Healing past wounds is rarely easy or fun, however it is well worth the effort. The freedom to move forward in our lives without feeling victimized by flashbacks comes when we know and trust that we have the safety, strength, skills, courage and support necessary to choose to move through them to heal.
When we have an overwhelming experience, we have an amazing capacity to set aside the most intense parts of that experience to deal with later. This survivor mindset enables us to survive and it serves us well at the time. Later in life, often many years later, when we are safe and away from the traumatic situation, those unfinished intense parts, flashbacks , begin to return. We flash back to whatever remains unprocessed, especially the feelings we found much too intense to process at the time. Your flashbacks may be triggered by a scent, a word someone says, an image, a sound, etc. that is associated with the traumatic event. These intense feelings may be rage, anger, terror, loneliness, grief, anxiety, depression and powerlessness. Maybe, you feel like you are going crazy, losing control and scared. These feelings are a precious gift, an invitation to choose to continue to shut down or to choose a healthy productive path to learn from and heal the heavy emotions.
To heal the past traumatic wounds, you need to learn to recognize when you are triggered into a flashback, develop the skills and courage to safely process through the intense emotions, and understand that the trauma is from the past rather than happening now. You must know that you are safe enough to begin this incredible healing process that is naturally built into your body and mind. To feel safe enough, you may need the support of safe, emotionally mature people who are not afraid of the intense feelings, who understand and trust the healing power of flashbacks, and who help us feel safe. It may be a great idea to work with a professional trauma-informed psychotherapist, psychologist or therapist.
This information is compiled from my trauma-informed therapists, Sandra Felt and resources I have received over my years from reputable organizations. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to let me know. I'm here for you, I believe in you and you are not alone. Thank you!