The Ultimate Memory Storage Device – Why do I remember what I want to forget?

Brain plugged into a computerI will never forget where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. I watched the scenes play over and over again on TV and in my mind. Those images are burned into this ultimate memory storage device I have between my ears.

Some traumas create memories that are so intense, that is almost as if a flash bulb has gone off, forever sealing that image into your mind.

Now imagine you are a soldier constantly experiencing the adrenaline of fight/flight/freeze and you come home and those images of war never go away – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Or maybe you were abused or neglected by the very persons who were supposed to provide unconditional love, support, and safety, and you are forced to live and relive every one of those traumas when you are triggered by something as simple as a smell or color or tone of voice – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

That is why trauma-informed care is so important. That is why it is so important to give those who we serve a safe place in which to learn how to deal with reliving those traumas. That is why our practice of the Sanctuary Model is vital to recovery for those whom we serve.

No, Sanctuary does not work like the “Neuralizer” in Men In Black; you know when they told them to look at the red light and you won’t remember anything. But, we can help them to learn new skills to help cope with the traumas they have experienced.

Trauma informed care is not just important, it is necessary to the work that we do.

Rev. John Cobb is the Continuous Quality Improvement Risk Manager and Sanctuary Coordinator for Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

Learn more about Sanctuary at B&GH.

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