Today has been rough. In moving from a house to an apartment, it has forced me to go through boxes that I haven’t touched in years. It means opening old wounds. It means traveling back in time to memories that aren’t good ones.
Anyone with a form of PTSD will tell you flash backs are hard. You feel all the feelings you felt at the time the memory (or at times memories) was created. If you get lost in the flashback, your mind will make you believe you are back at that time, not just the feelings, but the same age, same situation. I takes a lot of hard work to get to the point that you can identify when a flashback starts, and even more work to know it’s not real, and then even more work to get through them without it breaking you down. I don’t think they every really stop, but the more you work through them the more manageable I have found them to be.
So, opening boxes can be hard. I don’t know what is in there that may trigger me. I don’t know if it will be a trigger or memory I have worked through, or if it will be something I had forgotten about that will need to be processed. You hope for the best, but brace yourself for the worst. Now maybe you can understand the trepidation I was feeling all day.
Oddly enough it’s been healing too. The act of throwing something away is very symbolic of letting go of your past. I force myself to imagine cutting the ties I have with whatever bad memory comes up. It may sound simplistic, but the worse the memory is, the more simple I need the coping technique. The easier it is for me to repeat it, the more I can trust in it, and the more likely it is to help me through things.
I explain all this to say even though all of this has been hard and rough, it has also been good. Putting the things I’ve learned into practice always helps. It also helps to prove to myself how far I’ve come in my recovery. It’s a way for me to see that I can do this. I can go through these boxes and cheer for the happy memories I find. I can work through the hard memories without them taking over my present. I’m thankful to know how far I’ve come.