Anxiety · College Commentary · Personal

The double-edged sword.


As my fellow anxiety sufferers will understand, forgetting is not an easy thing to do. In a conversation with my boyfriend earlier when asked what I do when something is causing me anxiety, he replied, “You’d try to forget.” That got me thinking about what I remember and what I don’t and how that influences my mental state.

I usually can’t remember what I had for dinner a few days ago, or whether I have taken allergy medicine that day. I usually can’t remember what people said exactly, and sometimes I even forget if I’ve taken a shower already.

But I can remember the bad things, the events that caused me the greatest amount of distress.

I can remember the deterioration of my grandmother in excruciating detail. I remember her face changing, I remember how she went from recognizing me to not in a matter of weeks. I remember exactly how it felt to wake up to my sister telling me that she had died. I remember.

I remember the hurt when my roommate accused me of skipping class to hang out with C.H when my stomach hurt so bad I could barely walk. I remember how she brought it up at dinner one night in front of all our friends even though I had previously asked her not to do that if she had a problem with me. I remember.

I can remember how it felt to have a panic attack at college. How my chest felt as I was walking back to my dorm, how I couldn’t breath. I remember how I walked into my room and quietly walked over to my bed before collapsing on the floor. I remember crying hysterically as quietly as I could and how my face went numb, followed by my arms and my legs. I remember going to the hospital for a panic attack because at the time I had no idea what it was. I had never experienced anything like that before. I remember.

I remember those things every time I look at her face. When I pass her in the hallway of the dorm. I remember how my face went numb, and then my chest begins to hurt. I remember how while I was panicking she never came over to me to see if I was okay and after I got back from the hospital how she didn’t even bother asking me what was wrong. Every time I look at her, I get anxiety. Because? I remember.

I remember the first time I failed a college math test. I remember the guilt, and the embarrassment because I had really thought I’d done well on it. I remember how it felt to cry and feel worthless because I had failed. I remember.

However, I also remember the good things.

I remember beating C.H at air hockey,  I remember the first time C.H told me he loved me. I remember how it feels to hold his hand, how his long fingers cover mine. I remember how it feels when he curls around me as if protecting me when I’m feeling really anxious and sad. I remember his face and the sounds he makes when I tickle him. I remember.

I remember the time when my grandma had come out shopping with my mom, sister and I. I remember how my sister had scared her with a plastic snake. I remember all the holidays she spent at our house. I remember her nickname for me. I remember watching her do the chicken dance when I was little. I remember.

I remember how when I had that panic attack my friend T.C came to the hospital with me. I remember.

I remember what it feels like to have my parents tell me they are proud of me. I remember what it felt like to get my final grade in math last semester, I remember feeling proud of myself because I had pulled through to earn a B. I remember.

It really is a double-edged sword. What do you remember? What do you wish you could forget?



2 thoughts on “The double-edged sword.

  1. The nice thing about going to school far away from home is that the memory for a lot of my mistakes in the past aren’t triggered very often because I’m not around the area I made them. It’s the advantage of a fresh start with new people. However those memories often come flooding back either in my nightmares or whenever I go back home. Unfortunately it seems to be an unavoidable fact of life that both the negative and positive will always be remembered.


  2. I find that memory is less about the memory itself and more about your emotional attachment to it. Once you have the right environment, you can change how you feel about specific memories by meditating. I’ve pulled out a lot of intrusive thoughts over the years this way. Still got some left, but when you keep peeling the onion, things get better.

    Best of luck to you.


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