TL;DR: I landed safely within minutes of being triggered.
Anyone with C-PTSD can agree that it is highly difficult to get through life without having their foundations shook to the core from being swept away by the emotional torrent that comprises a flashback. But what exactly is an emotional flashback, trigger, or episode?
Well it’s basically a painful memory that has anchored itself to the subconscious, which in turn means that it is extremely difficult to associate imagery with the feelings that arise. I.e. something happened in the past that was so traumatic to those involved (like a child) and thus it was left unprocessed and neatly wrapped before it was placed underneath the holiday tree for all to see.
So you’ll be rummaging around while minding your own business when all of a sudden life seemingly throws a curve ball. Let’s walk through one that just happened to me – down the rabbit hole we go…
It was a little past 1pm in the afternoon when my client and I found ourselves leaving the local theater upon having viewed an excellent flik. Both the music and vibrant animations were still fresh in our minds as we briefly discussed what we enjoyed most, and thankfully the weather was as amiable as our own dispositions. Although my own concentration and sense of belonging to the world around me was disrupted the moment I received a text from a girl I had recently dined with.
In other words, this previously anti-social hermit is feeling confident enough to get out and about with the intention of developing healthy and balanced relationships. But that’s not to say I felt as excited as she was to see me later this evening. I dropped my client off as we said our goodbyes, and now I was determined to get back to my laptop so I could write another blog post.
All of a sudden I noticed I wasn’t singing with the tracks since my breathing became so shallow that I may have appeared dead simply by laying down upon the ground beneath me. Thoughts started racing through my head to the point my inner workings resembled Grand Central Station during rush hour. This is turn caused any sense of clarity or focus to be tossed with the bathwater.
But I recognized the flashback because regular meditation, good eats (vegetarian), and exercise all go hand in hand to ensure one can feel energy moving about their body. What energy? Emotions, or the lack there of caused by an emotional trigger (it’s honestly nothing esoteric, I assure you). SHUT DOWN had commenced, but I wasn’t going to be drawn into an endless cycle of self-loathing in order to punish myself for not being Happy-Go-Lucky.
It’s okay, Aaron. It’s okay. I know you’re afraid and it’s okay. I’m here for you now.
Soothing self-talk produced feelings where there were none before. Tears began to roll down my cheeks as my muscles released their tension. An icy chill enveloped my vertebral column as snow covers the rungs of a step-ladder in the dead of winter. I then sighed a breathe of relief knowing that I successfully let go of the pain I had held onto for god knows how long. But the ride wasn’t over because something was just beginning to rise to the surface.
All she said was “I’m excited to see you again!” So why am I feeling such dread?
I found myself, with clarity of mind and a fully grounded temple (body), able to process the events in order to diminish the castrophizing loop that has disrupted my ability to develop relationships in the past. In fact, this was a pattern for me and I knew it was dysfunctional because there was nothing threatening – it was all coming from within! Now I had an opportunity to alter the pattern or stick to the monotonous routines of isolation where I used to find considerable comfort in solidarity.
Once home I ran to my room to find my cherished blanket so I could hold it against my chest. My fingers ran across it’s soft and soothing surface before the mind noodle introduced a buried memory associated with the very object I held close to my heart, but had previously lost when I needed it most.
She took the only thing I had in my life that consistently offered comfort, warmth, and security while growing up. My bio-mom took my baby blanket and either destroyed it or threw it out with the weekly trash! Then to add insult to injury, she – along with my other family members and friends – all mocked me for wanting to see the remnants she always claimed to have in her possession. Although she never acknowledged my cries to see that which was wrongfully taken from me at such a vulnerable time in my life. It’s not a wonder I’m afraid of love! I’ve never experienced genuine affection!!!
It all made sense now. For if one finds themselves entwined within an abusive machine, it’s extremely difficult to separate love from the abuse itself. You simply don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s okay. But that’s the wonder and beauty of healing. For now I could function and tell myself everything is going to be okay. I must open to love in order to receive it, although this is the ultimate goal because I will have even more to give. I.e. my cup runneth over, and peace overtook me as if nothing troubled me at all.
Ladies and gents, I’m not worried…
Hey there, reader! My name is Aaron Carlisle and I know a thing or two about emotional flashbacks and dissociative disorders because I’ve lived with them for nearly 23 years of my life. But nowadays I have techniques and methods that can support my ascension as opposed to getting lost in the throes of my inner rapids. Check out how you can help yourself by reading my book entitled Practical Healing: A Guide to Restore Your Life, and please follow me on Twitter to follow my progress. Peace
Featured Image: Tear Pic