WHAT IS A FLASHBACK?
A Flashback is when memories of a past trauma feel as if they are taking place in the current moment. A flashback may cause you to act as if the actual event is happening all over again.
Although temporary, whilst experiencing a Flashback it is difficult to connect to reality and although you may maintain some concern with the present moment, it is not unusual to to lose all awareness of what is going on around you and be completely taken back to the traumatic event.
Your senses remember and you can see, smell, hear and taste everything as if it is happening in the present.
A Flashback is not an intrusive memory. There is a simple difference.
Whilst in a Flashback you are actually reliving the past memory which means that you have temporarily lost touch with your current situation.
Whereas with intrusive memories you know where you are, but the memories keep intruding into your mind.
Unless you have ever experienced a flashback it is difficult to imagine how terrifying they can be, and the impact they can have on your daily life.
I have struggled for nearly 3 years with Flashbacks, often on a daily basis. They make my life extremely difficult, and I find them really hard to manage.
Having to relive the trauma I experienced all over again, and having to process it as my adult self is very distressing. On top of that I am always very aware of how people would perceive me if it was to happen whilst I was out, because with Flashbacks you often don’t know when one is going to occur.
That is why I feel it is so important that we raise awareness, and help people to recognise when someone is experiencing a flashback. Everyone needs to understand what Trauma really is and how it affects us.
WE ARE NOT MAD.
What is happening to us is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation that we were subjected to, by our abusers.
We have survived, only because our brains have done the amazing job that they did to keep us alive at the time and now we have to learn how to process that Trauma so that we can heal.
Flashbacks are just one of many difficulties that we have to learn to manage.
WHAT ARE TRIGGERS?
Triggers are responses to reminders of things that have happened to us.
They are natural and normal.
It is important to understand why we react to the reminders of our childhood trauma.
If an adult is afraid of something, it’s usually due to something that happened to them In their childhood.
The brain sends a warning of danger to the nervous system, long after the danger no longer exists. The body can react in very severe ways to a trigger.
For example, a trigger can cause projectile vomiting.
This is a normal reaction to an abnormal occurrence during childhood.
If your body reacts this way it is completely understandable. There is nothing wrong with you. Your brain is on high alert in order to protect you.