. . . it's as if we are wandering lost in a desert, famished, delirious
set upon by wild lions, our minds blank with fear,
starving for a crumb, any morsel of light.
Barbara Hamby, "Thinking of Galileo"
I am going to start a new series here on PTSD Flashbacks. Several readers have written about this and I know from my own experience that flashbacks and intrusive emotions can be one of the hardest parts of PTSD to cope with. However, it would be impossible to tackle this huge subject in one post. I'm not exactly sure yet how many posts the series will include, but 5 or 6 is my best guess. Below are some of the topics I plan to explore. Please let me know if you think of other topics that should be covered and I'll add them to the list. Partly, I'm doing the series now because of reader interest and partly I'm doing it because I am in the middle of dealing with some potent triggers myself. More about that in a future post.
- How are traumatic memories stored in our brain?
- What are flashbacks and what triggers them?
- My own experiences with flashbacks - recent and in the past.
- What are the different types of flashbacks people with PTSD may experience?
- How can you cope with flashbacks?
- Will flashbacks ever completely go away?
Traumatic Memories and the Brain
As you can see from the list above, the first topic I plan to tackle is a look at how traumatic memories are stored in the brain. In fact, traumatic memories are stored quite differently than "normal" memories and this fact has a large influence on both the power and unpredictability of PTSD flashbacks. Despite the fact that flashbacks can be unpredictable, trauma survivors can anticipate circumstances, stimuli, and anniversary dates that may trigger flashbacks and plan accordingly. When it comes to PTSD flashbacks, ignorance is certainly not bliss!
Stay tuned for more.
Some of you may have noticed that I've changed the title of my blog. It used to be Sitting With Sorrow. However, as I've begun healing and feeling stronger, I felt that Life After Trauma was a more appropriate title. Of course, the URL remains the same.
On a lighter note here's a fun video.