Body flashbacks & reality

14 Nov

A lot has happened over the past week including the outcome of the work situation I posted about last time. However for this post I’m going to concentrate on two things; one that has really affected me and another that scares me.

The first thing is about what I have now learnt to be called body flashbacks. So far in my PTSD, I have suffered bad flashbacks, memories and nightmares and this has been the main area we have tried to sort out with medication. Unfortunately everything I’ve tried has been unsuccessful in one way or another and so we (me, my cc and psychiatrist) put all hope into psychotherapy services which I have just started. My experiences of flashbacks are always horrendous but I’ve kind of come to accept them as part of my life (plz don’t interpret that as finding them easy to deal with as I don’t, but just something I have accepted will happen).

Towards the end of last week I had an experience I’d never had before which included feeling actual pain that I had during the assault. I really don’t know how to describe it, the pain was very real and is something I’d never felt before so I knew exactly what is was from.

I turned to twitter to ask about this and found that flashbacks can be physical as well as the audio and visual ones I normally have (thanks to the people that replied on twitter by the way). This, for me, has been the worst thing yet and I’m not sure if its because it is something new or because the physical pain is very interlinked with the emotional after effects of the assault.

Luckily as I write this, I haven’t had one since but from what other people have said, I should be expecting more!!

The second thing I want to touch on is something I am struggling to put in to words and I can’t find any info on google because I don’t have a name for it. Maybe someone who reads this might be able to help?

I’ve noticed that I am convinced that something has happened that hasn’t. Let me give an example and hopefully it will make more sense. I have a little niece who needs a hernia operation & obviously everyone is worried about it and was apprehensive about when the date of the op would be (they live in America so system is a lot quicker than here in the uk).

I was speaking to my mum about it and saying I was going to call my sister-in-law to see how things were doing. My mum asked me to find out how the docs appointment had gone on to find out when the op would be. I told her the op was the 10th of December and went in to great detail about when my s-i-l told me this. The problem is, I didn’t have that conversation with her (I actually last spoke to her before the appointment with doc had even happened) and no-one had told me the 10th dec – I’d completely imagined the whole thing. Now if this was a one off, then I could put it down to some kind of reason (not sure what), but it isn’t. This is just an example of many things – down to small silly things like sending an email only to find out I hadn’t sent it – even though I vividly remember the words I wrote and everything.

And this is what scares me. I am starting to get mixed up between what has actually happened and what I think has happened. How do I know what is the actual reality?

Does any of that make any sense to anyone? There is nothing malicious about the thoughts – they fit in with what is happening in my life (eg my niece and her op is real). It’s really freaking me out!!


Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Body flashbacks & reality

  1. Bryan

    October 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I hope I’m not intruding, but I saw that no one was responding. I am a male survivor of CSA and I experience both of the issues you listed. The first- tactile flashbacks- happen very frequently, especially in bed (where I’m pretty sure the majority of it happened, but I’ve got dissociative amnesia). I feel hands touching me or grabbing me, my stomach, leg, and elsewhere (I can’t even get that word out) tense up, I feel myself being raped, etc. They are almost exclusively the only flashback I get right now (except for nightmares, and a few visual fb’s).

    That second issue that you don’t have a name for, I don’t have a name for either, but it’s been happening a lot in the last few months. For instance, the clinic I go to, I have only seen female therapists. When I asked them who the man was I talked to, they looked at me puzzled. They document every meeting, and no man had ever met with me there. I could vividly remember having an extensive conversation with him about SA. Never happened. Do you have a very active inner dialogue in your thought life? What I mean is, do you converse with yourself mentally a lot? And do you also imagine conversations that could happen, exactly what you would say, anticipating everything the other person might say in response? I’ve begun to think this might be a common trait amongst sexual abuse survivors. Could also be the result of self-imposed isolation. People in solitary confinement hallucinate. This is all just me speculating, but I have a feeling it’s common. Anyway, if anyone is uncomfortable with me leaving this comment here, feel free to delete it. I only found this site because I am desperate for more information about my tactile flashbacks, and this is one of the few search results google yielded (there is already very little for male survivors in the first place).

    • femaleptsd

      October 20, 2012 at 1:50 am

      Hi Bryan – thanks so much for taking the time to comment and reassure me that it’s not just me that goes through this.

      I have more recently learnt that I dissociate as a coping mechanism when things get too tough my brain essentially goes in to shutdown and that’s when I become detached and also thinks around me don’t seem real – is this the kind of thing you meant?

      I hope therapy is being successful for you and wish you all the nest for your recovery x


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: