These days, I am writing and talking about trauma rather than experiencing it. Yesterday was a case in point. I spent the better part of the day writing the fourth HealthCentral piece in my series on facing past trauma. Later in the evening, I had my brother over for a chicken curry, then we settled back to unpick the locks of our childhoods.
Breaking news: If we had to do it over again, we would have picked a different family to be born into.
But the chicken curry we were both enjoying told a far different story. It had been lovingly prepared by a person very special to me. The food conveyed a sense of nurturing that sharply contrasted with the lack of warmth in our family. When life is good, the past seems irrelevant. Now is what counts.
But here’s the rub: To reach my current state of now, first I had to come to terms with my past. This has involved many conversations with my brother over the past two years, long evenings together, chowing down my home cooking, unpicking those locks. The reason we were savoring someone else’s home cooking last night and not my own was because we had unpicked a lot of those locks.
I am not so naive as to think I have resolved my issues or have found the secret to happiness, much less immunized myself to life suddenly crashing down (once more) on my head. But in surveying my efforts at breaching the prison wall that represents my past, I think I have knocked a few bricks loose.
The conversations we have been engaged in here at HealthCentral are validating my personal experiences. Let’s see if I can frame this in the form of a question:
Have you experienced any successes in coming to terms with your past (past trauma, in particular)?
Follow-up questions: Have you had success with any therapies such as EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)? As you have come to terms with your past, have you had better luck handling your depressions and mania and anxieties? Or, as you have delved into your past, has your emotional state gotten worse before it has gotten better?
As always, your insight and experience make you the real experts. We can all help each other here. Please feel free to comment ...