Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
I'm sitting here in my psychiatrist's office, and one thought keeps going through my head: "Wow, that smell is so familiar."
Don't worry, Sweetpea, nothing is wrong; I'm just here for a check-up. But for some reason, I keep having flashbacks of the PTSD kind as I'm sitting here. That fresh, new-office smell wafting through the place, the smell and sight of a fresh coat of cream-colored paint on the walls, the stacks of files lining the corner wall, the soft hum of music in the background, dim lighting. It all took me back today to the first time I stepped into this office in the spring when I was in the throes of that evil depression. And honestly, I can't quite figure it out. After all, I've been here since then, and it never bothered me. Well, I'm not saying it actually bothers me today -- maybe that's too strong of a word. I'm noticing it more today. It's making me remember all those emotions I was feeling at the time.
And then a few days ago, while out to lunch, I took one look at my mom and said, "Oh wow, hospital smell." She looked at me and knew exactly what I was talking about.
It was all too clear: The undeniable power of sense memory.
It seems our senses are always working overtime. Sights. Sounds. They all get stored in our subconscious as little pockets of time, ready to come out later and remind us of the past. And sometimes, like in my case, they reappear at the oddest of times, when we least expect it. Have you ever felt this way, Sweetpea?
But maybe it's good to have those types of sense memory wake-up calls every now and then. It helps us hold on just a little bit of the person we were while we look in that metaphorical mirror and see the reflection of the person we are today. And this may sound weird, but it sort of makes me feel as if I can connect with that person I was last year and at least try to reassure her that things are going to be OK. I look forward to making lots of sense memories with you, Sweetpea. Until we meet... xoxo
[Photos via Le Love]