Sarah Polley‘s recently released book is titled ‘Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory“. One particular line stood out for me in the Winnipeg Free Press article and interview with Polley by Deborah Dundas:
“In order for my brain to recover from a traumatic injury, I had to retrain it to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered my symptoms.”
It resonated with me because of the experience that I shared in my recently published book, ‘Not Crazy, Just Human: Moving Through Trauma to Healing‘. In March of 2020, a shocking phone call from a friend about her son’s suicide triggered a trauma – a distressing memory – of a suicide in my life. What transpired was 14 months of physical and emotional pain. My body and brain seemed to ‘shut down’.
I ‘ran towards the danger’ during my EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). “This therapy involves focusing simultaneously on spontaeous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements.” (WHO Practice Guideline)
As we processed my distressing memories – or confronted them, to use Polley’s word – the bilateral stimulation allowed for the gradual desensitization of them.
I have not read Polley’s book yet, but I will. Even the subtitle has meaning for me: ‘Confrontations With a Body of Memories’. The operative word, I think, is ‘Body’, because that is where memories live.
Interviewer Deborah Dundas writes, “When I …remarked that the exceptional trauma she’s experienced in her life could have broken many people, she said she’s also been ‘absurdly lucky’.”
Polly responded by talking about the people in her life who have been there for her, making her life feel ‘charmed’, rather than hard.
In Not Crazy, Just Human, I do the same thing. The good humans in my life have been, are, and will continue to be, the ones who ‘anchor’ me back to who I truly am. I hope I do the same for them, as they ‘run towards the danger’.
At the end of the WFP article, Dundas quotes Polley, “I think the hard experiences you have early in life make you who you are and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. ” Dundas adds, “You become someone strong and resilient. If you dig deep enough, if you run towards the danger, as Polley does, the advantage might just be a life that, in the telling, makes a difference.”
I could not agree more!
Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!