I can’t regulate just now. I can’t calm down. I don’t really know why. I’ll tell you what the feeling is, or at least what the loudest of the feelings are: It is shock.

I didn’t understand when I started this process that shock was an important emotion in processing trauma and that it needed to attended to also. I assumed I would be dealing with fear, anger, maybe shame, maybe sadness. Shock kept coming up and I dissociated it. I shoved it aside in order to deal with other things, never addressing the shock. I think it’s been in the last few weeks that I began to understand shock is really important.

Shock is a part of the traumatic memories: many traumatic events were immensely shocking. They were shocking even when they were things I could see coming or when similar things had happened before. It was shocking to be face-to-face with a mind that would do such things, that would find them normal and natural and not shocking, or that would even take pleasure in them.

It is also often my reaction now. There is this immensely painful surprise in seeing what my life was like—whether it’s from seeing how dreadful it really was or from learning about the small details that reveal an entire world I did not know about. And it cannot just be ignored.

I think I had a misconception—that our culture has a misconception—that relates to dissociative experiences. This misconception is that the mental function or self or whatever—the ego perhaps—that has set the dissociation in motion is the same one trying to manage life as the person “in front” most of the time. If that were the case, none of this would be shocking, because although I might deny what had happened, I couldn’t actually not know. It would feel familiar once I had given up the habit of denial.

Oh, but it’s not like that. Integration is one wtf after the other for me. Some parts of me know—otherwise, I would never find out about—but for “me,” for Ash “in front” it is a total surprise. It is a surprise even when I know, even when the evidence is very solidly know, because really how can it be?

Consequently, regulating shock is really, really crucial for moving forward, and I don’t know if I’m very good at it even now. I came up with staying (physically) warm and that was sort of my one trick. And now I don’t really know what to do.

But today I am shocked and I am not even sure by what. I had the thought somewhere in the morning—I think it was triggered by praying—that I could be a Christian without being evil. This might not make sense to you, but it makes total sense to me as something that needs to be thought.

And now what I have is a little voice inside screaming, “They hurt her! They hurt her!” I don’t know who “her” even is. Or what to do. But I know I am shocked, and I need to bring down the shock.

Also, I need to teach for three more periods.