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?