Fascinating article today in the Washington Post about how our minds sometimes dissociate during traumatic events. Thanks to Heart, Mind, and Strength for noticing it.
"Rachel Downing, a 58-year-old therapist in Frederick, often tells her colleagues the true story of a little girl who fell into a deep well while walking alone on her family's farm. After landing on a narrow ledge several feet below ground, she sat patiently, ignoring her scrapes and bruises, waiting to be rescued. A few minutes later, it seemed to the child, a firefighter pulled her to safety.
In reality, several hours had passed. The girl had no memory of feeling trapped, afraid or even worried. She didn't recall hearing the sounds of rescuers working frantically overhead to save her. Instead, the girl separated emotionally from the event, Downing says, because remembering her feelings of terror or how long she had been inside the well wasn't important. Surviving the ordeal was."
In post-abortion support groups, I have heard many women say, "I just don't remember that day" or "the last thing I remember is getting into the car to go to the clinic" or "I have a picture of myself laying there on the table as if I were looking at myself from the ceiling".
Rachel Downing, the therapist interviewed in the article, was herself the victim of childhood sexual abuse. She says that people who have experienced a trauma most often go to a therapist seeking help for depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder. She says that the road to recovery involves talking through the traumatic times, or as much of them as you remember.
I know that has been very helpful for me, to de-toxify the event by talking about it in a safe and nonjudgmental group although, like Ashli, I'm more someone who didn't forget any of the details, in spite of which a soul-pervading numbness and emptiness stole over me in the hours following.
If you've had an abortion and you read that paragraph, your reaction might be a sarcastic "I'd just loooooove to go to a support group and talk about that day. Whoo hoo! Sign me up!"
"When we stand in the middle of a lifestorm, it seems as if the storm has become our way of life. We cannot see a way out. We are unable to chart a course back to smoother waters. We feel defeated...and broken. Will that brokenness produce a cynicism that will keep us forever in the mire of 'if only' thinking? Or will we yield up that brokenness to the resources of One who calms the winds and the waves, heals the brokenhearted, and forgives all sin? The choice is ours".--V. Davis