My flashbacks have been more intense lately. I am remembering things long forgotten. Feelings long-lost and hopes once well smothered. Some are painful and sad, some are more like a twinge of regret or nostalgia. Did you know you can still be in love with someone you haven’t known or spoken to in ten years or more. I didn’t I thought those feelings were well and fully buried.
Some of these things make it hard to function. They muddle up my thoughts and distract me from my centered, grounded self. Some of the worse memories and flashes (because there is a difference) make me jumpy and I find myself flinching or looking behind me. I hate those. I know they are not real. Well, not anymore. I know I am safe where I am and I hate that the last few years have added traumatic memories to the large amount I already have.
Some memories are smells. I will remember smells from a time or place long past. Even the smell of certain people will come back to me. These are not too bad, mildly disturbing. I will sometimes look for the source of the smell. They are not all bad like food cooking or the smell of wet grass. Some are very bad like the smell of old spice or alcohol breath. Now you must understand that most of the times these smells are not really there. This is called a sensory flashback.
I sometimes find myself lost in a memory. I kind of lose track or where I am or what I’m doing but I know that I am remembering. Whether the memory is good or bad I understand that it is not happening now. These memories bring back feelings some good some bad. Sometimes they bring on shame or fear. I am able to manage the emotions from these types of memories and feelings because they are not currently happening and the feelings are just memories of what I felt at the time not how I feel right now.
Then there are memory flashbacks. They are very intense. They can feel like bad things are happening to me again, right at that moment. These can cause physical sensations like body memories of what happened. So your body and mind respond like it’s happening again. These can be scary, sometimes I will not know where I am. A lot of the time these come in the form of dreams. To wake up in a dark room not knowing where I am thinking bad things are happening to me can be incredibly frightening. I have been known to scream or lash out. These are the worse because they can include all the senses and happen anytime. Trying to ground myself and bring myself out of these kinds of memories can be a great challenge. It can also be very frightening to people around me.
This is what I say to myself, I am good, I am safe, I am strong and I am loved.