sympathetic and dorsal systems. Feeling like fleeing or dizzy and shut down. Woven in and out of those two states, were the memories of a fancy handmade dress I had when I was little (something I found in one of my boxes) and a man’s hand grasping at the dress while he said “dirty little princess”. The memories were intrusive and I was terrified of what else might arise. Half the time I was riding in the passenger seat as Little took over and felt anxious and confused.

I have my boys this week so I did all I could to keep it together while showing up for them as much as possible. I let them know I was having a hard time so they would understand why I couldn’t always respond to them.

The memory wasn’t a particularly awful one, comparatively, but it felt gross and unavoidable. I certainly tolerated it better than I have when similar things have come up in the past. I am trying to make space for this experience, meanwhile am also pissed off that my carefully constructed routine and ground were temporarily dismantled and broken.

I slept a little better last night and am so far not struggling today. Someone I know recently said that we have to get rid of our attachments to the past in order to move forward in life and feel good. Tell me, how do you stop being attached to something that literally informed every aspect of your being? That continues to demand processing and attention every day even though it happened 30-45 years ago?

2 thoughts on “Switching, new memories and feeling rough around the edges

  1. I think it’s impossible to just ‘let it go’. Unfortunately it all contributed into making us who we are today and the awful things are part of our story too. It’s hard, impossible sometimes, but the awfulness deserves its place in our history too, it proves to us that we are survivors and that if we can make it through that we can make it through anything. For us, allowing those puzzle pieces that haunt us to have their voice and take up their rightful space either by writing for them and with them or working through them in therapy has ultimately been what gives them a place to rest and be quiet. Still part of our story but no longer clawing to be heard in a way that takes over our life.
    ((Hugs))

    Like

    1. Thank you for your comment. Very wise and not at all the kind of thing many non-survivors say. I’m working so hard on allowing those puzzle pieces their say in my life and what you wrote feels very validating and empathetic. Hugs to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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