Laying the Foundation

*Trigger Warning*

Yesterday was an interesting session with the therapist. Very intense, yet…not. I talked about very intense things, but I have this way of doing so in such a detached manner that it’s as though I’m speaking about someone else. I suppose that’s probably because in many ways, I am.

I have no memories of abuse that are truly my own. My memory starts right in the aftermath of the last time this body experienced any sexual violence. I’m pretty sure I came into fruition at that time as the new “host” solely for the purpose to somehow get us through that tremendously difficult time. My very first responsibility was to procure an abortion from a pregnancy that resulted from incest. It was certainly traumatic, but not in the same way and not for the same reasons as many other parts.

I have about six years of autobiographical memory – mostly intact, but with some blank spaces where I likely lost time due to switching. Everything before that time is in pieces and the memories vary in how I understand them. Some are like images or movies. So I can recall a memory from my life the same way I can recall the memory of seeing a photograph or watching a movie. I can recap the movie and tell you what I saw, but I was not actually IN the film itself. Other times I just “know” something happened. It’s like there’s a place in my brain where other parts drop off memories for me to have. Then I get those memories either through flashbacks, nightmares, sensations, or sometimes it just pops into my brain as I’m talking about my past.

It’s really strange because there are times, especially in therapy or with my wife, that I’ll be talking about something and realize it needs a back story. I’ll go to explain that I don’t have access to the back story and then bam! all of a sudden I have it. It’s like someone filled in the blanks for me in an instant. But I’m sure I didn’t know those details when I began talking. It’s bizarre, but also kinda useful.

Anyway, so I started talking about my new nephew and all the emotions around that. Which prompted me to mention my cousin’s death. I thought I’d already told her, but the therapist asked me what happened, so obviously I didn’t. Since that memory is from the last six years, I was able to relay the story to her. But then she started asking questions to connect some things, especially about my biological family. I’ve been able to piece together enough memory to give a fairly solid idea of what it was like to grow up, but it never feels like my own childhood and adolescence. And I’m missing a LOT of information from about 10-15 years old. Why? I have no clue. Not sure I even want to know.

I didn’t get into details. I’m too scared to get into details. Partly because I don’t want to trigger myself. But also because I don’t want her to become overwhelmed the way Zooey did. I told one short story that was not graphic, but certainly would be upsetting for any person to hear. Yet I prefaced it by saying, “I’m going to add something to give you a better sense of what I’m talking about, but don’t worry it’s not graphic or anything.” Obviously I felt the need to qualify my statement before I allowed myself to say it. She responded in a way that kinda told me it would be fine even if it was graphic, but I just can’t be in that space with someone again. Not yet.

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