Is it normal to never get visual flashbacks?


I've had intrusive memories flood in my mind where I see it. I have had a visual flashback where all of a sudden I was seeing the perp again. It was just for a flash of a second. Freaked. Me. Out.

I've had other flashbacks of other types - smell and a very specific weather pattern or type of wall can trigger it. Not just the memory but as if it's happening again here and now and not the current day. I hate it.

I have so trained myself to respond to any threat a specific way, that thankfully I am much of the time super calm acting but I am in survival mode. The worst is when the flashback shakes off and I'm back in this year and the emotions flood and then it's a battle to regulate regulate regulate.


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

In addition, there's no requirement of how often the instrusive symptoms need to occur.

During my diagnosis process, when asked about trauma-related nightmares, I replied with "Yes, but I don't have them often" - to which T immediately replied with "Don't need to".

I think, just as with flashbacks and other more "stereotypical" PTSD symptoms, it's a common misconception that one experiences those "all the time". Some do. Others don't. PTSD is a spectrum disorder and as Friday has pointed out, one needs to only have one or two out of a vast list of symptoms of the various criteria groups - or could have any random combination of multiples.

I don't think I've ever experienced a flashback. I'm not sure. Certainly not one that lasted more than fractions of seconds, if at all, and they've never been dissociative for me. More like random split-second hallucinations of a presence or a sound or a physical reaction - but always in the presence.