One of the things that PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety do to me, and maybe to you too is take good memories you have and kind of hide them from you. Meaning, it’s more difficult to focus on good things that happened in your past and much easier to focus on the negative.
This theory of mine was quickly confirmed by my amazing therapist, who let me know that this is nothing unusual, to focus on the negative memories and past trauma, rather than the positives. There’s a certain comfort in reliving past pain. My brain just takes it a step further as you’ll see.
A couple weeks before Christmas, in one of my weekly sessions, my she asks me to write down several good memories that I could easily recall. She was trying to get me to focus on some good things since I tend to try and focus on the painful memories so much. Well OK let’s be real, I don’t tend to focus on the negatives, I always focus on the negatives. Dating back to when I was a kid, the constant emotional and verbal abuse at the hands of school kids and neighborhood kids took a toll on me that I still cling too today. Try to give me a compliment and I’ll find a way to minimize it or turn it around to something less than what it should be. Tell me how far I’ve come and I’ll tell you that it’s not that far, I have much more to go, and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much. You get the picture.
Anyways, so I proceeded to write down some of the obvious ones for me, both recent past and back when I was a kid. A big suprirse birthday party that my then better half threw for me. My first time riding the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina, buying my first motorcycle, promotion at work, each of my kids being born, were several that came to my mind. But, and here’s where the weird part comes in, when I tried to focus on them it was like I was looking at them through some kind of a fog or haze. Everything was hard to see and hard to remember, like trying to drive through a dense fog and you can barely see a few feet in front of you. Only this fog/haze was dark. I’ve never felt that way before, and it was actually kind of unnerving the first few times it’s happened.
So since that is the case, I don’t get this fog situation happen all that often, but it does pop up from time to time when I really try and focus on something good that happened before. More than just your basic, “oh remember that time we did this” type of thing you mention in passing and then forget about 10 minutes later. Sometimes it’s that fog or it’s just that my mind puts the good memories so far deep that I can’t recall them or see them clearly.
So to me, that shouldn’t be dissociation doing that to me, because it’s not a bad memory. It’s the anxiety or something else I haven’t figured out that that keeps so many good things from helping me feel better. Trying to figure this out is exhausting and frustrating, so I try not to focus on it too much but of course I still do more often that I care to admit. I’m still a healing work in progress with a long way to go, but I’m tryin’.
Anyways, just thought I’d share that with you, and maybe that inspiring graphic I came up with will help us all feel a bit better today.