Remembering the past begins with a willingness to face your demons. More than likely, once you have resolved to do so, you will remember one or more fragments of past events. Rather than jumping in all at once, dip your toe into the pool. Get a small notebook and write a few words that describe the event. It is helpful to write the date and time you are making the entry. For example, you might remember an incident where you were tripped in school as a child. You might write, “7/12/2012—James tripped me in math 6th grade.” Then leave it alone. Try not, at this point, to relive the event.
Over the next few weeks, more and more fragments will come to mind. With each one, make a dated short-hand entry in your notebook. The reason for handling your memories in this way is two-fold. First, if you were to delve too deeply into the first memories that come to mind, you might relive the trauma, and then not be willing to go any further with the process. It will be too painful and too stressful. Doing it this way, you’re forcing yourself to both gather the memories, and to detach yourself from them. The second reason is by recording brief notes, you are freeing your memory to release more fragments. You will find, over the course of a few weeks that you have collected quite a lot of memories.
You will know that you are ready for the next step when you have quite a few memories, and the frequency of new memories has slowed or stopped. Next, we’ll talk about what to do with your collection of memories.