Welcome back to the Becoming Series! You can read the previous posts in this series here.
In my last post I talked about the Four W’s, a simple way that God enabled me to gain some stability in my life.
As I began coming out of the most severe depths of depression I began walking once or twice a week with a friend who encouraged me and prayed for me. I also began counseling.
In counseling, some disturbing things began to happen. I kept wanting to talk about events that I had no conscious memory of at the time, but I just felt that I had to talk. It was like someone had given me a drug and I was compelled to tell the truth, only it was a truth I hadn’t “known” before.
I was unsure of what was happening to me, but my counselor explained that I was experiencing something common to those who have experienced traumatic events.
The human brain is more complex and phenomenal than any computer ever created. Our brains record every tiny detail of what we experience every day, but most of the information never enters our conscious mind because we would be overwhelmed by having to process it. Dreams are actually one way our brains “dump” the information and one reason that dreams seem so strange and disconnected at times.
When God created our brains, He also gave us an amazing ability to block out traumatic events and information and store the images in our subconscious mind. This involuntary act of separating traumatic events (including emotions and sensory information) from the conscious mind and “forgetting” them, is called dissociation.
If you have ever taken a drive, found yourself day-dreaming and realized that you don’t remember the last couple of miles you just passed, then you have experienced mild dissociation. More severe dissociation occurs in situations of extreme trauma such as military combat, rape or severe childhood abuse.
In counseling I was experiencing the other end of dissociation, the coming together or integrating of those memories, and it was a very scary place to be. I continued to “see” things, visual images like short movie clips that sometimes appeared to be happening in front of me. Sometimes these “visions” would have a ghost-like appearance and sometimes they appeared as a dream in my mind, but I was fully awake.
I had other odd sensory experiences as well. I would smell something so strongly, but when I commented about it to my husband he couldn’t smell anything at all. I had unexplained pain and strange sensations in various parts of my body that would come and go. I often felt nausea or dizziness in association with the visual flashes that I experienced.
It felt like I was losing my mind, but I knew there was something very real happening to me. Unfortunately, I had experienced something similar over a decade before.
…to be continued
Next post in this series: Becoming…Honest
Please Note: The content of this post should not be construed as medical or professional advice. I am simply sharing my own personal experience. You should seek professional counseling or other professional advice if your circumstances require it.