Past traumas coming back to haunt me

Postby EGR » Sun Dec 26, 2021 9:19 pm

Sorry, this is a little long. I recently had a memory pop back into my head and I can't get it out again. To explain, I need to tell a couple of stories:

Story 1:
When I was a toddler, I was in a day care center. They were potty training me and my classmates. Rather than positive reinforcement, they used shaming and punishment. Having an accident meant getting yelled at, paraded around in front of classmates in only a diaper and sitting in time out. One of the policies of this wonderful place is that you could not go on field trips unless you were completely potty trained. I remember they use to take me to the front of the building to watch all of my classmates get in the van to go on their field trip. I still remember the door to the van sliding closed and the van driving off and leaving me behind.

Story 2:
When I was a teenager, I was on a mission trip in Mexico. On the last day, I got distracted taking pictures and the van I was supposed to ride back to the hotel in left without me. Keep in mind, there were only 8 of us in this van and we had been riding in it all week. We all got to know each other, and it should be obvious if someone is missing. Also, it’s not like we set a time to meet. They just climbed into van and took off without telling me. This van also had one of those sliding doors like the one from my day care. I barely managed to get in another van before everyone left and I got left behind altogether. I remember crying in the shower back at the hotel and feeling depressed days afterward. I never found out why they left me, I was too shy to ask.

I seemed to get over the incident in Mexico, and I hadn’t really thought about in years. Then a couple of months ago, the memory came back, and I’ve been obsessing over it. I keep replaying it over and over in my mind and my mind’s version keeps expanding on the original, coming up with fictional versions:
• They did leave me behind and I got heat stroke.
• I tried getting in another van, but they refused to take me.
• I got robbed walking back to the hotel. And so on…

It’s as if my brain is scrutinizing all possible outcomes. So why is this happening after so many years? I understand me being triggered by the event because of the similarity of what happened when I was little. But why now? The only thing I can think of is that a couple of months ago, I started using a CPAP and I've been sleeping more deeply. I know correlation does not always equal causation but ever since my sleep pattern changed, my anxiety and depression have been come unpredictable.

Also, is there anyway to get a clearer picture of story number 1, like through hypnosis? All I have are vague memories that I have to put together like a puzzle with missing pieces. Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Dec 26, 2021 10:40 pm

EGR wrote: Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.


In your opinion, what are the specific goals that you are incapable of accomplishing in life due to these stories? Are you unable to graduate from university, are you unable to be successful in a career path, or unable to develop an intimate relationship?

How do you think these stories are holding you back?
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#2

Postby EGR » Sun Dec 26, 2021 10:58 pm

I wouldn't say these events are holding me back in the practical sense. But they are intrusive thoughts. My brain keeps rolling them around and overanalyzing. I don't know if this is important, like I'm missing something, or there's a mystery to solve; or if this is just my brain seizing on this to avoid some other issue, though I'm not sure what. I have the basic needs covered, but I don't have many close friends and no relationship. This did not bother me in the past but working from home has exacerbated whatever feelings of loneliness I may have had. It just seems odd that I keep focusing on this Mexico memory. I can't shake it. Thank you for replying.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Dec 26, 2021 11:44 pm

EGR wrote:….or if this is just my brain seizing on this to avoid some other issue,


Avoidance of some other issue would be my guess.

To the extent our minds are engaged with current goals or future focused, it becomes more difficult to entertain intrusive thoughts. It is a sort of self-handicapping or learned helplessness. I’m not saying there is a 1 for 1 translation, but it seems reasonable.

You mentioned a CPAP machine. That often suggests the need to lose weight or put in effort to be healthier. Might that be something you are avoiding?

You mentioned few close friendships, no relationship, and work issues related to staying indoors. There is plenty there that you might be avoiding.

Both stories are about social anxiety driven by the desire, the need, the want to fit in or at a minimum be accepted. It takes effort to socialize and it sounds like you are avoiding that effort.
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