Wikipedia describes flashbacks as: " [an] involuntary recurrent memory, is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual has a sudden, usually powerful, re-experiencing of a past experience or elements of a past experience. These experiences can be happy, sad, exciting, or any other emotion one can consider. The term is used particularly when the memory is recalled involuntarily, and/or when it is so intense that the person "relives" the experience, unable to fully recognize it as memory and not something that is happening in 'real time'."
Truely, flashbacks are snippets of memory that jar you at the worst possible time, making you relive something you have been trying to supress for years. Okay, so maybe they aren't always that bad, but over the course of the past four days that's what I have been experiencing: horribly jarring flashbacks of sexual and physical abuse. I have had them before, but never so vivid. And now I am getting physical flashbacks- pain in my arm, my back, my hips. It's all very jarring. So much so that I really just want to give up. I look at all the people this affects (my wife, my therapist, my co-workers, et cetera) and I think "wow, I am really messing them up and I'm so messed up, why keep going?'
The truth is, I keep going because there are others like me. If I give up, then I am giving them the okay to give up. And if all of us give up there would be so many lives affected in a much worse manner than just having to deal with someone anxious and irritated from flashbacks. Giving up is never an option. This is something I was reminded of a couple of weeks ago when I helped to crew The Overnight Walk in NYC (check out theovernight.org for more info). I saw thousands of people walking from seven pm until five am throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, raising funds to help those who need psychological services and the families/friends of those who have died from suicide.
I know this post may not be as well thought out as some others and perhaps it seems to jump from subject to subject, but the point I am getting at is: nothing is bad enough to want to kill yourself. And you are NOT a freak for thinking about suicide. A lot of us have gone through it, and continue to go through it, and are able to become productive, happy members of society. Flashbacks are one of those events that feel like the world is ending, especially if you are reliving abuse or rape. The important thing to remember is the hard part is over- you have already live through the actual experience. You are not truly "reliving" it, you are just remembering it.
Let's all take a few minutes today to breathe, forget all the bad things, and be thankful for having another day to live, heal, and love.
Flashback (psychology). (n.d.) In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 20, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashback_(psychology)