Things have been pretty good around here. I don’t know why, but since my partner accompanied to a therapy session a lot of my hypervigilance stuff has gotten dramatically better. I hardly ever flinch when she touches me anymore, which used to happen almost every time. Of course, nobody ELSE can touch me, but really she is the person who really matters. So this is a sweet triumph. 

I continue to struggle with the fact that I have so little memory for what happened to me. I know that if I accept that it happened and try to heal accordingly, it shouldn’t matter. But it just angers me that I don’t even know what happened to my own body. I feel like I should have the right to my body’s history. I’ve decided to start looking for some clues because I want to know. I found some old photographs when I was cleaning out my childhood bedroom a few months ago (my mother very graciously allowed me to wait until I was finished with grad school to do the big cleaning, even though I moved out a long time ago!). There is one in particular that I looked at and didn’t initially recognize myself. There are huge dark circles under my eyes, I look shell-shocked. Blank expression, thousand yard stare. Awkwardly posed between my brothers on a couch; the youngest is a baby and the other also looks tense. How I wish I could have been the only one to be abused so he didn’t have to take it. Seeing that photograph was jarring because it was taken in the house in which it happened (my father moved around a lot, needed a lot of houses to show everyone he was perfect, but I remember that it happened, at least some of it, in that house). I did not look like myself. I wonder what happened to that girl the night before.

My stepmother keeps all of her day planners, has them going back as far as the early nineties. Scrabble scorecards from 1988. She has offered to let me go through them to see if I can pin down a date or range of dates when I think things happened, see if maybe there was some sort of party or there was company in the house. I appreciate this, but I don’t know how helpful it will be. What I really want are old photographs. That girl in the picture had clearly been traumatized. I wonder if there are others like it, where I will see a sad girl and realize with a tug in my gut that that girl is me. I think when I see my stepmom in a few weeks for my wedding, I will ask her to send me some pictures. I hope that seeing something visually will help jog my memory.

Does anyone else have experience with trying to remember hidden traumas? I would be interested to hear any tips or strategies that have been helpful.