My husband and I recently finished watching Season 4 of Stranger Things, and I’ve been reflecting on how much it dealt with repressed trauma—with a memory so traumatic that it is blocked from our conscious mind—and it made me feel validated to see repressed trauma acknowledged. For it is only when trauma is acknowledged that we can even begin to accept it and let it go.
The memory of my repressed trauma surfaced almost four years ago and like Eleven (or El) in Stranger Things, the knowledge of my repressed trauma was the missing piece of information I needed to find my inner strength.
Much like what happened to El, my memory was so traumatic—so violent—that I had repressed it. And it stayed buried for over 23 years. As a result of my trauma and repressed memory, my mind and body malfunctioned. I developed neurological disorders. I suffered physical, mental and emotional issues. And just like El, I didn’t know what I was up against until my repressed trauma surfaced. Until I could see what I was fighting. Until my truth was acknowledged.
My memory surfaced during craniosacral therapy. A technique that works with the craniosacral system and with tissue memories. It was during an occupational therapy visit where the lights were dim and smells of essential oils hung in the air. When I was wearing a weighted blanket. When my senses were engaged. Opposite of El in the sensory deprivation tank. But like El, I lay still with my eyes closed. And as my occupational therapist conducted craniosacral therapy, hands hovering over different parts of my body, memories emerged from my tissues. They were memories that had stayed stored in my body. Memories my conscious mind was not aware of. And then, just like El, once the memory of my repressed trauma surfaced, it made everything make sense. It helped me see how the evil that had been haunting me is real.
Like El, I had a Vecna haunting me. And while my Vecna is no longer able to harm my body, he still haunts my mind. Just as El blocks Vecna from entering her mind, I have to block my flashbacks from entering mine. And my intrusive thoughts. The flashbacks and thoughts that take away from my quality of life. And try to chip away at who I am. But I’m learning that, like El, I can block my Vecna from my mind. I can prevent him from entering in. And in doing so, I’ve gotten my life back.
Before I knew about my trauma—while it was still repressed—I didn’t know what was haunting me, so I couldn’t prevent it from harming me. But by knowing it, by acknowledging what happened to me, I am learning to accept it. So I can finally, after 23 years, learn to let it go.
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Photo by Puneeth Shetty on Unsplash