I had not experienced an intense flashback for quite some time. The little ones come and go, like minor aftershocks grown accustomed to from living on the fault line of child sexual abuse. I thought I moved away from the earthquake zone after completing EMDR treatment two years ago.
Last night, I shut my laptop at 12:20 a.m. After cleaning it with Norton Utilities, upon restart, Windows refused to load. I couldn’t get it to do anything. My Toshiba wouldn’t even work in safe mode. All I wanted to do was read blogs that I enjoy, give a bit of reciprocity, and go to bed. I was frustrated and tired.
I shut out the light and my head began to spin. That’s the best way I can describe it. Even thinking of it now I get dizzy. I thought my body was telling me to prepare to hunker down for “The Big One,” a 9.0 on the Richter scale. However, I ignored it. I thought, "I don't have those anymore. It's one of those little recurring things, it will pass."
And I got in bed.
It was there--all of it. The one memory I knew existed, yet could not retrieve.
I hate it.
I hate it because in that moment, I couldn’t keep from reliving something that my mind worked very hard at burying away in the Mariana Trench. I had no control of my thoughts. At a minimum, I was horrified and panic stricken:
A flashback is an emotional return to trauma. It is a type of memory so strong that it seems like you are actually back in the time, place, and situation you are remembering. In your mind, you may believe you are back at the scene of the assault. In your mind you may have a picture of the assault. This picture could seem like an image that is frozen in time, like a photograph, or it could seem like you are watching a movie of your life. (VADV)I hate it because I couldn't beat it. I was desperately trying to focus on the shadows on the wall, figure out what triggered this attack, but I couldn't:
Flashbacks happen when you are awake and can be triggered by almost anything: a smell, sound, taste, or touch. (VADV)
I hate it because my mind is too precious to lose. I had trouble discerning reality. I knew someone other than M was in our room. I just knew it:
Your brain believes each flashback is a separate incident and a real situation. Some flashbacks are so confusing that it gets hard to tell the difference between what is happening in the flashback and what is happening in the real world around you. (VADV)I hate it for M because he needs me today and I am not yet back to normal.
I hate it for my girls because I do not want them to be affected by this. It’s not theirs. It’s mine. I never want my father to have anything to do with them, even if it’s in the mere residue of my behavior.
I hate it for every little girl who is going to go to bed tonight and be terrorized by an earthquake.
I survived. The worst part was over many years ago.
I have a computer to fix and earthquake insurance to buy.
When I stand on moving ground, although I feel weak, my well-worn feet still hold me steady.
On with the day.
It's my life and I want it.
If you know any one who suffers from PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder),
support them in getting support.
Start here: National Center for PTSD.