My truth not The truth! A matter of semantics? Maybe?
I’m presenting at a trauma conference next Saturday and finishing up the final touches of my presentation. I’m going to be talking about healing with courage and resilience in the face of PTSD. I will speak about my path to accepting the truth, the effects of my trauma, how I’m learning to live with my symptoms and my healing process. I hope to convey to others, to remember and notice those perfect moments in each day (especially the really trying days), celebrate each step towards health and to understand Its a long and never linear process.
As I have been writing and practicing my talk, I noticed something that I had never been able to verbalize before. Really, I’m not sure it was even in my consciousness until now. I speak about how my long repressed memories were rising quickly to the surface, and how I would forget them, remember them, forget them, until I learned to forget how to forget and I could begin processing my past. I talk about how whenever I would remember something, nothing inside of me would ring untrue about it. I knew the times when I was off in recalling something because I had that niggling, “I’m not sure if that’s quite right” feeling and would express it. But as a whole, the events of my past were the truth. I talk about how I wish, even though it would be uncomfortable and embarrassing, that my therapist would have told me I have some sort of fictitious disorder, but that wasn’t the case. What I was recalling was the truth.
Throughout my talk, I speak about accepting the truth of my past, and the many tools we used in therapy to help me cope with the distress. When I talk about using writing as one of my tools, and especially when I start to share the process of writing and publishing my memoir, I began to notice that I change the words to, I was writing My Truth, not The Truth. I share how I was compelled to publish Untangled and how it felt when it was published because, for me, I knew no one could take My Truth away from me again.
I realized what a huge difference for me distinguishing between those two ways of saying it meant. I think I was often able to dissociate a bit from the horror of my past by saying it’s the truth. I would use any method available to perform those mental gymnastics to give me a bit of denial space. But when I turned the corner and owned my past, I no longer put a scrim between myself and my truth.
For some it may be a matter of semantics, for me, while preparing for my talk on Saturday, I discovered a kernel of healing that I had never acknowledged before. So just like I’m trying to convey to the audience by suggesting they celebrate each step towards health. I am stopping to write and post about this. My celebration towards health. My Truth!