Embracing The Past

Sign that points to the past and the future.
Image: Sign that points to the past and the future.

I’ve had what I call brain fuzz ever since I was a child. It’s kind of like the feeling of dissociating but accompanied with the overwhelming feeling of sadness. I have now come to realize that I get this feeling often when I am reminiscing about the past; mistakes that I’ve made, friends that I used to have, family moments when I used to be happy. These are just a few examples, but for me, they bring up a lot of emotions.

I tend to focus on the problems of my past in which I should’ve acted differently. Should’ve, Would’ve, Could’ve. As much as a I try to stop myself, it gets difficult. I’ve worked with my therapist to try to find coping mechanisms and I have even gone as far as to get a tattoo on my hand to remind myself to stay in the present and look to the future when I find my brain getting fuzzy.

As the holidays roll by, this feeling has become constant. However, although I haven’t been able to get rid of it completely, I’ve been able to find some good in it. We all make mistakes and we all have moments in which we should have or could have acted differently. A cringy moment here and there is nothing to be embarrassed about, and in fact those moments have helped me become the person I am today

That past fight with a friend that I regret getting into now reminds me to voice my frustrations and emotions earlier on to avoid a big conflict. It’s comforting in a way to know that you kind of have an encyclopedia of mistakes to look back on when you find yourself in similar situations. I may get sad still, but I’ve made it easier to pull myself out because I know those moments have passed and I definitely obsess about them way more than anyone else who was there.

My therapist says confidence is key, and it took me 2 years to finally realize that yes, it is. I was so scared walking around my neighborhood or campus or my job in fear of seeing my ex-boyfriend. We had ended things on very bad terms and it was in part due to my declining mental health and my inability to keep myself safe. It was a terrible time for me and he is a reminder of the horrible state that I was in. Seeing him reminds me of how he saw me.

Confidence in this scenario has saved me. I wake up, put on a cute outfit and curl my eyelashes. I walk to wherever I am going with confidence, and I always play my favorite music. I do not look around for him to make sure that we do not cross paths. I walk for myself and myself only. I don’t let my brain fuzz bring back the memories that would drag me back to where i used to be. I am so proud of myself for getting this far and being able to recognize this. Whenever I start to feel my brain dragging me back down, I remind myself of how amazing I truly am.

Do you often reminisce on your past? 
What are some healthy coping mechanisms that you use to anchor yourself to the present?

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