I’m constantly smacked with the sudden remembrance of something bad that once happened to me.
It’s the kind of thing that anyone can understand, at least to some degree. We’ve all had that feeling of trying to fall asleep at night and suddenly reliving something embarrassing that happened weeks or even years ago. It’s one of the perils of being alone with one’s own thoughts. Quiet moments lead to reflection, and it’s not always about a subject that you want to reflect on.
But although that’s also something that happens to me a with a depressing regularity, it’s not quite what I’m talking about here.
What I’m talking about is just going through my day, attending to this and that and whatever else needs to be done, and all of a sudden I find myself severely bummed out about something that happened once upon a time.
It’s rare for this to come from an actual reminder of the event in question. Instead, it’s like there’s a blanket of storm clouds hovering just out of view of my consciousness, and all I have to do is turn my head too far in one direction and all at once they blot out the sun.
I wonder what that says about me. Maybe I’m just a generally depressive person, so of course my mind is drawn to revisiting the negatives in life. Maybe I don’t process traumas well, and instead of getting over them I just let them lurk in a corner. Maybe I’m experiencing memories in a perfectly normal way, but relative to everyone else I just happen to be a person who has more painful memories than I have happy ones. Or maybe it’s an anxiety thing- most of the things that bother me turn out to be anxiety things.
It’s probably some amalgamation of the four. Questions of the mind and emotions rarely have straightforward, black-and-white answers.
Which is part of the problem, I think.
You see, when I have one of these flashes of memory, I’m not just thinking about it. I’m in it. It’s happening all over again. Maybe it was two years ago or maybe it was three months ago, but either way, I’m feeling it again like it’s now. I’m not just replaying the conversation in my head- I’m having it again, sometimes helplessly saying the same thing I said before, and sometimes trying desperately to say something different, something that somehow makes it better this time around.
That’s what I mean, about the lack of concreteness being the problem. There’s no finality to these situations. You can always think of something else you should’ve said, something else you could’ve done, something you wish the other person had done because you’d have had a plan for reacting to it. You can look at it a million and one different ways and never truly be finished with it.
And I bet that’s why my mind never closes off these avenues. Why would it, when there’s always something new to be explored?
And, a more pressing question: How do you get closure on a situation that exists infinitely and ever-changing inside your own head?