Back Where It All Began | A Quick Journey to a Shattered Past

Back Where It All Began | A Quick Journey to a Shattered Past post image

“A past filled with panic attack symptoms, major depressive disorder, and separation anxiety. If you think I’m going back to where it all began, you’re crazier than I was. I don’t even want to think about it. Go there? Not a chance.”

Well, our friend is certainly adament. And you know what? I get it. I mean, who really wants to return to scenes of emotional and mental “crimes?” Pretty treacherous turf, actually. But I gotta’ tell ya’, journeys to our shattered past are well worth the time and expense for a bucket of reasons.

You guessed it. I took such a journey this past weekend. Oh, it was a quick one, but the positive impact will be looong lasting.

I’d like to tell you about it.

Separation Anxiety

To your left is Holden Hall, on the campus of Michigan State University. That dormitory is “back where it all began” for me. But, let me bang home a point. No doubt, it’s “back where it all began” in terms of the explosion of my particular emotional/mental volcano; however, it all truly began many years prior. Hmmm, all that gathering seismic activity before the glorious eruption.

So to the dorm. I wasn’t a drinker until I attended a “kegger” there on my very first day on campus. Boom! And then there was my first (and last) dance with cannabis, and the all-out panic with derealization that followed. And Lord knows how many times I sat at my dorm room desk with a mind so scattered I stood no chance of tending to the academic business at hand. Absolutely shattering to the max – with no clue as to what was going down.

And the lava continued to flow as my pals and I moved off campus going into our junior year. Double Boom!! Now it was about epic panic attacks, E.R. visits, more derealization, depersonalization, drowning in alcohol, and – well – all out hell. It was definitely on.

Think the M.S.U. campus is one of my shattered past landmarks? Good golly, Ms. Molly!

So, okay, it was some 40 years ago. Still, I would choose to take a quick journey back? In fact, I did. I remain a Spartan at heart, and decided to attend the spring intrasquad football game. It was only going to be an afternoon trip, but the memories of my shattered past paid a visit. Dang, our brains are amazing, aren’t they? And never forget, it all goes back to our cave-dwelling ancestors and the liabilities of forgetting perilous situations. Those saber-toothed cats could be downright unforgiving.

Well, the first order of business was the hour-and-a-half drive there. No sweat. And this is just one of the reasons it’s so important to embark upon such journeys. I can’t tell you the number of times anxiety overwhelmed me on those countless trips to school and home. Pure torture! Um, but not this time around.

Upon arriving on campus, I made my way to Spartan Stadium. All clear there, as well. But, really, why not? Heck, I was drunk out of my mind anytime I made the stadium scene during my college years. Anxiety wasn’t an issue.

After the game, it was on to other past-significant sites on campus. There was Holden Hall, the Audiology and Speech Pathology building, and several halls where I attended classes. All places of mega-shatter. However, now, all places of reflection and comfort.

Finally, the drive home – and the feeling of a job well done. I suspect I knew all along things would turn-out just fine. But, hey, nothing wrong with confirmation.

Gotta’ ask. Do you have landmarks of your shattered past? Could be places where panic attack symptoms ripped you apart, or the darkness of major depressive disorder enveloped you. Maybe where that lump-in-the-throat separation anxiety left you feeling woefully homesick.

Have you ever ventured a quick journey back?

Scared? I understand. But I also understand unfinished business can be haunting.

If you haven’t already done so, think about taking a journey to your shattered past. There’s so much to be gained. You’ll do just fine, and you’ll be all the better for it.


And now to all those Chipur articles of the past. Take your time – peruse.

  • Patricia Miller April 30, 2014, 12:07 pm

    That is a beautiful, thoughtful and powerful reflection on the joy of healing and remembering the journey we have taken. You evoke such strengthen and hope in your writing, and I love the challenge you present to stop being afraid of “places” that truly are not scary except for the demonizing we might opt to give them. Your wisdom comes shining through in the word pictures you paint.

    • chipur April 30, 2014, 8:33 pm

      Well, I’m humbled, Patricia – thank you. Gee whiz! So good to have you back and participating. Nothing like a bit of “wisdom” from real-life experience. Something I think we all can bring to the table. You take care…


  • Dr. Herby Bell April 30, 2014, 8:42 pm

    I agree with Patricia, a sensual delight with your creative visit to the realm of ancient fight or flight. I like the way you activate my observer by your reassuring, “Dang, our brains are amazing, aren’t they? And never forget, it all goes back to our cave-dwelling ancestors and the liabilities of forgetting perilous situations. Those saber-toothed cats could be downright unforgiving.”

    You had me back at UCSD nauseous and stumbling to class one morning to take a quiz having no interest or knowledge in the subject matter thanks to my unsustainable “calming” strategies the night before with AOD.

    Amazing how I’d trade peace-of-mind for a haunted head and heart all those years. Terrific, (so-to-speak) sage advice, Bill White. Thank you!

    • chipur April 30, 2014, 9:29 pm

      Always good to have you here, Herby. Can so relate to your UCSD recall. Had no idea as to why I was in college, other than because my parents teed-it-up. Finally had to choose a major after sophomore year. My roomie and I got all drunked-up, opened a course catalog, closed our eyes, and pointed. It was an audiology and speech pathology class – so we’d found our major. OMG, how silly was that?! Well, at least it’s nice now to have all (most of) the kinks worked out.

      Thank you for your visit, Dr. Herbeee. You’re a good guy…


  • Kyczy May 1, 2014, 11:20 am

    Places that trigger : shame, guilt, happiness, or sorrow: I have them all. All my senses, in fact, can bring back memories. I love your development here and the resolution that now all is well. I, too have made peace with most of the landmarks of my past (turned 29 on the 29th!!!) It is not just time, though, it has been work. And that is as it should be! I have to pay attention to my growth; as you obviously have, so you can share it. Thanks!

    • chipur May 1, 2014, 3:41 pm

      Hey! Hey! Nice to have you back, Kyczy. It sure is about time – and hard work, isn’t it? And, you know, I want to clarify something. Yes, all is well now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t continue to have my leanings. Still do, but manage well. Yeah, as you say, it’s about making peace. It’s good to share, isn’t it? Thanks, Kyczy…


  • Lisa Frederiksen | BreakingThe May 5, 2014, 10:15 pm

    I’m like Kyczy – shame, guilt, happiness, or sorrow – although there are songs and places that will take me slip-sliding away down those memory lanes. I agree with what the others have said – the way you told your story and the power it gives readers to know that with help and recovery, you can go back but not GO back and that going back is powerful because it helps you see just how far you’ve come! Thanks for another inspiring read, Bill!

    • Chipur May 6, 2014, 9:24 am

      Well, Hi, Lisa!
      Glad you stopped by and commented. Don’t know too many ways to avoid taking those strolls down memory lane. Even though we do all we can to live in the present, the past remains a part of who we are. So even if those pasts are shattered, there’s real value in checking-in once in a while. And as you point-out, what better way to see how far we’ve come.
      Always a good thing when you visit. Please come back…