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Getting Through : Dealing

Memory

from dina - Monday, April 05, 2004
accessed 1241 times

Memory

I shut out everything I donít want to remember by compiling years of bad memories all under one file and titling it under: "Bad, do not open". When my brain comes across that file it feels confused, frightened and a general feeling of hopelessness and dread and then it quickly moves on. Some times the file is triggered open accidentally, but mostly I can keep it tightly closed and focus on other more immediately important and more easily handled issues.

I only open that file when I am alone and I feel like it may break open and consume me if I donít. I open it in the hopes of sorting and deleting and somehow making sense of some of the contents. When opened the words fly at me at 100 miles an hour and often one message blurs into the next. It takes a great effort to slow it down, sort it out and try to piece it together. When something bad happens I generally feel numb and just do what I have to do then. Weeks or months and sometimes years later it hits me out of the blue, and forces me to have some sort of feeling about it.

I have a name for this in-between time; I call it survival mode, as I don't feel alive, it's as if I am playing a part in a play, just doing what I have to do. At times I have found it difficult to make new memories. Sometimes I have to focus on memorized facts just to keep it under control, my mothers name is, my fathers name is, and I was born in, etc. After I allow myself to remember unwanted memories my memory seems to be better for a while and also allows new memories to form. It's as if just accepting old facts allows new facts to also be accepted.

Is this a normal reaction when you are trying to deal with strange issues? Does anyone know what Iím talking about?

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from sarafina
Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 20:34

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Yes, I know and understand this mode completely. I use it in my life daily. I think I first used it when I left the family. I didnít want to remember all that happened to me or my family or the fact that I just left all my friends the only ones I knew my whole life. I stepped into an unknown world a new one. In a since (excuse the terminology) I was born again. All memory was erased or blocked by my own will. I had to learn everything from scratch. How to talk and communicate, how to drive, how to use a phone, how to listen, how to make friends, and other things like education, or what freedom was. Every thing was new. I was like a child.
Then I fastley grew up in this new world, I made new friends, learned about how to write a check and how to balance an checking account, how to make money how to fill out a resume, what a job was and how to interact in one.. So many little things. Everything from the past turned to an old dream. Nothing left but flashes of a past life.

After years in this new world and only after I had mastered the simplest things that so many others had known to do as habit I began thinking . I wondered about this past life it creped itself into my head when asleep. Or when hearing a song that Iíd heard as a child. Flashes would flood my mind of a previous life. Iíd see hundreds of faces of people that I knew I once cared for or had friendships with as a child. I began at first letting the doors of memory open only once I had gotten in contact with individuals I used to know. Then after this website their were hundreds of them. The pictures would flood my mind so fast bad and good. The things I used to remember seemed dreamy almost at first. I began talking to people who would recall similar things or have the same memories and I knew then it wasnít just my imagination. Many of the memories were hard to remember as they brought a lot of pain with them. It took me years to sort them all out and still havenít all of it but at least Iíve now been able to open that locked door and take a peek every now and then. Each now though I can open it a little further

I used this form of survival again recently when my bother took his life. In many ways I still use it. When he died I barley cried while others in my family went into shock or had nerves breakdowns. Everyone I knew was falling apart and yet I dealt with it. I envied them that they could feel such things yet I continued on with my life, with work, with my social life in fact I even delved more into it. Its only been a few months since this happened . But I too have filed it away. The few times I even begin to open that file and try to understand it or opening it consumes me. Even just a simple thought of allowing my self to feel anything or tiring to rationalize it is like opening floodgates I canít stop. I feel it as a threat to my own life to which I will drown in. Which is why I choose to shut it out and lock the volts once again. I ever now and then touch the door and feel it from the outside and that alone brings me to the brink where I balance at the edge. I know though I will have to open it crack a million times before ever letting the floods in. I wonít though until I know Iím on top of a huge mountain or a solid rock miles above where the floods will be able to harm me and with a rescue team on call below should I fall and safety boat surrounding me. Until then Iíll hold the key tightly and survive.
(reply to this comment)
From dina
Friday, April 09, 2004, 06:19

(Agree/Disagree?)

Does anyone know why some people are able to feel things when they happen, (i.e. fall apart immediately after something happens and then pick themselves back up again, deal with it, and then itís over and done with) and others only feel like thereís a weight on their heart, but they are unable to access the appropriate thoughts or emotion that should come with that weight (i.e. are unable to cry, become angry or whatever the appropriate emotion should be, they just take in the facts but feel little or no emotion towards them at all until years latter, and maybe never) ??? Anyone study psychology??? (reply to this comment
From xhrisl
Saturday, April 10, 2004, 01:10

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Well my Dear,

You are in luck, while I wonít profess to have any answers I have found that studying psychology is cheaper than therapy---but enough of the light and witty banter.

The ability to feel the ďsocially appropriate emotionĒ at the time of, or during a time of crisis is neither a weakness nor strength. Socially appropriate expressions of emotions are just that---they are no more than constructs. Each of us deals with and relates to the world at large based on our own experiences; granted there are people who seem to feel free to express themselves more easily than others and I have myself often wondered what the contributing factors are that enable them to do such. Sadly, the inability to express oneself emotionally in many cases stems from a history of unstable emotional environments. A child who is raised in a setting wherein they are unsure of what will happen from one moment to the next is subjected to an emotional roller-coaster effect and as such learns to regulate their responses.

The Familyís unique structure is a primary example of such an environment---from daily social interactions, i.e. reward/punishment structures from a whole slew of Aunties and Uncles, to future life goals and attainment prospects. Letís face it---not knowing from one moment to the next when the end of the world will come and furthermore, being groomed for a future as a martyrs is not exactly the epitome of stability. Couple these facets with loose family unit structures (remember ĎOne Wifeí) and the prospect of any intimate relationship being terminated because Ďitís not healthy for the workí would lead even the most open of individuals to modify their behavior in such a way as to avoid future harm. We are all the products of our respective environments to some degree or another and that is one of the facts of life, we cannot change where or how we were raised to any greater extent than we can modify our height or the color of our eyes. Nevertheless, we can build on the things we have learned and turn our disadvantages to gain. Being able to repress emotion is not always a bad thing it can be a wonderful tool for dealing with traumatic experience---for Freud it is what repression is all about. However, while the ability to repress can find its uses, particularly in situations of extreme emotional distress and trauma, it nonetheless has its limits. For emotional health it does at some point become necessary to unpack those bundles of pain and to deal with those issues that have caused you harm. Do it at you own time and pace---if you are fortunate enough to find someone who can help you through it all the better, but in truth the healing process is yours to control. It may take many years---that is inconsequential, no matter how short or how long the process takes your courage will be rewarded, and daily you will find other things that are joyful to fill the voids of emptiness that are resultant of examining the painful experiences of the past.

Itís not easy---I wonít lie, but the things you learn will enable you to be more whole. Besides, if you have children or someday plan to---they will be the ultimate recipients of your courage. And, while you may never be that totally emotionally open person you compare yourself to, you will undoubtedly allow them to benefit from your experience and they may turn into such confident and secure beings that they will share emotionally with you unreservedly resultant of the way you treat them.

As for myself Iím from the old school of repression, the one that says Ďmen donít cryí except; for when we sustain a kick to the groin, or after a funeral (alone and in the dark). But, hey thatís life---those of us who are repressors can use to learn to be more emotionally available---that being said however, Iíd rather have you in a firefight or stressful situation than an individual who feels Ďfreeí to emotionally Ďmelt downí Ďcause they know Iíll fix everything. My thoughts on that are; ďthey could use a little toughness.Ē

I hope that I can find the balance myself---Best of luck!(reply to this comment

From dina
Sunday, April 11, 2004, 03:30

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Thanks Sarafina for your honest insight into this, and xhrist Iím glad that youíre studying psychology, thanks for the insight. (reply to this comment
From Rational ???
Saturday, April 10, 2004, 03:56

(
Agree/Disagree?)

Itís good to know, that at least according to psychology, it is considered neither a weakness nor a strength. And your theory that it stems from a history of unstable emotional environments and as such you have to learn how to regulate your responses, makes sense too. But while from experience I can agree that the ability to repress ones emotions can find its uses I often wonder who has the most courage, those who allow themselves to feel the pain or those who hide it away, or is it just two different kinds of courage??? Also Iíve found that those who express their feelings more openly seem to be in better emotional health, as for myself I hid it all away and then one day I decided Iíd had enough and tried to kill myself, and even during this time I still had a strange logic i.e. planning it to ensure that there was minimal hurt to anyone else, telling my boyfriend that I didnít love him and breaking up with him first, ensuring that my sisters were okay and had everything they needed, coming up with a plan, that included taking pills to stop me from throwing up before I took......., so it would stay in my body and do its work. How can a normal person be that rational about planning their own death? (reply to this comment

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