by Mrs. Smith on July 8, 2018

This is where my blog is my journal, and unless you have an interest in PTSD, or you really really REALLY like reading every little thing I have to say, you might want to just skip this one. Despite my best efforts, this probably isn’t going to be the most interesting thing ever.

Let’s talk about flashbacks for just a second.
How is it any different from just being reminded of something?

One could also ask,
“How’s being hijacked any different than just driving your car?”
Yep. Very good analogy. Good job, me.

Flashbacks are weird. It’s not like you simply recognize, “Back when I was five, I used to think a monster lived under my bed.” 

It’s that thing you used to think, getting “re-thought” all over again by your brain, right then. It’s that feeling of being absolutely terrified of the monster under your bed, running through your system all over again.

Image result for backstage piano recital

It’s the difference between remembering having played a song at a recital

— vs —

being back on stage and playing that song again…

It’s your brain “on stage” at the piano, though, and it’s playing old thoughts and feelings as if it were the very moment those thoughts/feelings happened.


My brain makes distinctions between old feelings & old thoughts. Not sure if everyone with PTSD-stuff does. For me, at this point, flashback-thoughts are different from flashback-feelings.

So. First day of my Facebook Break Month. July 1.

Before I even get out of bed that morning, WHAM. Flashback feeling:
Grief. Deep, deep sadness.

It wasn’t fun… but I was able to roll through that sadness, let it crest and fall like feelings do, hug it, and send it on its way.

Not my favorite thing ever, but no biggie deal.

The thoughts that came up a few minutes later, though… they were harder to shake off.

Again, it’s not remembering having had a thought. It runs through your brain in your own internal “voice.” It’s your own thought, replaying itself again through the part of your mind that you think with.

How can you even tell if it’s an old thought, then?

Um, yeah. Good question. Sometimes you can’t.

I can tell (kind of, sometimes) because I’ve learned to recognize the maturity level of that-part-of-my-mind-that-I-think-with. I can tell, in hindsight, how old that “voice” sounded. But that’s pretty advanced PTSD-ing.
(Almost 5 years ago now, y’all. Masters-level course material. Woohoo.)

If the thought doesn’t really match your current situation, or if it’s really outrageous like “There’s a monster under my bed!! AHH!” you might be able to pull out of it or at least recognize that flashback nature of what’s going on.

But if it’s something that DOES exist in reality, if it matches your situation… if it’s a belief that’s easy to carry into adulthood, like, “All men are jerks,”  — it might take you a while to detach from it. It might take you a minute to even realize you were triggered. You might have a hard time figuring out if that the “men are jerks” thought was, indeed, an old recording and not what you actually believe.

If you do recognize that it’s an old thought and not really you-right-now, you might remember how you’ve worked through undoing that old belief. You might recognize that you used to believe that and you technically don’t any more… but… You might have to dig really deep to get to that bedrock of truth. Especially if a man just cut you off on the freeway or something.

Some flashback thoughts come with heavy baggage. Some flashback thoughts tend to create unhappy behaviors — like having a chip on your shoulder and being snappy at your husband, which is totally natural, what with him being such a jerk and all… except, oh wait, no, NOT all men are jerks. And I didn’t marry a jerk. Riiiiiiiight!

It’s a hard thing to walk around with and it’s not very fun to untangle. It hasn’t happened like that for me in quite a while.

I could recognize that I thought whateveritwas 30 years ago… but since something in the present moment set it off, something in the present moment validated it and made it seem like a pretty valid thing to think right now, too.

Ooooh, baby, it was a very long July 1.

And a very long July 2.


Way to kickoff this “magical” month!

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