Flashbacks. I don’t really know what they are. No one has ever talked to me about them. I did have a whopper of a flashback once. I was driving and my mum was right there. I could see her. I could feel her breathing on me. I could hear her saying she would kill me. Now I knew that was a flashback. That was undeniable and it was freaky as fuck. I felt I might pass out and when on to have the biggest panic attack I’ve experienced. All before 9am.
Anyway I was confident then: that was a flashback. Cool. Got it. Complex PTSD. Right on. But since then I’ve had all sorts of visions and experiences and I never know – does that count as a flashback? You may be wondering why it matters. Fair question. It doesn’t really. I could call them zooblickys if I wanted, it wouldn’t make a difference to the experience. The only reason the identification matters is because hcp ask about flashbacks (not zooblickys) and if I don’t know these things are flashes (as Dr D calls them. I like that because it sounds like being a flasher which appeals to my dark humour) then I say no, I don’t really get proper flashbacks. The information I provide helps them decide wtf is up with me. So, there’s a bit of a problem there.
As it is I like learning anyway and try and absorb any information I can about these things. Back in the time of teenage choices I considered neuroscience as a degree. Really I wanted to be a brain surgeon (true story!) but didn’t think I would be good enough. I also quite seriously toyed with the idea of psychology. I nearly applied but actually meeting a counsellor put me off. When we were forced to have family therapy in my teens I met JB – blunder therapist extraordinaire*. She put me off for life. When I told her I was interested in studying psychology she nonchalantly informed me that a lot of troubled people study psychology to try and understand themselves. Well, I thought, I want to escape my troubled background not spend my whole life dissecting it so screw that (yes, do feel free to snort at the irony). JB also had a fucking fascination with her inner child. She drove me up the sodding wall going on about her inner child. I would fantasise about grabbing some toddler sized infant and ramming it head first down her throat – how’s that for your inner child luv?! So, yeah, I was dissuaded away from psychology by JB and her inner child.
Shame because if I’d done it I’d probably know what a flashback is and that’d be pretty handy. Last night I was lying in bed cuddling my rabbit and my husband was cuddling me. I felt cosy and secure. It was bloody lovely. Then a weird thing happened. I experienced incredibly vivid memories of my school days. This was stuff I had forgotten. I can’t even recall the details now. I do know that I could smell the smells, I could hear the sounds, I could touch the wall and explore the texture. It actually felt magical, like some door to my mind had been opened and I’d just wandered in. It wasn’t in the least bit upsetting. I enjoyed it. Like rediscovering an old treasure which doesn’t make sense at all because I hated my school days! I was awake and aware of my husband the whole time yet I still felt like I was actually re-experiencing these memories. My heart was there; stood in the school corridor. My feet were on the red vinyl floor yet I was still in bed. It was like gentle time travel. I loved it. As the sensation passed I tried to explain to Andy but he wasn’t all that fussed. Just another crazy wifey moment. Anyway, was that a flashback?
When I see shadowy male figures out the corner of my eyes – are they flashbacks?
Am I regressing to being childlike? Since cuddling my toy rabbit in bed am I unlocking the me of the past? What’s going on? Obviously I’d dearly love to discuss it with a psychologist (JB need not apply). Well, that’s not going to happen any time soon so in the meantime I’ll grab my rabbit, curl under a blanket and be that teenager who was interested in psychology. Although adult me has Google! Gotta love technology!
*I will say this for JB – she was the first person, of many, to accuse me of black and white thinking. Who knew eh?