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what do you *do* with the content of your flashbacks?

sidptitala

Confident
Hi to anyone who reads this.

I am interested in hearing other's experiences about this. When you have flashbacks, what do you do with the information in them? When I have flashbacks to stuff in my adult life, it's all stuff that is pretty familiar to me, as in I know I experienced it at the time. But there are things from childhood coming back that are completely new information. And I don't really know what to do with it all. Do you write it down? Do you tell someone like a therapist the details? Do you try to figure out what it means?

So far my only strategy has really been to avoid these images/feelings as much as possible- but I do recognise that's increasing their power.
 
Do you write it down? Do you tell someone like a therapist the details? Do you try to figure out what it means?
For me? I do the first 2. I journal about it (to help shift the emotional toll), then tell my T next time I see them.

I don’t worry too much about what it means - it’s a flashback. Something has triggered my brain to go over that memory (figuring out the trigger is immensely helpful - helps me be more prepared the next time that trigger appears, and also allow me to work on reducing my response to that trigger).

But in the moment? When the flashback is occurring, or gas just passed, I ground. Grounding gets my brain out of the past, back into the present, so I can get myself regulated again.
 
Avoidance is a fantastic and brilliant strategy. Until it doesn't work anymore and then it is overwhelming to deal with everything you've been avoiding coming out.
It's hard.

Just to clarify things, are you asking how to process it? Or are you asking that and also, as it's new information, if it's true /changing your perception of reality you had?

I do exactly as @Sideways says. I wrote about it here. I take it to T. I feel all sorts of things.
I then can get stuck in it and scared and helpless feelings etc. So finding healthier ways to process. Trying self care and trying exercise, whatever helps to remain healthy.

It can be very unsettling having new information about what happened to you.
 
I’ve written down the things I was hearing in languages I don’t speak. It has been a fascinating/horrifying adventure in translation.

Come to find? My flashbacks are fawking eidetic.

Google translate doesn’t help, my spelling phonetically is too off. But? Native speakers not only translate WHAT I’m saying, but tell me the accent I’m speaking in. It’s weird as f*ck.
 
since i reached the point @Movingforward10 mentions where flashback avoidance doesn't work any more, radical acceptance and processing have been my primary thing "to do" with the content of my flashbacks. since i have lost the avoidance/repression habit, i have begun to wonder if they can be useful as learning tools. awareness of their content has helped me avoid more than one incidence of repeating herstory. no big drama. just a clue from my subconscious that there are better routes available.
 
I too journal and then at some point share with T. Some things I haven’t been able to share my brain feels they’re unmentionable.

When I journal I’m willfully pulling every possible detail up. Somehow it helps because when I leave a detail out the flashbacks seem to intensify whereas once committed to paper they seem to go away, at least for long periods of time.

As far as finding meaning, nope. They’re events that took place and if I could get into the mind of my abuser so they could have meaning…I wouldn’t. Otherwise the only meaning I can find is realizing we live in a f*cked up world will truly sick people.
 
hi, i've been dealing with flashbacks for over a year, all from repressed childhood trauma. biggest thing that's worked for me is training my brain to respond by embracing the suffering of my younger self with love and compassion. it's hard bc you just want to put it back in its box. but i started making myself to say affirmations in the moment until they became automatic. i tell my younger self that i see their pain, they aren't alone, i can hold it now. i express gratitude for the opportunity to finally bear witness to my suffering, feel it, and let it go. i think that's important. it doesn't feel natural or easy at first but scripts help. when i'm not triggered i will write a script for myself for when i do get flashbacks, or for paranoia or certain core beliefs/cognitive distortions that turn into ruminating thoughts. i journal it out sometimes, too. i do more of that lately. go for walks, get myself a soda, treat myself well. telling a trusted person can be good too, like a therapist. good luck and hope this helps.
 
@justaperson that is so helpful, thank you for sharing that.

Avoidance is a fantastic and brilliant strategy. Until it doesn't work anymore and then it is overwhelming to deal with everything you've been avoiding coming out.
It's hard.

Yeah, I think i am now learning that. To answer your question, I suppose I am asking about how to process it? I don't usually share the details with a therapist, but I'm wondering if maybe I should push myself to.

awareness of their content has helped me avoid more than one incidence of repeating herstory. no big drama. just a clue from my subconscious that there are better routes available.
I understand this too. I think it's even the opposite for me sometimes- a strong feeling about something (for eg a child in danger) that i can somehow articulate leads to flashbacks and increased awareness of my own past.

Some things I haven’t been able to share my brain feels they’re unmentionable.

Yeah, this is what keeps me from both journalling about it and mentioning it too. A feeling that it doesn't exist if I don't feel it or say it- that by saying it I make it exist and should be ashamed of that, idk.

When I journal I’m willfully pulling every possible detail up. Somehow it helps because when I leave a detail out the flashbacks seem to intensify whereas once committed to paper they seem to go away, at least for long periods of time.

That is really helpful to hear.
 
I think it's even the opposite for me sometimes-
i agree with my drinking buddy, willie shakespeare on this score. "there is nothing in life either good nor bad. 'tis the thinking which makes it so." everything in life cuts both ways. when this particular phenom leads to more flashbacks, et al, i take it as a marker that more healing is needed in that particular wound.

be gentle with yourself and patient with the process.
 
Hi to anyone who reads this.

I am interested in hearing other's experiences about this. When you have flashbacks, what do you do with the information in them? When I have flashbacks to stuff in my adult life, it's all stuff that is pretty familiar to me, as in I know I experienced it at the time. But there are things from childhood coming back that are completely new information. And I don't really know what to do with it all. Do you write it down? Do you tell someone like a therapist the details? Do you try to figure out what it means?

So far my only strategy has really been to avoid these images/feelings as much as possible- but I do recognise that's increasing their power.

Hi. Not sure if this answers your question, but I've been working with creative visualization for filing bits of emotional memory away for later examination. The visualization that works for me is of a long hallway with many doors that can be opened or closed when time and emotional resources are available. Sometimes it helps. It seems to help separate and distinguish traumas so that their emotional impacts don't resonate off each other. Hope that helps, it's simply something that helps me some of the time.
 
Your questions do you write it down yes. Question tell someone yes.
I myself write it down look at what was written down. My Doc stated brake it down in my case there are a number of questions on why I am having flashbacks. I find friends with me that I have turmoil with. Then my problem of not communicating with them. My Doc tells me look at one part maybe why I didn't communicate. Once step to solve the whole picture. This has been helping me over the last couple of years. It takes time to solve each and every problem. My you find just little help in these words.
 
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