I look at those pictures of me in the hospital, you know the ones. And it’s almost like I can’t remember them. Like they didn’t happen to me. My mind has done some funny things about that time. It tells me of conversations I had with people, when I know I couldn’t talk. I suppose that’s the beauty of communication, that it doesn’t need to involve only words. But in my mind there were words even though I know there weren’t. Though I definitely do remember the frustrations of not being able to actually speak.
They say people can block out trauma. And I always thought that was weird and hard to comprehend, though I do know of instances of it happening. Brain’s foggy, big blank patches. I haven’t blocked out my trauma, but my mind has minimised it. I could tell you all about how bad it was, but I no longer feel it. When I look at those photos of me I think ‘that poor person, I just want to hug her and tell her it will be ok’. My brain has compartmentalised that and it’s not me, it didn’t happen to ME. It’s almost like it never happened at all. The lovely people I met, I remember vividly, every interaction with them, every conversation, everything they made me feel. But the bad bits? My mind is slowly but surely wearing them down, eroding them like the sand on the shore.
I guess that’s what it is. How long can I keep dwelling on the hardships I’ve experienced? Its much easier to gloss over them. That’s probably how I heal. But I can bring them back if I need or want to.
I was asked to summarise ‘my story’ for Macmillan the other day and it brought it all back. I was just small, lost Jen again not knowing what was happening. And I cried writing it down. I cried for all the frustration, all the pain, all the struggles. It’s there if I recall it, if I need to. And I will never forget it or what I went through. But by minimising it, my brain helps me to get through the day, to build back up, to crawl out of the hole.
So although it confuses me a bit, I think I’m grateful for it. I don’t need to feel that emotion, that hardship every day, so it becomes something that happened to someone else. That swollen faced person who couldn’t function very well and was lying in bed a lot of the day… That poor thing. I feel so emphatically for her. But that’s not me. I’m just someone with no teeth who can’t breathe through her nose, struggles with how she looks and gets tired easily.