Some time ago, I blogged about how brushing my hair triggered my PTSD from the birth of my second daughter. Not too long after her birth, I chopped all my hair off. It’s long again and I am finally okay with brushing my hair but still mindful of how long I brush. I make every effort to brush only as long as necessary, forcing myself to put the brush down and walk away.
Today, for the first time in over five years, I am listening to Linkin Park’s Reanimation.
Why is this significant?
This is the album I listened to the day my five year old daughter had surgery for her jaw at just 9 days old. I took the MP3 player into the sleep room at the Children’s Hospital right outside the NICU, curled up, cranked it up as loud as it would go, sinking blissfully down into the rhythm of the pulsating beats and the angst of their screaming voices. Thing is, I sank so far down I did not want to come back. I yearned to stay there, hidden, safe, with their angst. Lost in the darkness. Because there, there I did not have an imperfect newborn. There, I was just a soul moving to the rhythm. Nothing was wrong. I was not angry. I was not sad. I was NUMB. I wanted to be lost forever in the solitude of peace which existed amidst the digital beats, the persistent piano tones and haunting echoes behind the remixed rhythms. My womb, my saviour, my peace. I clung to the MP3 player until my knuckles were stiff, refusing to let go, closing my eyes to sink deep beneath the surface of reality.
But today, I sit here, each song echoing into my ears, my soul, my heart, and I am shaking as I type. Breathing deep through pursed lips and wiping away tears. This is music. This is just beats. Just rhythm. Just voices. This is NOT my daughter’s surgery. This is NOT the pain I felt five years ago. It’s not. Today I am letting all of this wash over me and turning it into the music it’s meant to be, not the hell it used to be for me. Today I am not numb. Today I am feeling. Today I am listening. Today, I’m singing with the words. I’m dancing to the beats. I’m reclaiming the music for joy instead of pain.
Today, I win.
Today, I refuse to let this music trigger me any longer.
It’s taken me five years but I’m finally strong enough to refuse to let this beast control me anymore.
Not easy, but necessary. A step toward the new me. Toward the healed me.
Why am I sharing this with you? To let you know that yes, healing takes time. It’s a process with each step presenting itself as you are ready. If you falter, don’t despair. The step will come. You’ll overpower the step with strength from an unknown place when the time is right. It won’t be easy. But it will be powerful. And once you’ve done it, you’ll look back and see just how far your journey has brought you… and how much strength it has added to your life.
Own it instead of letting it own you.
Lauren, what a moving and beautiful post. You’re really such an amazing writer. Your strength is inspiring to me. Being able to face past pain can be so hard but it can also be healing. Thank you for sharing your heart. xo
Thanks, Cristi! This was a very tough post to write but a necessary component to listening to the album. It’s all about reframing and owning that which hurt you in the past. Felt SO good to say goodbye to the pain this album has carried with it for entirely too long.
I’m so glad you were able to listen again and work to get through it. Reframing is a great way to put it. Music can so easily get connected to past events, I have a song that comes to mind that I have trouble listening to bc it’s connected to a friend’s suicide attempt in college.
Linkin Park is my favorite band. No matter what has gone on in my life, they always seem to have a song to fit it.
Listen to Iridescent from their newest CD. I think it might just be what you need if you’ve never heard it before. Chester really can sing to your heart.
Thank you for writing such a beautiful post. I’m proud of you. 😀
I’ve missed them so much for far too long. Their music always spoke to me and then THAT happened. I’m glad I listened today and will definitely listen to the song you’ve suggested. Thank you!
Good for you – for doing it and writing about it. So many, many (hugs).
Thanks, Mama. 😉 (hugs) right back atcha!
Triumph over PPD is a powerful thing! I’ve been working on a similar post called Ghosts of Anxiety Past, but it is taking me awhile to get the feeling across. Anyway, I totally get it. Hugs!
Thanks for commenting! It’s a hard feeling to get across. I almost didn’t write this post but am glad I did – writing it helped me get through it more so than just listening would have done.
“I’m reclaiming the music for joy instead of pain.”
AWESOME. When I first started reading that paragraph, I started to bristle at the notion that it’s “just” music, but reading on, I understood exactly what you meant.
It’s frightening how appealing and tempting the numbness can be…
I’m so glad you’ve been able to love music again. <3
Thanks! I know what you mean when you say you started to bristle at the notion that it’s “just” music because I am a music FIEND. Music is so much more than “just” anything to me. It’s experiences, moments, captured through notes and voice. Most of them good but some of them, like this, so dark. So to reclaim it as something good is amazing. To have it shed that darkness makes it okay to be “just.” 😉 But it is so much more now. It’s victory over the darkness. Which is just amazing. 😉
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