Lightning bolts of flashbacks and disturbing thoughts

JayBro

Registrant
Hello everyone,

Since I started taking an SSRI again but in a low dosage in January, my symptoms have largely abated. But in the last month it has been more common that I exhibit some of my disassociating from before with regards to dating sites. I think that it has been having negative consequences on my psyche again. Lately I get lightning bolts of memories from my abuse, of sketchy stuff in normal porn sites and news stories which have retraumatised me, of sex dates which were in many ways like me going through my abuse all over again. I get these shocks of disturbing memories and thoughts, guilty and panicky inner monologue, all while I am in the middle of doing something completely unrelated. It winds me and I find it suddenly difficult to breathe; it is a similar feeling to when you are running and then all of a sudden come to a halt. My heart is jumping and I am winded.

I just need to get this out there. I am still on several waiting lists for therapists. I am real scared because I was starting to notice progress and I don’t want a repeat of last year’s nightmare. I am so easily triggered now.
 
Sorry to hear you're feeling frightened at the moment Jay. Great you posted this. You might want to post something in the Male Survivor forum. I stumbled on this but don't ordinarily visit this forum. It seems a pretty slow place. You'd doubtless get more support if you posted where folks are more fully engaged. Keep breathing my friend... slow, easy breathes. And keep your mind from wandering into unsafe neighborhoods. We're all here for you.
 

JayBro

Registrant
Thank you for your reply. I will certainly see about posting more often in the areas. I just wanted to initially articulate these feelings as I am a victim of child sexual abuse imagery and many of my flashbacks and guilty feelings are tied into that. I am glad though, that you took the time out to read it and show your support. That means a lot to me. I am still struggling and today has been particularly difficult.
 
This is painful territory for sure Jay and we can use all the support we can get. Opening up to these experiences of trauma can be very evocative. We need people who understand the pain and confusion of it so hopefully we can stop doing the self-destructive things we've been drawn to in our efforts to soothe ourselves. When we stop running away and stop hurting ourselves, we can begin learning healthier ways to heal those wounds. You're in the right place, but of course, you know that since you've come for some time. Glad MS is here for all of us!
 

OnceInnocent

Registrant
Hello everyone,

Since I started taking an SSRI again but in a low dosage in January, my symptoms have largely abated. But in the last month it has been more common that I exhibit some of my disassociating from before with regards to dating sites. I think that it has been having negative consequences on my psyche again. Lately I get lightning bolts of memories from my abuse, of sketchy stuff in normal porn sites and news stories which have retraumatised me, of sex dates which were in many ways like me going through my abuse all over again. I get these shocks of disturbing memories and thoughts, guilty and panicky inner monologue, all while I am in the middle of doing something completely unrelated. It winds me and I find it suddenly difficult to breathe; it is a similar feeling to when you are running and then all of a sudden come to a halt. My heart is jumping and I am winded.

I just need to get this out there. I am still on several waiting lists for therapists. I am real scared because I was starting to notice progress and I don’t want a repeat of last year’s nightmare. I am so easily triggered now.
im so sorry you are having this happen.
I have had the same things almost all my life and had no idea what it was. 2 years ago I hit rock bottom and went to counselling. I was so ridden with flashbacks that I could barely be in the same room with another man. I wound up doing emdr and it has helped me so much. im not 100% but I have flashbacks rarely, like maybe only once every 3 months or so when things get really rough.
u are right about the porn and random sex. it seems to only retraumatize me. so im done with that stuff.
u sure are in a tight spot. but u have our support, bro.
 

JayBro

Registrant
Just an update on this topic: on Friday I was sitting in a train and across from me was a man whose body suddenly reminded me of disturbing memories related to the abuse and re-triggering stuff I saw afterwards. In that moment I was trying to calm myself with grounding techniques that I learnt. It worked to a relative degree and later, once I got to my destination, I forgot about the event and the flashbacks that it invoked.

Later this weekend, on Saturday, I was disassociating a bit and did something that triggered me again (a date with another guy who reminded me of my abusers). I was in complete zombie mode and felt like I was watching a film. Again, I got back home and continued with tasks at hand and this got me back in the present. Keep in mind, Friday's experience wasn't at all on my (conscious) mind. Sunday rolls around and I am doing ok, I participated in a pride event and had some people pat my bottom without me seeing and of course consenting: I momentary snapped, yelling something like "leave me alone!" and shoving the guy's hands away (this happened from two different people within 10 minutes). I felt a bit bad because I usually have zero aggression in me, but also somewhat proud that I stood up for myself for once and defended my boundaries.

Tuesday morning I had my therapy appointment and told my therapist about both incidents. He was encouraging of me defending myself and not being afraid to push someone's hands off: he asked me to think about what would have triggered me for Saturday to be a day of disassociation and I remembered Friday's incident. It is so simple, yet so profound. I am becoming more aware of how and I have been behaving in certain ways and my where my reactions and drives are coming from. It was a great feeling, both of self-compassion and of self-worth and control. I am of course still quite wobbly, like a new born colt, extremely uneasy and clumsy, but it was a validating feeling. My therapist has suggested I journal about my triggers. Has anyone else done this? I need to get better at only grounding myself in the moment, but of eliminating or reducing the subconscious effects of a trigger in the days and weeks thereafter.
 
Top