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When You Just Can’t Forget…

by | Sep 18, 2019 | #MeToo, Grace, PTSD, Survivor, The Year of Gratitude, Trauma

I feel restless today.

I’m itching to be somewhere where I’m not yet. I’m yearning for a place of healing where I have not yet reached.

The last several weeks I’ve been going through a rough patch in my healing journey. Some dark memories have been resurfacing a lot lately and I’m getting triggered far more often than normal.

It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. It’s painful.

I’ve said it over and over for a month now:

“I just wish I could forget.”

But you know what? I can’t.

And that’s ok.

A few weeks ago someone said the kindest, most freeing thing to me. “Trauma never fully leaves you. Healing takes a lifetime. God may be able to forgive and forget, but we can only forgive.”

I want more than anything to forget those memories — those particular words, those specific smells, and those certain touches. I wish everyday I could tear out the mental images of trauma that seem to be forever burned into my brain.

But I can’t. And that’s OK.

I’m realizing today that those can memories mean more. As much as they seem to haunt me today, I believe they will serve a different, good purpose, one day.

They will remind me of how far I’ve come. They will be a marker of what behavior I should and should not tolerate in the future. They will make me a better spouse and parent. They will be proof that God can redeem any kind of evil.

Meanwhile, I must be patient with myself for where I am in this moment. I still have work to do. I still have to revisit certain memories and untangle them.

It’s not enjoyable work. Processing trauma is hard and it takes time. Often it can take years.

But sometimes the only way to reach the other side of a fire is to walk straight through the flames.

If you’re in the middle of processing trauma, please be kind to yourself. I’m so proud of you, and you should be, too. Show patience with yourself. Keep your eyes on your progress, however small it may seem. And remember, the hard work of revisiting dark moments will be worth it eventually. ?



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About the Author

Emily Elizabeth Anderson is a Christian blogger and rising activist for people who have experienced abuse within a Christian environment.

After growing up in a fundamentalist cult for 23 years and experiencing childhood domestic violence, Emily began her journey to recovery in 2015 and eventually found Jesus to be her ultimate healer. She soon turned her passion for writing into a blog and her story has since been featured on several media outlets including NPR.

She married her best friend, Joshua, in 2020 and together they are passionate about educating on the realities of trauma survival and recovery, as well as supporting survivors they meet through their online community.

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