In the previous post I spoke about how sometimes all you need is a willing pair of non judgmental ears to hear what you have got to say.
Now comes the hardest part of all. To have the courage and the guts to share your inner most feelings or your deepest darkest fears with someone. Any painful incident is shoved away in some corner of our brain because we don’t want to relive it at any cost. The hurt, the pain, the anger, resentment, angst… Oh you get the drift. All the negative emotions that we feel are never welcome in our lives. And to relive all of that voluntarily is a thought that most of us would shudder at.
I have an analogy that many would find extremely weird but hey, each of us is different. I tend to compare two most unlikeliest things in order to explain my point.
I compare an unpleasant incident to drowning at the sea. I know that drowning is unpleasant enough but… Hear me out.
Imagine you are out in the sea rowing a boat and suddenly you find yourself thrown out of the boat by some unforeseen force. Suddenly you are at the mercy of the waves. All around you monstrous waves are crashing about.You are feeling extremely insignificant in face of the ferocious strength of mother nature. You have a few options.
i) You just stay put and do nothing. You let the waves do whatever they want. Call yourself helpless and sink to the bottom of the ocean, never to rise again.
ii) You wait for some miracle to happen. Maybe hope that the waves will wash you to the shore. Or maybe someone will spot you and come out to rescue you. Either ways the chances are extremely slim.
iii) Third option that you have is, you fight back. Despite knowing that the odds are against you, you fight back. You try to swim back to the shore.
To people who choose either of the first two options, I have nothing to say. To those who choose the third option… Well… Your journey back to normalcy is about to begin.
(P.S. : Here I am comparing reliving your worst memories in a bid to lessen the negativity attached to them to drowning at sea. I have absolutely no idea about what it is actually like when you are really at the mercy of waves. I don’t know whether you have any options in such scenarios, or the only option is to sink to the bottom of the ocean.
i) When I say do nothing and sink to the bottom of the sea, I mean, you dwell in those negative emotions. Store them inside you and do nothing to get rid of them. Let them poison you from within and turn you into a negative person.
ii) Wait for someone to rescue you, means wait for someone to realise that you are going through a tough time and then try to get you out of it. So I say the chances of it actually happening are extremely slim as people are going through their own shit. No one has the time to get you out of yours.
iii) To fight back is to actively do something in order to get rid of the negativity.)
So, you decide to swim back to the shore. Though it is by no means easy, you strive hard to reach the shore.
You take a deep breath and start swimming towards the shore. It is costing you every ounce of determination that you have to keep going, but you can see the shore now, and that is what that keeps you going. Safety is just a few feet away. You keep swimming, stroke after stroke, eyes riveted towards the shore line.
And then after struggling for what seemed like an eternity, you finally reach the shore. Safe at last.
The next day when you wake up, do you feel scared?
Yes. But today the fear that you feel is not the mind numbing and body paralyzing kind of fear that you felt yesterday when you were thrown at the mercy of the waves.
Would you go out rowing?
Definitely not today. Maybe sometime in the future.
Do you feel insignificant while looking out at the ocean?
Sure. But the feeling of insignificance does not scare you out of your wits, paralyze your mind and body and stop you from thinking clearly.
So what has changed today? The ocean is still the same, you are still the same. Then what has changed?
The only thing that has changed is that you are no longer in the midst of the ocean fighting for your life. You are out of the crisis now. And even though the memories are still sharp and painful they are memories now and not “the reality”. You might wake up at night, screaming because you just had a dream about it, but never the less, it was just a dream NOT A REALITY.
The process of healing has begun.
Whenever you remember that incident you will be able to look at it from a little distance. And as time passes, the memories will begin to fade slowly. They will never go away entirely, but they will no longer be razor sharp in your mind. And as that happens, the distance from which you are looking at the incident will also increase.
There is a difference between feeling the pain and remembering the pain. When you cut your hand, you feel the pain. But when you look at the fading scar you remember the pain. Very soon, a day will come when you will be able to look at that incident with a very neutral perspective. Remember it like you would remember some not so great adventure of your life. Probably worth remembering but definitely not crying over.
One day you will be comfortable enough to actually examine those fading memories and try to understand what actually went wrong. Like examining the memories in a pensive. You might see some pattern or maybe get some insight about what really happened.
But for all of this to happen, first you will have to go through the painful process of reliving the whole thing. Only then you will be able to get out of the pain and look at that particular unpleasant incident with some distance.