The first two months of autumn 1986, I met with Dr. Barone, a licensed therapist to address unresolved issues from my teen years. By early December the subject of discussion focused on more enjoyable topics: our kids, fly fishing, skiing, and camping. I felt refreshed talking about the people and activities I loved in life—a prelude to ending my last week in therapy.
After I finished giving the details of my wonderful life, Dr. Barone recapped with, "You’ve told me all about your current life and when you lived in Washington during your pre-teen and teen years, but not your early childhood when you lived in Idaho—before you were eight-years-old. Would you like to explore those early childhood years more?"
"Sure, yes. But there’s not much to tell."
"How about birthdays, vacations, school?"
"Not really. When I was four my dad taught me how to fly a kite while my sister was at kindergarten. It was fun until I broke the kite."
The first eight years of my life seemed to be misplaced somewhere in the back of my memory file. I was not aware of the seriousness of this dilemma. Dr. Barone suggested we meet for another week to pursue the matter further. I agreed.
Traumatic amnesia does not assume you have multiple personality disorder. It's uncomfortable to acknowledge when something like this happens. Lack of understanding the facts about how abuse wounds our physical, mental, and emotional health could throw a victim into confusion, shame, and fear. This in turn may keep you from seeking help to overcome traumatic amnesia. Many levels of traumatic amnesia can be overcome with the help of a trained counselor, psychologist or therapist. Medications and drugs do not have to be the first solution.
Be safe. Be accurate. Be brave.