Is it normal to never get visual flashbacks?

sickfaery

Learning
litterally everyone has that it seems and i never have, like litterally never.

I only get the mind thing, where you're back there re-experiencing part of it locked in your mind, with the emotions, 100% back there. or just like body memories coupled with the emotions & the physiological sensations, with sometimes smells, presences, exc.. but you're still in the present kinda (if that's even flashbacks?). the only visual stuff i get are intrusive images & the kinda thing where the intrusive "visual" isn't like just an image it's like kinda where you are in a way, like sort of a double reality.

anyways like i heard most people usually get full flashs & kinda confused why i don't, like my traumas aren't like remotely minor or anything so idk why
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
I rarely have visual flashbacks. Mine are like yours. Emotional and body memories. Like, you, I don't know why I don't have visual flashbacks, but the emotional ones are bad enough. So I'm not complaining. If you are seeing a therapist, you might talk about it with them.
 

Friday

Moderator
So normal that no flashbacks of ANY kind are required, much less one specific type. Moreover? Only ONE type of intrusive symptom is required... not all of them, much less all possible variants of any/all of them. Distressing memories, dreams, flashbacks, & 2 totally different kinds of reactions to triggers/stressors make up the list of ONE required intrusive symptom. You have at least 3 from just what you’ve written, including flashbacks. That there not visual flashbacks? Doesn’t matter one iota.

From the DSMV - Criterion B

B. Presence of one (or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred:
  1. Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s) Note: In children older than 6 years, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the traumatic event(s) are expressed.
  2. Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s). Note:In children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.
  3. Dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks) in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event(s) were recurring. (Such reactions may occur on a continuum, with the most extreme expression being a complete loss of awareness of present surroundings.) Note: In children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur in play.
  4. Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).
  5. Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).

 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
Yep.
I think the way PTSD is portrayed as being mainly anger and visual flashbacks that we can just ‘carry on over’ is quite confusing to both non sufferers and the undiagnosed.

I do experience visual flashbacks but only in response to one specific trigger . Understanding other sensory flashbacks and emotional flashbacks was a huge weight off my shoulders because I started to understand my behaviour more and could be kinder to my self and that already makes my environment - the environment that is my body - a little safer. And feeling a sense of safety in the same situation is a huge part of functioning .
 

Sadielady3

MyPTSD Pro
I have this weird thing where I'm triggered by a specific smell. I'm not even sure what the smell is (can't identify it) but when it hits, I have these horrible feelings of dread and significant distress. Most of my flashbacks are purely emotional and I still don't really know what memories they're connected to but the feelings are horribly familiar. I know they come from something in the past. Once in awhile I'll see events but this is rare compared to emotional flashbacks.
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
I don't understand the difference between emotional flashbacks and visual. Whenever I have a flashback I always see it as a memory in my mind.
I don’t know - but it might be down partly to the type of thinkers we are? Ie Do you think in in words or images or concepts or a mixture? If someone is a visual thinker , for example- it makes sense to me flashbacks would ‘visually experienced’.

there has been some fascinating though not very scientific social commentary on the different ways we experience ‘thinking’ in the last couple of years. Some people were shocked to learn that other people did not think like them!
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I don’t know - but it might be down partly to the type of thinkers we are? Ie Do you think in in words or images or concepts or a mixture? If someone is a visual thinker , for example- it makes sense to me flashbacks would ‘visually experienced’.

there has been some fascinating though not very scientific social commentary on the different ways we experience ‘thinking’ in the last couple of years. Some people were shocked to learn that other people did not think like them!
Yes that's interesting.😊
 

Friday

Moderator
I don't understand the difference between emotional flashbacks and visual. Whenever I have a flashback I always see it as a memory in my mind.
Memory = remembered (in your mind)
Flashback = relived (in the world)

Very much like the difference between daydreaming, and dreaming.

When daydreaming you can imagine yourself walking through your house, extremely vividly if you’ve got a good imagination, but when you’re dreaming? You’re actually walking through your house, in the dream.

S’why I tend to be pretty grateful for nightmares... even though they f*ck up my sleep & in all other respects they can f*ck right off... because at least they’re in bed where they’re supposed to be, instead of just coming on during my waking hours, when I’m trying to get stuff done. Like walking, talking, driving, etc.
 
I've only ever had one visual flashback and I still couldn't make sense of it. I have so little memory from the years in question that I assume my brain is still hiding them from me but is less adapted to keeping other sensory input from me so that's what I experience. I still feel weird calling them flashbacks especially when media portals it as the defining feature.
 
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