Nineteen years ago on Halloween, my abuser came to me to admit his guilt. I wrote about it here: My Imagination and Why I am Afraid of The Dark.
This is the story of what happened in my brain, for the three days, after his admission.
Huddled in a ball, I sat in the dark of my living room. Six beer cans lay empty beside me, and bursts of black and white memories flashed within my mind. It had only been a few hours since my entire world had crashed around me. Everything I’d known up to this point scattered and confused. I sunk myself deep into a couch and began a transformation in which my mind could never be prepared.
I had gone twenty-five years with no memory of the trauma; he had placed with such ease on my ears earlier that day. With quickness, he cleared his conscience, leaving me in the furrow. Broken and trembling, with no experience or understanding of how my mind could have obstructed the memory of his molesting hands. He cleared his guilt and left me with the repression of damage my childish spirit did not and could not absorb.
The squeak of the front doorknob and tapping of my roommate’s footsteps, as she slid her key into the front lock, heightened my anxiety. But, I was stuck. Planted lifelessly and sullen, my body, a collection of paralyzed skin and broken thoughts, consumed by my post traumatic mind. I barely moved as she walked directly in front of me. I had told her what had happened that day, but it was all I could muster as I sunk deeper inside myself.
She must have sat down on the couch beside me; I could feel her presence but didn’t stir. She may have spoken to me; I may have replied, but my recollection of the outer world for the following three days is fuzzy at best. I had become a prisoner bounded and lost inside my mind.
My roommate had informed me; I sat lifeless on said couch for three days. For three days, I lived inside an innocent mind, crushed with visions of the childhood wound, in which I had repressed. Not knowing what was real, or fake.
The pace in which my brain was processing my past, was overcoming. Hot tears streamed down my cheeks, yet my features held no expression. My entire body in a Novocaine state. I pushed to see through the images stinging my eyes, hoping to come back to reality. Instead, I was immersed in the movie like flickers of what I could only assume denoted recollections of my abuser’s putrid decisions.
The memory floodgates had opened, and they were rushing through my mind with a torrid pungency. Lashing at my open and wounded heart.
The world went on around me. My roommates were moving about as I remained stagnant, solely getting up to use the bathroom. I didn’t sleep or eat. There I sat, lifeless on that couch.
The collision of reality and my repressed memories internally creating a mosaic painted with confusion and distortion. Inside my psyche, a three-year-old girl was screaming to break from the chains I had wrapped her in. We tangled between the adult who had kept her safe from harm all those years and the child who needed to claim her voice.
I pressed to stifle her cries and choke her down, but she had finally been released and was struggling to be heard. She was screaming through every sharp vision placed before my eyes. I had kept her in the darkness to save her from the reality of her harm, but it was now the time I rescue her from the depths of my soul.
The bubble I had placed myself in was finally breaking as I began to talk about the memories I knew to be true. The more I spoke, the louder that little girls voice became.
For those three days, I became a prisoner, trapped inside reality and what felt like fiction. Repressed Memory Syndrome is mind-bending, and life altering. It is a controversial theory among psychologists and more recently was coined Dissociative Amnesia. I can tell you with certainty I know it to be very real.
I am one of the lucky ones. For I was able to corroborate my memories with facts given to me by my abuser. His admission of abuse and timelines matched my recollections, allowing me to feel a little less crazy in the process. I am not sure if I would have ever let that frightened little girl out if he had not cleared his conscience that day. I am not sure if the floodgates would have opened or if I would have ever been given a chance to heal. For that I am grateful.
Repressed Memory plays tricks on you, and to this day, I question the validity of my thoughts, truths, and memory. To this day, I have lucid nightmares of three years of abuse, continually waking to question their truth.