This week was such an amazing week in terms of hitting that 300 Day Milestone without cutting. In general, my mood this week was significantly better than the last several. My mind wasn’t taken over by thoughts of suicide and self-injury this week. I stayed productively busy with work and, even on the “difficult” days (two of my three therapy days stand out), I was able to get through any negative thoughts without hurting myself.

In my blog post titled I Cry Too… But Not When I’m Doing Sun Salutations, I wrote a little about my experience of going through a new memory in therapy this week. It wasn’t new to me, just new to our sessions. Actually, on that particular day we didn’t go through the majority of the memory because I got so upset. It was the first time I had ever truly cried over any of my memories in therapy, and I have some pretty awful trauma memories. I’ve always been able to leave space between the memory and my emotions, until now.

Yesterday in therapy, we went back to the memory that I couldn’t get through earlier in the week. We talked about the feelings associated with the memory. I really didn’t even want to talk about the feelings that I had surrounding this particular memory – just getting through that was hard. My therapist pointed out all of the wisdom that I gained as a result of this particular traumatic experience. She’s so fucking positive sometimes haha I really don’t know how she does it. I’m glad she can always manage to find the positives though because when you’re reliving a traumatic memory, it can be really difficult to see how anything positive could come from that experience. Finding the positive is what keeps me from killing myself some days. It’s that whole “post-traumatic growth” thing and finding the meaning in my suffering. 

After she pointed out the positives, something happened. I had a flashback. Looking back, I can’t remember if it happened before or after I read the memory to her. I can’t remember really if she had actually gone through the positives yet, or if maybe that was after the flashback. I hate how that happens. When I have a flashback or dissociate, not only do I lose the time that I’m not present, the time surrounding the event is skewed too. It’s almost like there is this “precursor” time to the flashback where things start to get fuzzy but I’m not quite gone yet, and then this “post flashback” time where I am really struggling to bring myself back.

This flashback was different than the majority of the others I’ve had in therapy. This flashback was a new memory – new to me and new to my therapist. This usually doesn’t happen to me in therapy. With any of my sexual abuse trauma memories, the events are really all similar. My shrink says at this point, any “new” memories I get probably won’t be worse than the memories I already have. I want to believe she’s right. I want to believe that the worst is over. But I think I will always be afraid of the unknown. 

I don’t have all of the pieces to this new memory; I only have a few snapshots of it in my head right now. I know that if I work on it, if I write down what I can remember, if I think about what my five senses were experiencing in those moments, I will be able to pull back most of the details. New memories are hard. I struggle with wanting to know what happened, but then not wanting to relive it in that process of finding out. I mean, and let’s be honest, who the fuck really wants more memories of childhood sexual abuse than they already have?

One day I hope that I’m done having flashbacks of “new” memories. My fear is that there are so many, that it happened so many times, I’ll never be done having “new” memories. I can’t tell you how many memories I currently have. When I started working on my trauma memories, there were somewhere between 10-15. In the past year, I’ve gained a few more – five maybe? When I think about it logically, it is likely that the abuse occurred most of the weekends where I was at my dad’s house. I went every other weekend. I know it occurred over the course of at least 6 years. This means there were at least 156 weekends (not including the 1-2 weeks I stayed in the summer). If it occurred even one time on those weekends, that would be 156 instances of abuse. I have maybe 20 memories? Some of them blur together. It’s so hard to tell sometimes which ones were individual instances and which ones are several put together. As much as I don’t want to have anymore flashbacks of “new” memories, I am hit with the harsh reality that there probably will be more.

The unknown is always going to be the scariest part of PTSD.