Flashbacks - *How* do you experience them - **TW*

Tom E.

I remember most of my abuse as if it was yesterday. Only toddler years do I have questionable memories. Once in a while I get a sharp intense pain in my rectum and then it's gone. I used to have panic attacks, but not for a long time now.


If I am in the presence of men or older boys I experience deep shame and cannot interact. If men look me directly in the eye I shake. I have tremendous anxiety often and haven’t figured out yet what triggers it. It is very difficult for me to have any kind of sex.
Before therapy it was mostly physical response in dreams, and visual flashes unexpectedly out of no where.

Six months into finally going to therapy and doing the work, my flashbacks have evolved. Brainspotting has made things much more graphic and fast, hard hitting would be the words I’d use. I DON’T like these! When we did EMDR, they would provoke flashbacks more drawn out in detail to where it is almost like living a dream while I’m awake and ime would escape me. Physical pain from dreams, where the memory of abuse will cause not only the physical response I mention above but the pain along with it.

Flashbacks aren't fun, actually they suck.
Thank you everyone for sharing and NC for bringing this up.


I haven't posted on this topic because I feel a lot of shame attached to it. But here goes...

My first major flashback was in the library.
I saw a magazine cover discussing sexual abuse. And instantly I was little and being abused, as far as I could tell I was there being abused it was so real. To my great shame I even had an orgasm. After it was over I sat down and was shaking. It really felt like I had just been raped. Fortunately, no one was in that part of the library.

I never have been the same after that. Years of avoiding any thought of abuse were over.
Now it was unavoidable. Now when I see a reminder I will be back being abused again sometimes for a split second sometimes for much longer. But it is hard for me to tell that it is not really happening. It feels real.
They are almost always followed by a bunch of suicidal thoughts.

The most confusing part is that because the abuse started so young and I was very adept at leaving the abuse in my mind. I have almost no memories of the abuse. I just have these awful flashbacks and nightmares.

Thanks for starting this thread. It is helpful to see how others are coping.
(((((Toad))))) Deep respect for sharing this with all of us. This is how healing happens... telling the truth. I'm glad you have support from a therapist and that you are engaged on MS. We all need each other. We're not alone any longer with any of this. The best to you as you unpack this material.
I have been fighting a cold/cough for over almost a month now, I am beginning to suspect that the "cough" may actually be a combination of a cold-related "cough" and a PTSD/Flashback-related "cough"

Kept me up all night. And coughing, especially by 3-year-old (and younger) me, was the only physical response I/he was able to make after each CSA abuse occurrence.