I once felt I was an object walking around, keenly disguised as a human. A thin veneer of skin covering the hurt, pain, and sorrow that lay underneath. Now I know that I’m a whole person who was objectified. I’m grateful for this feeling, this knowledge, this acceptance. It took me eight long years to get to this point and I make sure I acknowledge my hard work. It’s a hard-earned, middle finger to my perpetrators that they couldn’t take my humanity, my personness from me. Where I once had no memory of a past, I now have a congruent, truthful timeline and I’m happy about it. In a bizarre sometimes I can’t wrap my mind around the awful truth kind of happiness.
But what that’s left me with, is a Reservoir of Left-Over Feelings. I drew the reservoir and in it are the following feelings: Anxiety, depressed, desperation, fear, numb, violated, insignificant, grief, alone, unloved, neglected, shock, pain, confusion, anger, afraid, dirty, sadness, rejected, confusion, disgust, small, loneliness, ugly, abandoned, disappointed, hopeless, betrayed.
Sometimes these feeling are still prevalent in my everyday life, especially when I get triggered and have flashbacks and at anniversary times of the year. They are there, even though I have dealt with and processed the memories. I have dealt with the traumas but these feeling are byproducts of the abuse. The feelings don’t just leave because I have talked about them, written, used art, or emoted over them. It’s okay, I have learned that feelings are time-limited and are like sets of waves, and I have learned to ride them like an expert surfer.
I also feel lots of love, hope, happiness, contentment, support, trust, and for that, I am grateful. It makes me smile. There are still times when the PTSD symptoms are so pronounced that I have to remind myself of the love and support because the intensity of what’s happening inside of me can bring about shame and I begin questioning whether or not I’m a burden.
I used to tell myself that if I could take a strainer and scoop out the byproduct of my past I would. Those feelings frustrate me and make me feel like the words of a mind dis-eased. I thought scooping them away meant more room for happiness, contentment, hope, and love. Those feelings are what drive my desire to live. But then I realized that it’s important to have and feel those left-over feelings. I wasn’t able to experience them the first four decades of my life. They were repressed, never to be taken out. Now I know that it’s a very important part of my healing process, and they cannot be talked or drawn away. They have to be felt. I also realized that I have to heal the little person inside of me, not just look at it from an adult perspective. The emotions and pain feel immature and at the same time as old as the dinosaurs. That’s pain has to be acknowledged, it’s left-over feelings.
So I continue to accept that sometimes the reservoir will get stirred up and wavy, but also remembering to rest and enjoy the calm waters when the waves are still and peaceful. I will let the byproduct of my past continue to come to the surface, knowing that eventually it will spill over and float away to open water, taken away by the currents and becoming part of my past.
That’s where I’m at today. Why am I there? Because it’s Fall. a time of year that brings with it triggers, triggers everywhere. I made it through the worst of it by sheer chutzpah, but now there is the fallout. The reservoir of leftover dinosaur feelings. It’s painful, but as always, I am hopeful!