Friday, October 30, 2015

Flashbacks Of Trauma

If you've been through traumatic experiences in your life, then what I'm writing here probably will not be anything new.  Flashbacks are not fun.  Flashbacks suck.  Flashbacks pop up in life when you least expect them and they try hard to kick your butt.

I have personally done a lot of work to get past this stuff, but every now and then when certain triggers of life hit, they come on like the rushing water of a flooding river that just burst through a dam.

For a long time, purple was the color that left me hiding and whimpering in the corner.  It took years to fully understand what the purple represented and when I did, I almost put my fist through my front door.  Yes, the memory was horrible.

There were times that I got flashbacks of pains in my body such as a swollen face in the middle of the night.  It would actually feel like someone had just hit me.  It would swell up so much that I would have to take medications and put ice on it to get the swelling to go down.  This would happen in the middle of the night when I was asleep.

I've struggled with intense moments of itching that I never thought would end.  They left me in tears wishing I could just end my life because it would not stop.

I've had rashes that were brought on by memories coming up that I had buried so deep.  The rash got to the point where it covered my entire body and it took a long time before the actual memory came back to me.  I still remember the tears I cried that day upon this realization.

Lately, I have the flashback images of a gun being held to us and my mom.  It was the monster's way of controlling us and making sure we obeyed his every command.  I can barely write the words I just wrote.  The sadness fills me as I do.  It is a deep sadness and one that I just want to hide from as if it doesn't exist.

I know there is the false memory thing out there that some rail against.  I realize that happens, but this is not that.  This is different.  I never try to bring these images up, they just happen.  I never try to create anything about them, they are just there.  Most of the time, very few people know about some of these things I experience.  They are not false memories.  They are flashbacks.  They are horrible!

As humans, we are very good at numbing and hiding from that which we endure.  When experiences become so traumatic, our mind tries to protect us by disconnecting what is going on.  It is still stored in the mind and in the body, but not necessarily something we can easily connect with in our life.

For those that go through it from child abuse victims to survivors of PTSD and war veterans, flashbacks make it a challenge to live fully in life.  There are treatments like Unified Therapy that help to move past it and reclaim your life.

I can't say I'm fully healed because I think healing is a process, especially when you've been through all that I have.  You can't do all the healing in one moment because it would overwhelm you and your brain.  Healing is one layer at a time.

For me, I know first hand what trauma does.  I was paralyzed by a Conversion Disorder and it was all I could do to come back from that point.  When the Conversion Disorder started, I had absolutely no recollection of anything that I went through.  Sure, I knew it was there, but I was so disconnected from it.

I don't think you have to relive traumatic experiences in order to heal.  I believe you have to find a way to release those things as they come up.  However, they need to be released both from the mind and body.  It isn't just about re-traumatizing yourself with a repetition of the story.  It is about truly going in and reclaiming all parts of your life so that you can become more than you are today.

Blog Post And Images (c) 9/22/15 by Don Shetterly

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