Turn Off the Voices: the static of trauma

I don’t like to make you all depressed, but sometimes I have to be plainly real and not funny.

Or at least funny, but very freaking honest.

I have had a very hard time lately shutting off the voices. I don’t mean schizophrenic voices or hallucinations. I haven’t had those since I last dropped acid in High School–did you ever see a Siamese cat turn into a pig?

I did. I got that distinct pleasure as a young blip of estrogen and other hormones with a few other amoeba-aged friends of mine.

I am talking about the voices from the past. The static of memories that run through your mind, like radio frequency. When I talk about trauma, I talk about sexual, physical, or mental traumas from the past. It could be a rape. The loss of a child or parent. Being beaten. Mugged. The trauma of war.

When people experience this–at least in my case, ( I’m not a psychologist so if you are reading this to get therapy, then we should both get some help pretty fast) the static of the event tends to be very loud in the brain. It is hard to separate the event from the rest of the day’s events: the pain or recurring memories just refuse to go away.

I had an event happen over the summer, and a few months post-event, it felt like everything I did or said was colored or tinged with the heartbreak, anger, and depression from what had happened. A happy day could be disrupted by a smell, word, or sight that reminded me of what happened. It felt like a monumental roadblock was put in front of me, and yet somehow, I had to find a way around it in order to function.

I had to stay chipper and upbeat for my daughter, as I didn’t want my feelings to start pouring onto her psyche, so to speak. Toddlers are very susceptible to the moods of their parents, as are all children, however, they lack the sophistication to express their sensitivity to their parents’ moods. It was a tough act. I did fairly well, and I can say that for the most part, I managed.

No one was hospitalized, and I didn’t require a white coat or padded room, although having intercourse in a padded room might be really fun, and easy on the knees, but that’s just a thought.

My issue is there are quite a few traumas that happen to be linked as they are either similar, or dealing with the same issue. For the most part, they are all in the very far past, so the “frequency” is quiet. I am not bogged down by the stress, pain, or various emotions those experiences had once made me feel. Most of these situations I have been able to write about in my memoir, and some of these chapters were published. Life has moved on, and so have I.

However, the past few months I have undergone a good deal of personal stress, and so I am finding the static of those experiences rearing their vicious heads.

It irritates me when people say, the past is the past. While this is certainly true–we all grow and move past the person we are even from yesterday–to me, this cliché doesn’t account for the fact that the past shapes who we are–and while it’s not impossible, it is rather hard to ditch like a filthy friend on the side of the road.

I’m not having flashbacks really…the pretty colorful or ugly ones, but the voices of self-doubt, fear, and anger have become louder than I would like them to be. It sometimes feels as if I have regressed to those sad places when I am alone and away from others.

I have worked hard to turn down the frequency, and the static is barely audible, but I hear it.

I think I wrote this to really just share that while the past is the past, and we can move on from bad experiences, traumas, and heartaches and be a happy person, sometimes when our lives present stress, these past traumas come back because the associations are so strong, that it’s hard to disconnect from them.

It’s a process, and one that takes work. If anyone is going through the motions of trying to move forward from such an experience, I say, keep doing the work. It gets better. The static subsides, and while it may present itself during difficult times, you can move past it. This is not forever.

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