Friday, September 29, 2006

Reality of emotion

I was working on an essay recently about “what is reality”. I didn’t quite get done with that when comments from 2 meetings collided with those thoughts. Yesterday I was at an “Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk Conference” that I and my Suicide Prevention Task Force catalyzed. This morning myself and another speaker talked with our County State’s Attorney folks about sexual abuse (I have been doing child sexual abuse evidentiary exams as a volunteer physician for 6 years) and rape.

A similar point came up at each of the meetings: As a survivor of someone who has died by suicide “you will never be the same again, but you can survive and even go beyond just surviving” and as a survivor of rape (or sexual assault) “you will never be the same” again. You will feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings. You will feel anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness. These things are true in both instances. That is reality. Emotions are reality, but you can survive “and even go beyond just surviving”.

I had been writing that people were reality. That people are “messy”. They have strings attached and connections and connotations. They are “funny”. They incite thoughts and words. They have baggage. They are what they are, reality. But as I thought through the things that came up at these meetings, I have decided that these statements pertain to emotions just as much as to people. I think I lack the “words” to write about emotions, particularly the emotions that are dredged up by the “experiences” I discussed at my 2 meetings.

“Reality, what a concept.” (Robin Williams)

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