Childhood My voice sounded wrong

Madwomeninabox

Learning
Hello I was really triggered in therapy today.
I have never had a flashback during therapy before. My therapist actually said she had never seen someone have a flashback in therapy before. I actually felt kinda bad because I freaked out. I don't even remember or know exactly what I did during but I "came back" and was crying and shaking and hugging myself.

And she tried have me do grounding exercises she asked me if my feet were on the ground and I got really scared like it was my abuser telling me what to do. I said I couldn't move and then I got more scared because my voice sounded really really wrong.
She asked my to describe the room around me. I tried but as I spoke more I told her the color of the walls and the carpet I recognized what my voice sounded like. It was me but I sounded like I did as a child. I asked her if my voice sounded strange she told me just to keep saying things in the room. It was so scary because I recognized everything but it was like I have never been in this room I have no idea how to explain that. Eventually I got more grounded and my voice returned to normal.

I asked her if I sounded strange again and she said I was talking very slowly. And I felt like I was talking really quickly so this was surprising. I told her I sounded like me as a child and she said I was having a flashback.

Basically I'm just wondering has anyone else ever experienced this? In my head I sounded like me as a child but I didn't in real life. Also I felt super small even though I'm not. It was really scary on top of the really intense flashback.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
Yeah, it's happened to me. It really spooked me too, on top of the trauma flashback itself.

It's a moment of regression and depersonalization wrapped up in a flashback. It happens. You are not crazy or broken, your brain just had a flashback and you relived something awful. You are still you and your therapist handled it the right way - by grounding.
 

Madwomeninabox

Learning
Yeah, it's happened to me. It really spooked me too, on top of the trauma flashback itself.

It's a moment of regression and depersonalization wrapped up in a flashback. It happens. You are not crazy or broken, your brain just had a flashback and you relived something awful. You are still you and your therapist handled it the right way - by grounding.
Ok thank you. I really appreciate your comment.
I have never experienced anything like that before.
I genuinely was wondering if I was me. I appreciate you saying that. I don't know how to explain that question, but the fact that you pointed it out makes me feel like that must not be that abnormal of a reaction.

What is regression? I can Google it but if you have a ptsd answer that may be helpful. I have heard about it in DID but I have ptsd and didn't know that was a thing that happens.
Like what is happening that I feel like I'm not me as I am any more but sound and feel like myself as a child?

Also ya I really appreciate my therapist that's why I feel kinda bad I freaked out on her.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
Regression is shifting to actions or behaviors consistent with an earlier developmental age in order to cope with stress. It does not mean you have DID. (That was one of my questions after my experience.) People under stress will regress - and with reliving a childhood trauma, it makes sense your brain would shift to acting and even internally sounding like that child.

Just like there is a spectrum of other symptoms - there is a spectrum of regression. This explains other versions of regression: Understanding Regression Psychology | Betterhelp

In flashbacks, the brain dissociates from the here and now and relieves an event of the past, and people will act as if they are reliving that past. I ran and hid in a shower and curled up like a small child. Something I did during the trauma.

I have an older friend who is a combat veteran. There was suddenly a loud sound and he regressed form being 70 back to 19 years old... and dove for cover snd yelled BOMB. He later described how he really felt he was back to being that 19 year old again... and acted and felt inside himself accordingly.

During another flashback I spoke and to me, I sounded super odd, fast, and young. My therapist said I was different but not fast, sluggish. That's the dissociation. Several trauma therapists confirmed I didn't have DID. It was a regressed moment in a flashback. I felt so small inside, it was so strange to experience... No one here can diagnose if you have DID or not, or really sort out that side of it - that's what the professionals are for - but what you describe can be entirely consistent with a PTSD flashback alone.

The feeling of the voice being wrong, not one's normal self, etc, that can be a flavor of dissociation called depersonalization, I have had that symptom sans the flashback. Super weird in my head, doesn't sound normal, but on the outside, I sound normal and ordinary to others.

One of the common theories many trauma therapists have about why this happens is the idea that when going through the trauma, the event gets encoded into survival memory, into the primative survival parts of the brain, along with the behaviors and experiences with it, rather than integrated with the higher levels of processing in the brain. The brain holds on to it as a survival mechanism. Basicalky, that flashback was your brain suddenly going DANGER and then switching back to that survival memory and experience in order to have you act in a manner to keep yourself safe. It's like the memory is stuck there, in a way. Many trauma therapists will approach it as a memory to integrate with your life experience now... to get it unstuck so that way if it gets triggered again, all of yourself can respond to it now rather than just that stuck reaction from when the trauma happened.

I may not be explaining this well, and it may be as clear as mud. In the end, go gently. Flashbacks are a sign symptoms are high and any way you can lower general stress levels and engage good self care will help the symptom level go back down and help work through this experience.

Nothing to feel bad about. It's something to learn from and work through - and it's a sign you had to courage to work on a trigger topic and risk some difficult stuff coming up in therapy. Of all places to have a symptom pop up like this, therapy is just about the best spot. You worked with your therapist to come out of if and you are working through it. Much to be proud about there.
 

Madwomeninabox

Learning
Regression is shifting to actions or behaviors consistent with an earlier developmental age in order to cope with stress. It does not mean you have DID. (That was one of my questions after my experience.) People under stress will regress - and with reliving a childhood trauma, it makes sense your brain would shift to acting and even internally sounding like that child.

Just like there is a spectrum of other symptoms - there is a spectrum of regression. This explains other versions of regression: Understanding Regression Psychology | Betterhelp

In flashbacks, the brain dissociates from the here and now and relieves an event of the past, and people will act as if they are reliving that past. I ran and hid in a shower and curled up like a small child. Something I did during the trauma.

I have an older friend who is a combat veteran. There was suddenly a loud sound and he regressed form being 70 back to 19 years old... and dove for cover snd yelled BOMB. He later described how he really felt he was back to being that 19 year old again... and acted and felt inside himself accordingly.

During another flashback I spoke and to me, I sounded super odd, fast, and young. My therapist said I was different but not fast, sluggish. That's the dissociation. Several trauma therapists confirmed I didn't have DID. It was a regressed moment in a flashback. I felt so small inside, it was so strange to experience... No one here can diagnose if you have DID or not, or really sort out that side of it - that's what the professionals are for - but what you describe can be entirely consistent with a PTSD flashback alone.

The feeling of the voice being wrong, not one's normal self, etc, that can be a flavor of dissociation called depersonalization, I have had that symptom sans the flashback. Super weird in my head, doesn't sound normal, but on the outside, I sound normal and ordinary to others.

One of the common theories many trauma therapists have about why this happens is the idea that when going through the trauma, the event gets encoded into survival memory, into the primative survival parts of the brain, along with the behaviors and experiences with it, rather than integrated with the higher levels of processing in the brain. The brain holds on to it as a survival mechanism. Basicalky, that flashback was your brain suddenly going DANGER and then switching back to that survival memory and experience in order to have you act in a manner to keep yourself safe. It's like the memory is stuck there, in a way. Many trauma therapists will approach it as a memory to integrate with your life experience now... to get it unstuck so that way if it gets triggered again, all of yourself can respond to it now rather than just that stuck reaction from when the trauma happened.

I may not be explaining this well, and it may be as clear as mud. In the end, go gently. Flashbacks are a sign symptoms are high and any way you can lower general stress levels and engage good self care will help the symptom level go back down and help work through this experience.

Nothing to feel bad about. It's something to learn from and work through - and it's a sign you had to courage to work on a trigger topic and risk some difficult stuff coming up in therapy. Of all places to have a symptom pop up like this, therapy is just about the best spot. You worked with your therapist to come out of if and you are working through it. Much to be proud about there.
Thank you so much.

That makes sense. I never have had DID brought up by a therapist. and I have never thought I had it. I'm glad I'm not the only one to wonder that though.

That's really good to know. It was really scary and I'm so sorry you have gone through this too. I would not wish this on anyone. At the same time I love this form because I never feel like I'm alone.

Thanks for explaining that this could be a part of ptsd and make sense. Because honestly I was really thinking I was loosing my mind or at least my grip on real life. It's been really hard to convince myself of reality.

I still feel really disconnected the flashback was so real and then real life feels so fake. I have had a really tough few days. I'm glad to kinda have a reason. Like ptsd can explain this I'm not actually in danger or actually still a child or anything.

It 2021 I'm an adult and I have ptsd from things that happened in the past. And it all makes sense and I'm ok.

I'm still struggling but it's easier when at least there feels like there is a explanation.
 
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