Is it really an art? I’d say it’s more of a tragedy. While repressing memories can seem like a useful property of human nature, it can take an emotional and deeper toll on people than remembering the event that was subdued.
I didn’t think repression could happen to me. It was just something I could not fathom. That was until my junior year in high school when I remembered a tragic life event that I didn’t even realize had happened to me. I was sitting in class one day, the teacher was lecturing, we were all taking notes and suddenly it hits me. I was molested when I was five by the babysitters son.
It came as such a shock to me that I had a severe panic attack to the point where I could barely breathe and had to go home. I didn’t tell anyone for the first two years I had discovered what happened to me. It just wasn’t going to happen. But it ate at me. How could this have happened to me and I don’t even remember it happening? From the day I remembered this memory I developed severe anxiety, PTSD, and depression. I didn’t know how to cope. I wished that I hadn’t remembered it, that it could have just stayed in the back of my head. But I soon saw the bigger picture. I realized that this repressed memory had impacted me largely over the past 15 years. Throughout my childhood from what I can remember I always struggled with boundaries and in-dependency. I didn’t know how to deal with the weird emotions I was feeling. I would feel sad a lot and not know why.
I wouldn’t say remembering a repressed memory is a bad thing. I actually believe it to be a good thing. You are learning things about yourself that may be effecting you negatively and not even know it. When you see that memory, it becomes real to you. It may be hard to accept but over time you will learn how to cope with it.
I eventually told my mother about what had happened. It was a difficult time for me, but I felt so much better after saying it out loud. It happened, but it was years ago, it’s okay to move on, I am not a victim.
I feel as if this memory no longer affects me, but deep down I know it probably still does. It’s something that I remember not so vividly and to be honest it’s not really something I like to talk about. But I’m still making progress as I grow older.
Repressed memories are a tragedy, but remembering them is progress. The more you know about you, the more you can help yourself to survive your emotions. It may take a long time to accept what happened, but that’s okay. Learning about something traumatizing that has happened to you is not an easy process. But remembering it will help you to accept that it happened and move on.