Dear John,

I’m wondering if you can help me. I have been to many therapists in the past … no one has been able to unlock what happened.

I remember snippets of a day when I was a small child. It was horrible and physically painful and I can’t piece together what it means. 

My parents never discussed it and would never allow me to ask questions when I started remembering. I have basically no other memories of my childhood. No birthdays, Christmases, special occasions … nothing and there are approximately three photos that I can recall seeing in print from a camera. And I don’t remember the days.  

I believe that it has partly cost me a 27-year marriage. He told me I was broken and refused to find out why.   

I don’t have healthy relationships in my life. None.  Everyday is an emotional struggle. 

I’m asking you if you can point me in the right direction. I am 51 and alone. I feel like I can’t move forward anymore in my life until I fix what is wrong. I want peace and happiness and to find joy in life. I have snippets of it but the unknown gnaws at me. 

Can you help me?

No Memories

Dear No Memories,

Let me first start off by telling you how sorry I am. And, I commend your courageousness for reaching out and starting the process. There is a quote by Rumi, “the wound is where the light enters.” I can explain a few things about trauma that may explain why you are unable to remember anything. When we encounter a physical, emotional, or psychological trauma, we dissociate to protect ourselves. It is a survival strategy when our mind is unable to process the pain of the events we are enduring. We can’t physically leave our bodies, but mentally and emotionally we are able to remove ourselves from that moment, compartmentalize it, and never revisit it again. Why? Because there is too much pain to process. Our minds are overwhelmed and flooded with emotion and thought, so we disconnect. The problem with unprocessed trauma is that it can resurface when triggered. Triggers are stimuli, known and unknown, that remind us of the event, e.g. a smell, a visual, a sound, a location, anything. It affects you in the present moment as if the trauma is recurring all over again. It can be terrifying, disorientating, and confusing.

There are therapists who can guide you into those unprocessed memories safely and help you retrieve those memories, and thus, integrate them into a congruent timeline. Understanding and naming these triggers is important to lessening their impact on your life. Processing these traumas is not comfortable, but necessary to become whole and free yourself from the automatic reactions that occur when triggered. You would be free from that automated pattern and would have the freedom of choice. There are other ways to access this trauma, and where I have decided to direct my training and healing efforts. You can access these memories oftentimes with psychedelic and somatic healing modalities. I work professionally with psychedelic and somatic healing at Greenlight Metamorphosis Center. As a physician, I work with ketamine, which is legal to prescribe and administer, but I have also worked personally with other psychedelics for my own inner healing.

There are also incredible programs, such as the Hoffman Process, which is a 7-day experiential program at the Hoffman Institute. They are incredible at defining and releasing core/root trauma and often many memories emerge as you create new space for your higher Self. I’d highly recommend their program; I am also a graduate.

This is a complicated question, but there are solutions and answers. You are definitely not alone, and even though you are 51, there is still plenty of time to heal. I am here as a resource if you need guidance. I trust you, I believe in you, and I commend you for taking this step towards your best self.

 With love and light,

John Moos, MD