May 10, 2009

we should all just walk right in.

Lately I have been thinking about trauma a lot. I have been thinking about how people deal with the terrifying, heart-shattering, un-breathable moments in life. I think it all began with several interesting conversations with the boyfriend about people and tragedy. I have also been reading books that deal with similar topics (Atwood's Alias Grace, Faulkner The Sound and the Fury).

So I thought about what happened to me in the past, specifically to do with suicide, and I thought about my distance from it today. I am not sure whether I am just so used to talking about it at conferences, or so used to writing and rewriting papers and a book about it, but somehow I feel quite distanced from those traumatic places in my past. A stranger perhaps rather than the person that truly experienced them. So I talked to my counselor about it and realized that though it seems easier to continue on as a stranger with minor "unconnected" sadnesses, I need to reconnect and fully deal with my fears and pain. I have become so distanced that at times I almost feel like a liar going out and speaking about my emotional understanding of suicide. Do I understand it? Can anyone ever say that? Or am I too numb to truly remember or know what I feel.

But anyways, here is the point, and this is one I had to be told in order to believe: I have experienced it. It did happen. And though many people with horrible trauma find themselves feeling like liars or fakes, or feel as if they simply made it up,  it is something to confront. (I believe.) It is something to acknowledge and rediscover in order to truly let it go. It sucks going through memories of those horrible moments in your life, but I truly feel that it is so much better to confront things before they boil up some other way. I don't have anywhere close to as bad of trauma as many people, but I personally need to remind myself that I was there, and I did feel it. I need to remind myself that I am not lying to people by telling them I understand suicide and the pain of feeling like you don't have any more strength to survive. I just need to remind myself that ignorance is not bliss, not for me, because if I keep trying to forget I will only feel worse. Perpetually.

(And for all those of you who will wonder if I'm "okay," (dad, Jennifer,) or if I am okay doing all the work I am doing with presentations and what not, I only have to say that I am more than okay. I feel like this is important and even more meaningful when it comes to sharing my story with people. We all need to be okay with the confrontation of our selves, our demons, our fears. It is a continual process, and one that I hope my heros are constantly doing too. You go Reverend Tutu!)