Sunday, July 29, 2018

Forgetfulness, Black Holes, and Blank Spaces

My brain has an interesting way of coping with a few of the "sharp left turns" or difficult periods of my life: it goes blank. I am fully aware and live through the experience but then within a year I just forget it and every event or memory around it. The summer before my seventh grade year my dad had his first re-occurrence of his Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and this time I was more aware of what was happening to my family. And that summer I became even more aware as my dad was hospitalized for some form of infection and chemotherapy related effects.

So here come's the forgetfulness; my memories of that summer and next school year are very, very fuzzy. I have a very vague memory of walking in a dark corridor at a hospital one night. Another of watching from the hallway as my dad was in bed and my mom and someone talking in the room like five feet in front of me. It's like skipping scenes in a movie; scene one skip to scene ten skip to scene twenty. The next scene I recall is that winter when I caught the stomach bug that wouldn't go away. I remember missing a lot of school, my dad picking me up a lot, and lots of doctors. Lots and lots of doctors. (Trust me there's for to that story but for another time). But honestly its like there are blank spaces in my memory, huge chunks of time I can't remember. The next set of really clear memories comes from my sophomore year of high school. I have benchmarks or events in time that my family and friends have told me about that I can place on a timeline in my head but that's what it is. It's like a timeline from a history book but about my own life; anything before sophomore year of high school just gets super cloudy or nonexistent.

I've asked different doctors, counselors, and psychology professors if I should be worried about these memory lapses or if its just another thing that makes me different or weird. They all say around the same thing. Completely normal for someone who has experienced some periods of "trauma" throughout their life, especially if those events occurred during childhood. My mind's way of protecting me from what I didn't understand and wasn't supposed to. The blank spaces will fade as time goes on or when God decides I've healed enough to remember. Sometimes it's frustrating and annoying especially when my family starts reminiscing and I have nothing to add to the conversation. But other times I'm glad because who really wants to remember being sick a lot or being poked and prodded repeatedly by doctors when you're twelve years old.

Like I said I know a few things about life's sharp left turns and how they can set off a grenade in your life. I'm remembering a bit more lately in part due to time and in part due to going back to counseling. Figuring out how to live not just survive was harder than I thought and I needed some help; and I'm really blessed to have found a great counselor to help me learn how to build a life and heal some of those blank spaces. Most of the time I never notice those black holes until someone asks a question about that time period of life or starts reminiscing. Luckily I have great friends and family who give me plenty of great memories to cherish and hold on to when the darkness gets to loud or I get annoyed with the black holes. And when I do, I hope I remember that a lot of children and adults go through far worse things than I have, with and without all the support I've been blessed with, and I did survive and get the chance to start over. God Bless New Beginnings and even Black Holes.

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