At almost 60 years old I thought I would be experiencing peace, joy, happiness, love and all the other great things in life. These things I have experienced in the past. Over the past 2 years terror has invaded my soul and my mind and has brought to me many sleepless nights and thoughts of dying are ever so close. Trauma from early childhood experiences has resurfaced with a vengeance and is desperate to take over my mind and put my soul to rest for good.
The memories are so intrusive that they come at any moment, the pain is real and the experiences are just like yesterday. I can feel the pain and feel the hits, my head jars and my body moves with motions of the torture. It’s not just abuse, it’s not just a hit to the head or to the gut, or getting up off the floor just to be there again. Sometimes I would just lay there and act as if I couldn’t get up, that would often come with a kick to the head or stomach, but worth it not to get knocked down again. Seeing those legs and shoes turn into a different direction walking away was a relief. I would say in my mind, “it’s over for now.”
So, what am I saying in writing this out. One is, it brings my memories to life, out in the open so to speak, they have been in hiding for so many years. I’ve referred to them as an invisible soul, it drives you and can kill you if you let it take over. I know it sounds a bit psychotic indeed but the reality is your memories can kill you. I know of so many that have let their past destroy them. I’ve been thinking a great deal about them lately.
I had a dream a few weeks ago and as I sat on the end of the bed with the gun in my hand I found it hard not to pull the trigger. It was so real, I was out of my body watching the event unfold. I could see me getting up walking towards the gun, getting the gun in my hand, I found myself staring at it wondering was this it? Is this how it’s going to end? Then waking up, I was asking myself, “was that real?” I even looked for the gun to make sure it wasn’t moved. It had not been. My sweet Lisa has since move the gun.
As the “flash backs” and thoughts of harming myself got worse I sought help! I just happened to have a friend who is a wonderful therapist. She agreed to see me, Lisa went along with me as I thought it important that after 37 years of marriage we are in this together. I had shared what was going on with Lisa before seeking help. She was in agreement that we needed some help.
The first session was not weird at all, as I knew my therapist and had often joked when I saw her that I was in need of a “session.” We sat down and her first question was, ”when was the last time you were in therapy?” She already knew some of my story but to the depths that she would soon learn. I told her it had been more than 40 years since my last session. She ask me, so what’s been going on? My response was the above. I told her, “It seems that I’m not getting through this and not sure if I will.” “Tell me more about what’s going on George” she said. These words echoed in my soul as I had not heard that question in more than 40 years.
After a few session I really began to put things back into perspective. Don’t get me wrong now, I’m not there just yet and not sure if I will get “there.” But what I do know, is trying to identify what triggers these memories, some say flash backs, some call it trauma that creates specific emotions. It is not an easy task. It requires me to look and each event and understand why it’s being presented to my mind at that time and try and expose what caused it to surface.
The dreams being as real as they are have been identify as my mind giving perspective of what that event would look like if played out. It was quite a relief to know that my thoughts and dreams were not abnormal. It can be a place, a smell, a person, a certain walk, a specific day, a birthday, a funeral, a sound, a song, a food, so many different variables that can trigger an event. On a side note, the therapist did expose that I didn’t have a plan to carry out my suggestive murder and that is a good thing.
For now this is the plan of exposing and managing these memories. We have identified that my mental health is tied directly to my level of exhaustion. When I get exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed or feel out of control I start to egress back to a bad state mind. This has helped more than anything. So the plan right now is to keep identifying and not take on more than I can handle. Trigger’s are important and I believe we all have them just some worse than others.
As of late I have had more joy, more peace and been enjoying life more, if you find yourself experiencing theses things don’t hesitate to seek help. Sometimes it takes a good friend, a great therapist and a wonderful wife to help put things into perspective.