18 April, 2013

Trauma

We remember traumatic events. Be they good or bad. Years from now I still remember that I was sitting at home, drawing, on sick leave when my mom called and told me to turn on the news. I turned on FoxNews or MSNBC and saw the airplanes hitting the towers. I remember my dad telling me he had cancer. I remember when I rode in a police car and spent the day in a holding cell. I was looking up a recipe for Spanokipita when I heard about Boston.

There are things I don't remember that I wish I did. Whole weeks and months of my life that I spent working that seemed to flash by or not even happen at all. My grandfathers death. My whole high school experience was a numb, barely remembered dream. I vaguely recall the birth of my niece, although I was in a homeless confusion at the time and moved from one strange living condition to another. I remember the dumbest movie quotes but can't for the life of me recall any of Amerika even though I've read it at least 3 times.

They say that ongoing anxiety and trauma can result in a kind of numbed state. I vaguely remember many news events growing up- the Waco bombing, the airplane crashes but they seemed to happen so often, they merge into a kind of vague idea of what happened. At a few times in my life I have had tweakers as neighbors. At first I was agitated and would wake up when I would hear them at 3 in the morning or when they would start screaming. I quickly grew used to their erratic behavior and odd hours and even slept through their constant alarms.

I know this is not always a good response to terror- this apathy and anaesthesia that kicks in after all the adrenaline has run out, but it does help one to survive. I noticed it when I was homeless, sleeping along the Columbia River. At first I was persistently watchful, but over the course of weeks I soon became comfortable sleeping in the strangest places, dumpster diving and walking around in filthy rags.

Finishing up the newsletter at the community center today, it could have been any day. Nothing really especially memorable. People came and went. Meetings happened or didn't.  But then there was an incident. I don't want to mention specifics on here, even though I have a tendency to overshare, I will say it could be/have been a sexual assault lawsuit.

The event caused a lot of tension. Mostly because there was a lot of confusion surrounding how to react. A lot of anxiety. From me, I noticed a lot of anaesthesia and mental withdrawal. Things were resolved but I can't say for certain I will remember this event in the future. I only hope that if something important happens I'm not too traumatised to respond.

1 comment:

muzuzuzus said...

I hope that you explore what DID happen and really bring it out to consciousness Oz!!
I have only just found your blog. I know you had one before but had thought you had not being down on. I am loving your posts man.
"I noticed it when I was homeless, sleeping along the Columbia River. At first I was persistently watchful, but over the course of weeks I soon became comfortable sleeping in the strangest places, dumpster diving and walking around in filthy rags." If possible I would love a deeper insight of what you mean by this?

I also completely gell with what you say. My schooling was beyond a nigtmare and it is also numb and big blocks of it I can't remember, which I presume is because of trauma! Buty like you I remember clearlt what I was doing say of 9/11, Waco, etc etc etc.