There are a couple of movies that when I first watched them actually activated me to the point that I had to pause the movie or just turn it off. I would get so mad that I could feel myself responding to what was happening in the movie, even to the point of talking out loud at the TV.
I can say now that I’ve been through an introspective process that has allowed me to understand myself a little bit better and in so doing, I try to use previously activating situations as opportunities to learn about myself and how I can become better at helping people process trauma. Flipping through the umpteenth night of idiot box, I happened upon one of those movies, but found I still had to mute it occasionally. On one of the times that it wasn’t, two of the main characters were having a discussion about why they were “unable to go home” (why it was easier to stay in combat than to go back and see their families). Displaying all the signs of PTSD, I began imagining the individual character’s daily struggles with their respective transitions, among them being constantly hyper aware to the point of exhaustion and “misplaced” anger and sadness. Which very circuitously leads us to the point of this penning.
If you don’t find some safe place and person with which to unload some of those “weighty,” confusing, hidden nuggets of historical dysfunction then you’ll eventually end up taking out your life on yourself and everybody else. You see, that unprocessed trauma is like a charcoal briquette in your gut (that’s meant to be metaphorical but for those of you out there with those unexplained ulcers, sometimes it’s literal). So, when you’re taking stock of your life and you begin to see a pattern of unhappiness, dysfunction, and drama emerging, ask yourself, what’s the same thing in every situation?……(what’s that on the tip of your index finger?)
Maybe then you’ll decide that the fear of that trip down memory lane might actually be less than the fear of not being able to recognize who comes out on the other side if you did.
You can feel better.
Things can change.