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Masquerade

Alice24601

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All these years I thought I was strong. I thought I was able to handle anything life threw at me, if I was just strong enough. So I played the role. And I believed it. I believed I was okay because the only other option was too hard to deal with. The truth is, I don't think I was strong enough to process everything I had gone through. So I threw it away. I got rid of my past and I made myself into someone else. The only problem was that I didn't know who I was. I still don't. 

I didn't forget my past, not entirely. I just choose not to remember it. Everytime I recount my history to someone, I speak about it as if I'm am reading facts from a textbook. That's all the past is anyway, right? Just facts. I only met myself feel emotions regarding my trauma a few times a year. And even then, I only let myself feel sadness about missing my dad and my childhood. I didn't let myself dwell on anything else about that situation. I was too busy with the present anyway. Struggling my way through middle school after moving states, and with my mom recently diagnosed with breastcancer. Living in an apartment with just her, trying to get by with money we could get from the state, since she was unemployed. 

Even after that chapter of my life has passed, and I had graduated from high school, I was still careful about what emotions I let myself feel. I have no real reason to be sad anyway, right? And what do all those emotions help with anyway? I know bottling up emotions is bad, so I wouldn't do that. I would dive in to books, or movies, or my own daydreams. I would let myself feel for those characters. I would immerse myself in those worlds, and let myself feel. 

Somehow, I was able to make all this work for me. Everyday life is so hectic anyway, so it was hard to tell there was anything wrong under the surface. I didn't even realize there was anything I was covering up, that's how good I was at it. 

So yes, I thought I was strong, and was still feeling that way until recently. Now, though, everyone is in quarantine. Life isn't so busy anymore. Those monsters under the surface, that I had hid even from myself, have started making waves. Of course, I noticed. 

"Oh," I thought. 

"There are some things I need to process. I can handle that. I have all the skills I need. I've been through so many forms of therapy, I don't need any help now. I can work through this on my own and be fine. This will be easy. I'll just work through it, and I'll know what to do as I go. This probably won't even hurt. I know what I'm doing now. Plus, everything happened so long ago, how could it hurt me now? I'm not afraid of my past. That all happened to a little girl. I'm an adult now. This will be no problem."

So I went to face my monsters. I started out okay. It seemed like I could make this work. I kept going. I hit a wall. My brain is aware of what I'm trying to do, and won't put up with it. It gave me one small memory as a warning. It wasn't even much, and I had been expecting much worse as far as the content of the memories. I wasn't expecting the feelings that would come with them. The memory I received was enough to make me shutdown what I had been doing. 

"We don't want these memories," my brain tells me. 

"See how ugly they feel? See what I'm protecting you from? You're going to stop now, right?" 

But I don't know what to do now. If I'm having issues, I should deal with them, right? 

This is still recent, so I haven't unraveled the rest of my feelings about it yet. Hopefully I'll make another post soon. If you've read this far, then I would really appreciate it if you would comment below if you relate to this at all. 



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Hi @Alice24601 im so sorry for what you went through and for your struggles now. I was numb to it all until my teens then I was overwhelmed and depressed for 5 years. I eventually managed to just stay so busy and pretend to be OK, as you describe pretend it didnt happen that even I believed it, dispite the odd flashbacks i remained detached from it all. 

Until i went to face it, Im doing this with the safety and support of a therapist and with the support of this community. I recommend you do not do this alone. When you start feeling those emotions again and the flashbacks and nightmares gain intensity you need people to turn to. If you feel like now is a good time to let yourself process your truama you should listen to this feeling, but try not to do it alone. Find a therapist if you can and keep reaching out to us. B

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@Alice24601 your post is extremely relatable. Since this quarantine, I have been having invasive memories also. With that comes the natural dissociation for hours sometimes because my brain just doesn’t want me to go there :( you are not at all alone in this. 
 

There are online therapies you can look into if getting back into that is something you would want to do in the future. I am not in therapy and not sure when I will be going back so please don’t think I am pushing you or anything, I was just suggesting if the memories become too much to handle alone :( 

 

I will sit with you if alright?

 

sam🖤

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33 minutes ago, samantha2009 said:

@Alice24601 your post is extremely relatable. Since this quarantine, I have been having invasive memories also. With that comes the natural dissociation for hours sometimes because my brain just doesn’t want me to go there :( you are not at all alone in this. 
 

There are online therapies you can look into if getting back into that is something you would want to do in the future. I am not in therapy and not sure when I will be going back so please don’t think I am pushing you or anything, I was just suggesting if the memories become too much to handle alone :( 

 

I will sit with you if alright?

 

sam🖤

I am planning on going back to therapy once isolation is over. And you can always sit with me or give hugs if you would like. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my posts, it means a lot to me. 

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8 hours ago, BrightSide said:

Hi @Alice24601 im so sorry for what you went through and for your struggles now. I was numb to it all until my teens then I was overwhelmed and depressed for 5 years. I eventually managed to just stay so busy and pretend to be OK, as you describe pretend it didnt happen that even I believed it, dispite the odd flashbacks i remained detached from it all. 

Until i went to face it, Im doing this with the safety and support of a therapist and with the support of this community. I recommend you do not do this alone. When you start feeling those emotions again and the flashbacks and nightmares gain intensity you need people to turn to. If you feel like now is a good time to let yourself process your truama you should listen to this feeling, but try not to do it alone. Find a therapist if you can and keep reaching out to us. B

Thank you for your advice. I am planning on going back to therapy after quarantine/isolation. For right now, I'm not comfortable with phone call meetings or online one on one's with therapists, so I'm glad I have you guys.

Ive never had actual flashbacks, and luckily, I haven't had any actual nightmares for five years now. I do end up with uncomfortable, not nice dreams with him in it if I've been thinking about him too much tho. I just hope processing this doesn't bring back nightmares and that I don't ever have to deal with flashbacks, because I've seen what they can be like when my friends had them. Honestly think having an actual flashback should count as evidence in court, since it's not something you can make up. 

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❤ im glad you have a plan to support to heal. Keep reaching out, we are here for you!

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Alice24601, I'm so sorry you are struggling with Memories. You are strong. You're sharing a part of your life that is extremely personal and that takes a lot of courage

Ive told 6 people about my abuse. I shared details with 3 of the 6 and all 3 were therapist

I didn't remember any of the abuse until I started having flashbacks. I haven't had a flashback for about 5 years. I still have nightmares but thank God I haven't had any flashbacks. They are terrifying. They are immobilizing.  I would instantly be taken back in time in the middle of a horrific event. I would experience something that I didn't remember ever happening. I was unable to move or pull myself out of it. I could feel the pain and the fear. I could feel my father's hands around my neck as he raped me. 

I started to see a therapist and I learned how to ground myself in the present. To remind myself that it wasn't happening now. To remind myself that I'm safe. That's another hard thing to do; I wasn't always successful, it is always a struggle but it does get easier.

My therapist helped me to process the memories. Once I processed them they lost their power over me. I remember the things he did to me- the memories haven't gone anywhere and sometimes my body still reacts. There are still things that trigger me and unfortunately I don't think that will ever go away. Today I have tools to cope with the memories that pop into my head.  Today they are memories and memories are a lot easier to deal with than flashbacks 

Edited by girlsnz

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