Last therapy appointment for the next 14 days with my trauma therapist was today. I’ve spent the last 7 days trying to suppress the trauma memories that have come up — a new memory. It’s actually new pieces to an old memory. And even though those “new pieces” aren’t exactly earth-shattering, they are still difficult to process, accept, and feel. In my session today, I brought up the new memory, despite my fear of throwing myself into a trauma flashback crisis. We didn’t work through the memory, but I did find the courage somehow to tell her that it had been coming up. You see, for most of my life, I have put a lot of energy into stuffing those memories back down when they arise. Acknowledging and accepting trauma memories, especially new ones, is still really difficult. And honestly, I don’t believe that part of trauma work will ever get easier. Because who the fuck wants trauma memories?!?!
Tonight I got to go to a yoga class that I don’t normally get to attend. I needed this class tonight. I needed to move and flow and be strong. And I did. It was a “gentle” class, but I did a lot more flow than gentle. The beauty of yoga is that you can find what feels good for your body and it doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing (I mean…as long as you’re not getting off in the middle of class lol). So while everyone else was in happy baby tonight (my least favorite pose), I was in wheel (one of my favorites).
The theme of tonight’s class was gratitude and opening ourselves up. When class began, I wasn’t thinking about therapy or trauma or memories; I was thinking about all of the other crap I need to be doing to prepare for Thanksgiving. About halfway through class, I realized I wasn’t thinking about Thanksgiving anymore. Actually, I wasn’t thinking about anything. I had a ton of energy, and was taking vinyasa and playing with crow when no one else was….I mean…it was a “gentle” yoga class. But I was craving the movement.
And then the movement stopped.
Hero – one of my favorites. I could lay like that all day. My legs tucked under me and flat on my back, arms stretched overhead. My heart was pounding. I realized my breathing was heavy and shallow. And I also realized that I wasn’t present in the yoga studio anymore. I was in a flashback. The memory that I mentioned but didn’t work through in therapy today. This wasn’t a normal flashback though. It was different; different from any other one I’ve had. I’m watching him hurt the little girl; the girl that is my younger self. But instead of feeling numb and distant like I normally do, I felt overwhelming emotions. I felt compassion and sadness and helplessness. I felt fear and anger and frustration. All in a span of a few minutes. And then, with no warning, the tears streamed down my face. It was time to transition to another pose. But I couldn’t move. Paralyzed by what was happening, not comprehending the how or why behind the tears. Crying isn’t really my thing – especially in public. I eventually came out of Hero, and joined the rest of the class in Shoelace, folded over so my hair would cover my face. I couldn’t stop shaking. It was several more poses before I could regulate myself again. It took counting inhales and exhales (in 5, out 7) before I was able to feel semi-normal.
I’ll never understand why my trauma memories come up in the most sporadic moments. And I don’t understand what happened to me tonight in yoga class or why. How could I go from being so preoccupied with creating a mental to-do list to having one of the most emotionally intense flashbacks I’ve ever had in such a short time? Sometimes, I really want to yell “Fuck You, Trauma,” loud enough for the entire world to hear. I want to brutally kill that part of myself. But I know that isn’t the answer. I keep holding onto the hope that one day I’ll have better control over how and when my flashbacks come up. Or even better, they won’t come up at all.