Have you ever tried to talk about your PTSD issues with someone, only to have them cut you off with the advice to “just don’t think about it”?
If only it were that simple!
I wanted so desperately to “just stop thinking about” my traumatic memories, that I actually tried to force myself to have amnesia. I thought: other people get amnesia, so why can’t I? I tried everything I could think of to psych myself into having Zero Memories, because total amnesia would surely be better than walking around with a head full of horrible, haunting, trauma memories.
But I could not do it. I even tried self-hypnosis to no avail. My life is still my life, my memories are my memories, and they are, apparently, here to stay.
The best thing I have found for dealing with my trauma memories is simply: acceptance. Accepting that my reality is real, my life is indeed my life, the things that happened actually did happen, and no amount of wishful thinking is ever going to change any of that. It is what it is. And yet, in spite of everything, today I can honestly say that the Lord brought me through!
I recently googled the addresses of two houses that I lived in more than fifty years ago, where some of my worst childhood traumas happened. To my surprise, I discovered that both of these houses are listed online as having been for sale in the recent past. One sold in 2014, the other in 2016. Although they are no longer for sale and their listings expired years ago, all of the interior and exterior pictures are still there.
As I clicked through the photographs, I remembered this terrible thing that happened in this room, and that awful thing happening in another room. On and on, through more than fifty pictures between the two houses, my memories flooded in.
I was feeling overwhelmed! But then, a picture came up that was taken inside a family room that had been added onto the house, after it was foreclosed and my family moved away. This picture, which you can see at the top of this post, is centered on an open doorway that leads from the new family room, into the dining area and living room beyond, two rooms that hold many haunting memories for me.
Above the wide open doorway between the new part of the house and the old, hangs two large banners. The words on the banners, in beautiful bold letters, declare:
IT IS WELL … WITH MY SOUL
~The above post was inspired by this terrific article by Cynthia Bailey Rug: