Wednesday, August 22, 2018

In May of 2017 I wrote a piece titled, This is What It’s Like to Remember What You Can’t Remember. I wrote it on a bit of a whim as I was just trying to make sense of my own conflicted feelings about not having memory of my childhood sexual abuse. It was the most difficult thing I had written at that point, and I felt nearly as much fear about publishing the story as I did about launching Healing Honestly in the first place. It felt so daunting because up until that point, I was the only survivor I personally knew who didn’t have clear memory of their abuse. I was afraid that people would think that I were a fraud for calling myself a survivor, or even worse, find out no one else felt the same way I did.

Mindy from the office making "L" loser sign

It was impossible for me to imagine that 15 months later I would have so many other survivors in my life that I’m proud to call friends who are also struggling with the same questions of around their memory and trauma. It was impossible for me to imagine that 15 months later I would hear from hundreds of other survivors telling me their stories of trauma and memory and how they struggle with believability and internalized self-blame. And it was impossible for me to imagine that 15 months later I would have thousands and thousands of you visiting my website specifically searching for answers to their own questions about not remembering their sexual trauma and being uncertain of what that means for their survivorship and healing.

Rebecca Bloom singing that she definitely has friends

What I’ve learned from writing about not having memories of my sexual trauma

Here’s what I’ve learned these past 15 months: I am not alone. We are not alone. There are so many of us who have feelings deep down in our guts that something terrible happened to us and do not have a memory that clearly explains us to ourselves. We know in our bodies and in our triggers that we’ve experienced something traumatic. But our minds struggle without a clear narrative of what’s happened to us, and often we are filled with thoughts of self-blame and fear that we are making things up or overreacting.

Look how many of us are dealing with memory and sexual trauma

I get the extraordinary comfort of all your emails, messages and google analytics data to know how not alone I am, and I think it’s time you get to see it for yourself. I am not going to share stories that anyone has shared with me, they are not mine to tell, but what I am going to share with you is some data. It’s so rare that I rely on numbers for anything related to healing, but I think in this particular instance it can be helpful for you to get to see what I see. I share this with you not as some sort of expression of self-importance of my writing, but rather to demonstrate how good of company we all are in, because it isn’t about me, it’s about us. So here are some numbers:

Stephen Colbert saying calculators can do more than spell boobs

  • Since May of 2017 31,234 people have read This is What It’s Like to Remember What You Can’t Remember.
  • People spent an average of 11 minutes and 2 seconds reading the story, meaning it was what people were looking for.
  • 25,746 people googled looking for information on sexual trauma and not having memory and landed on the story.
  • Over 1,745 of you sent the story around to someone else.

Numbers as of August 22, 2018.

Lindsay Lohan from Mean Girls saying "the limit does not exist"

Remember, you’re not alone

These numbers are here simply as a reminder that you are not alone. There are so many of us. You are not crazy. You are not “making up” your trauma.  You are not “overreacting”. You pain is real, and your pain matters. Most of all, on those hard days when you are struggling to believe yourself know that I see you and I believe you.

Tracee Ellis Ross pointing at us

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