Just keep swimming

by Andrea Elizabeth

I guess it will take me a few days to get over my emotional investment in the Rangers and my last dissapointing Pysanky egg so that I can engage in reading and/or another Pysanky egg. Meanwhile, it is easy for me to watch PBS.

Last night there was a pretty engaging story about elevators. The emotional hook was provided by the experiences of a man who was trapped in an elevator for forty-something hours, and a lady who has a phobia of them. The man who survived the Twin Tower collapses was okay, but the brief footage was all that was necessary to evoke a distanced, but voluntarily recollectable trauma. Back to the lady with the phobia. She had gotten to the stage with her therapist that she was able to actually try riding in an elevator for the first time. Once the doors closed she started to say, “They’re not opening. They’re not going to open,” right before they would open. This kept happening. She never trusted that the doors were going to open. The therapist said, “we can’t change the symptoms, we just make them ok.” This is why I don’t go to therapy. I know they wont change my symptoms, and I’m functional enough so that I can keep putting myself out there. But I find the goal of making these symptoms ok with me, ridiculous. Yes we have to learn to live with and accept pain in our lives, but to say its ok is a silly mind trick. I think it’s better to say that it wont last forever. Hopefully.

I wonder if there was trauma in that lady’s childhood that made her fear being trapped. Relief must not have come soon enough. A person can reach a point where they lose hope. The people who were supposed to care didn’t care enough and they can’t be trusted. That’s the point the guy who was actually trapped came to. There is security camera footage of the whole forty-something hours of him pacing, pushing the buzzer, prying open the doors where the number 13 was emblazened on the shaft wall, laying down, etc, and no one saw him or paid any attention. He got $200,000 in a settlement with the elevator company and the building’s sercurity company.

So can we tell people that pain wont last forever? I sometimes think there is a special grace for people who are abused or neglected. That they’ve already gone through enough hell and will be comforted in Abraham’s Bosom someday. But abused people sometimes grow up to abuse or neglect others, what about them? Lord have mercy.