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The following information is a result of attending workshops by Karen A. Olio, M.A., M.Ed. of Norwalk, CT.

There are several way we can experience flashbacks. Some are only unconnected, unsuspected emotions of rage seeming to come out of nowhere for no reason. At times a person may feel an intense sadness or feel covered with a cloak of shame. These are emotional flashbacks.

There are so many "triggers" (Triggers are covered very thoroughly in the book I Can't Get Over It ) or buttons pushed that the person may never know all of their triggers. It could be something they saw i.e. a color, a similar body build, facial hair, etc. The time of day or the time of year can be triggers for many. Smells, sounds, tastes, and textures can also throw a person's emotional equilibrium way off kilter. These are known as sensory flashbacks.

Body memory is the most insidious kind of flashback. Finger marks can actually appear on the throat of a victim who is recalling having been choked. The body hold the memory, the body holds the pain. No wonder trauma is stored in the right brain. These flashbacks are expressed in body pain, i.e. backaches, rectal spasms, stomach aches, vaginal pain, wrist pain, shoulder pain, gag reflex, rashes, hives, body fatigue, and all over body pain. Could fibromyalgia and lupus be related in any way to body memory?

The fourth kind of flashback can make a person feel they are "losing it" but actually they are "finding it". These bits of memory come back with the similar effect of a slide projector rapidly and repeatedly flashing several or one particular blurred image which makes no sense at all. There may be no emotion accompanying these flashes, just confusion and a fear of "going crazy".

These flashbacks are as intrusive as the original abuse, coming when you least expect and very unwelcome. The person may at times, possible regress to the emotional age they were at the time of the abuse. As the person begins to address these flashbacks, which may be accompanied by anxiety attacks, they lessen, but may never completely vanish.

Anxiety Attacks
Self Injury
Memory Retrieval
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Ideas for Coping With Flashbacks