March 13th, 2007


Weekly Thought Stirring: Flashbacks (public)

In our thought stirring questions, we've discussed traumatic memory, but this week we'll focus specifically on flashbacks - the intense invasive versions of traumatic memory that almost all survivors experience at one time or another in our healing.

A flashback is invasive - meaning that it's not a thought or memory we consciously choose to recall. There can definitely be triggers to flashbacks, but again, we're not making the conscious choice to have that memory re-play for us, it's like someone just pushed the "play button" in our minds. Whether or not we want to remember it at the moment, it comes up.

But for each of us, our flashback experiences are as unique as how our mind stores traumatic memory. Sometimes survivors will have long, almost movie-like connected sequences of visual flashbacks but no audio, while others experience flashes of audio and visual which are disconnected, while still others experience flashbacks only via audio or even as body memories - where you can remember the physical sensation of the abuse or the emotions relating to the abuse, but have no other memory recall.

Even just being able to identify our flashback style can help us to express those memories and process them. Many survivors forget that it's okay and normal to have flashbacks be disjointed or disconnected - so I thought it would be a great thing to discuss and talk about in this community so we can see that others experience similar things - both in the disjointed nature of our flashbacks, and that sometimes the most random things can trigger one!

This week's questions are:
- Do you have flashbacks? How frequently do you have them?
- Are your flashbacks usually triggered, or are they usually at random?
- Do they tend to have more of a visual, auditory, or physical focus to them?
- Are your flashbacks more disjointed or are they more connected and flowing?

- Is there anything you've done that has helped make your flashbacks less disjointed?
- Is there any trick or coping skill you've learned to be able to calm down or lower the intensity of the flashbacks when they come up?

(no subject)

In the past few months, I've really started healing a LOT. It's amazing, really, I thought I'd never feel any better than how I had felt. But recently, I've started to feel this burning desire to help others who have been through the same sorts of things I've been through.

I'm not sure how to, though. I mean, I'm only fifteen. What can I really do to help?

Any ideas?

-Rachel Grace