The body remembers

Written by Carolyn Spring
01 January 2008
The body remembers

I hate my body. It was there, always there, during the abuse. My mind went away but my body could not. My mind could forget. We parcelled up little chunks of our mind, bit by bit, and sent them off into dim little rooms where they could be forgotten and not heard. We didn’t want to watch, we didn’t want to see. But our body was there.

Our body remembers. It always remembers, and it doesn’t lie. Sometimes our mind looks on and we’re at war – always at war sometimes it seems – our body reacting like it can remember what our mind cannot. It pulls away, it arches, it hurts, it screams, it recoils, it goes limp, it aches with tiredness, it refuses to settle, refuses to sleep. It’s confusing. Sometimes, our mind can’t remember anything. Why is our body reacting? we think. Because our body hasn’t forgotten. It’s learnt to react and it just keeps on reacting. We’ve trained our mind not to react, to look away, to pretend we weren’t there, to pretend we don’t know. But our body doesn’t lie.

Sometimes our body talks to us. It tries to tell us stuff we don’t want to hear. Our body remembers what we cannot. It shouts about it, clamours to be heard. Our mind won’t listen, it won’t hear it. So our body hurts. Really hurts. Sometimes the pain is so bad, our mind wants to go mad. Literally mad. Anything but feel that pain. Our body shouts, shouts, shouts It hurts, it hurt! … It can’t have hurt, says our mind, because nothing happened. But our body doesn’t lie.

Every day our body hurts, every day it’s too-tired. Too-too-tired. Why is it so tired? thinks our mind. It’s got nothing to be tired about. It’s tired about a long time ago. It was so tired then, yanked out of bed, taken out, nasty things, nasty nasty things at night. It hurt, it hurt. Now again the body is telling us, it hurt. When they hurt us with knives, our mind wasn’t there. It couldn’t be there. But the body was there and it wants us to know. We don’t want to know. So we’re always at war.

Then if we don’t listen the body tells us again. Again and again. Pain, chronic pain, chronic awful unbearable pain. Every day. And smells, smells that can’t be there, sounds we can hear but we know can’t be there, that feeling, that weird yukky awful feeling on our skin, and our whole body cold and cold and colder even though we can’t be that cold. We can’t be that cold. The thermometer says it’s 28 degrees in here. We can’t be that cold. But the body is remembering, and it’s telling us that we were cold. And our body doesn’t lie. It doesn’t know how to lie. It just tells us how it is, how it was.

Our mind isn’t very good sometimes at telling what’s what. What was then, what is now – all a muddle, such a muddle. Our body breathes too fast, our heart going pitter-patter-pitter-patter too-too-fast. Sick feelings in our tummy, numbness in our fingertips, wet feelings where we don’t want wet feelings. Our mind doesn’t understand. Maybe there’s something wrong with us, maybe we’re poorly. Maybe we’re not. Our body doesn’t lie. It’s just remembering.

It remembers the pain as bad as it was then. Sometimes we cry, sometimes we scream, sometimes we pass out because the pain just hurts so bad. But there isn’t a knife now, no-one’s hurting us now, there’s no blood now. It can’t be hurting this much. Our body is just remembering. Then slowly, bit by bit, slowly-too-slowly, our mind remembers too. Horrible things to remember. Heart-hurting, brain-searing horrible things to remember. But when we remember, when we say it, when we tell it, then suddenly our body stops remembering. All of a sudden, like a dam has burst. All of a sudden it stops shouting at us, because we’ve listened. Our body doesn’t lie. It’s just remembering. I’m trying not to hate my body.

8 Comments

  • Daisy Dee on 25 January 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Exactly

  • Gabriela Morris on 28 April 2020 at 4:09 pm

    This is powerful. Thank you for having the strength to face this and giving everyone hope for healing.

  • SW82 on 24 May 2020 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve just joined because my body and spirit remembers. Thank you.

  • Debbie Terry on 30 October 2020 at 12:34 pm

    It is so powerful, i am a little speachless after reading this. Thank you.

  • Nancy Wolf on 12 March 2021 at 3:44 am

    Thank you for your courage to express what many others may have thought but not put into words.

  • Clifton Cummings on 13 March 2021 at 7:57 am

    This brought us to tears, we don’t want to remember, but, there are times we hurt so bad, and we don’t understand, we don’t want to remember, but, the body wants us to remember! We hurt so bad at times. The body won’t let it go. We don’t want to remember, but we hurt so bad, we must remember, or we will continue to hurt, unbearable pain that we can’t handle anymore. We’re tired of all the pain. We’ve considered ending it all, just to stop the pain, but we can’t. Our brain won’t allow such an easy escape.

  • Reb B on 6 May 2021 at 10:31 pm

    Thank you

  • Melissa S on 19 May 2021 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Much of it had me in tears…not because the things you said upset me…but I think it was a sense of relief! At long last, someone who 100% gets it!! Almost every thing you said is so relateable to my own experiences, there’s things I could’ve said myself! That’s with regards to the trauma and it’s effects on me throughout my life. As for the healing…I’m working on it…and your podcasts have given me new hope. I feel like there is now the possibility to turn my life around…to take back control of my thoughts etc…instead of the trauma memories still controlling me at the age of 44! I can’t thank you enough Carolyn and I’ll be sharing links to your podcasts etc, on my social media accounts, where I’m an advocate for mental health and child sexual abuse awareness!!

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