I am quite an open person. As you can see, I share a lot of personal experiences through my blog and articles. Something I have been reluctant to share is my flashbacks I have experienced. They can happen at any stage when I least expect them. I had a stage of last year where I was suffering from them severely and they happened frequently when I was my most vulnerable in my relationship. I made a break through in therapy today with my therapist Estelle and I am sacred but also excited to tackle this very confronting issue I experience with her. I don't think any therapist has got it to surface as gently as she did today so I believe in fate and timing, so I guess my timing to work through this stage of my life is now.
A flashback, or involuntary recurrent memory, is a psychological experience where the individual has a sudden, usually powerful, re-experiencing of a past experience or elements of a past experience. These experiences can be happy, sad, exciting or any other emotion one can consider. The term is used particularly when the memory is recalled involuntary, and/or when it is so intense the person 'relives' the experience, unable to fully recognise it as a memory and not something that is happening in the present.
These experiences are so over whelming and intense that it will cause stress in your whole body. Just imagine a volcano erupting. My flashbacks felt like that, I could feel the pain coming to the surface and instead of accepting it, I use to fight against it and dissociate. The memory erupts and the emotions flow. It can be very over bearing.
Intimate moments for me were a powerful trigger for my flashbacks. I had horrendous experiences after sex. I didn't feel present in some moments with my ex due to these experiences which would make me feel more numb as I wanted that closeness. But as soon as we became intimate it would result in a trigger for me which is very saddening. It was never her fault I experienced that and I was fortunate enough for her to be as understanding as she could be in that very scary and confronting time of my life.
There is no escaping the flow of memories and emotions that come with a flashback. I have tried to run for it for as long as I can remember. Block it out, pretend its not there, say 'I am fine' card when in reality I was still thinking about it and dissociating when I did think about it. I realised this behaviour is more self destructive for me and I have reached point where I am ready to confront my traumatic past. When I confront it, it will able me to have those intimate moments without being destructive and accepting that I am in the moment instead of concentrating on my past. It will be a long and confronting road, but I am willing to work extra hard if it ables me to live the life I know I deserve. In the famous words of Flash Gordon himself, "This isn't happening, Dale. We're not here. It's just a bad dream". Except my bad dream is my reality and I must deal with it to move forward.