Keywords: PTSD Flashbacks.
The experience of time changes drastically when you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Trauma.
Events, people or circumstances can suddenly trigger an emotional response that brings the emotional residue of your experienced trauma right to the surface in the here and now. Often, it is very difficult to distinguish that your trigger and the emotional responses that come with it relate to your experienced trauma of the past, as your brain projects the danger almost perfectly onto the situation or person(s) at hand in the present.
PTSD Flashbacks and Reenactment
If you can start to see where your emotional responses might be disproportional to the situation, this will help you to bring awareness to those responses of the residual trauma. Thereby, this awareness can give you the incentive to make a serious attempt to work through it.
Often, it is very difficult to distinguish that your trigger and the emotional responses that come with it relate to your experienced trauma of the past, as your brain projects the danger almost perfectly onto the situation or person(s) at hand in the present.
PTSD Flashbacks aren't always visual in nature. Very often it is emotional states that resurface and take over and seem to take you back in time to where that emotional state was dominantly present. The trouble is that your present state of mind gets hijacked by those PTSD Flashbacks emotions and become your reality in the here and now. This can happen through triggering circumstances or dealing with others, but can also happen on its own.
Ways towards Resolution and Working with PTSD Flashbacks
One of the important “safeties” a trauma therapist needs to provide during counseling sessions is to make sure that you as a client are able to tap into the past in order to carefully relive some of your experienced trauma, while at the same time keeping one foot in the here and now.
I often talk about this as holding a dual state of awareness.
The therapist can help you to keep one foot in the here and now by reminding you of the room that you are in, through voice and reassurance, and by drawing your attention to your body sensations. When the emotional responses of your traumatic residue do start to get too intense, it is wise to take a break and continue later on once you feel more regulated.
A good therapist should monitor you constantly, and consciously help you to move between activation, and safety and regulation. Through moving between activation and regulation, you are building up resilience to stay with what is. Resilience, and thereby containment, will help you help to process your emotional residue.
How are you dealing with PTSD Flashbacks? Leave your comments below.