CSA: Nightmares and Flashbacks

Image from: http://whatittakestobeme.org

Quite simply a flashback makes you feel as though you are experiencing a situation again. For me I flashbacks mean being sent back in time to anyone of the many times I was sexually abused. There are many things that trigger them, it can be a smell, a sound (words and phrases), the appearance of a room, someone’s mannerisms. The list is endless. Sometimes I won’t even see them coming and I can’t figure out where they come from.

Ever since I was sexually abused night time has become one of the hardest times for me as this is when I experience nightmares and the flashbacks tend to strike too. I am more fortunate now as the more I have suffered them the more I have been able to understand and recognised the triggers of the flashbacks I experience meaning sometimes I can avoid them happening. The nightmares I have never felt I have had much control over, I never see them coming. Sometimes they can happen every night for a period of time other times they can be quite irregular.

I think it is important for people to recognise that for a victim of sexual abuse the effects of it it doesn’t just stop when the abuse stops. Flashbacks and nightmares are very terrifying and have lead to me being afraid of going to sleep for quite some time. Resulting in me experiencing exhaustion. This fear has come and gone over the years, sometimes it is just a niggling feeling others it just takes over me and I can’t stop thinking about.

I’m lucky that over the period of time where the flashbacks and nightmares became particularly bad Katie-Jo was and has been there. I told her that I experience them and explained what it meant and as a result she helps me through them. I am lucky because I can be honest with her about it. The flashbacks and nightmares have happened quite regularly over the past year so she has been able to recognise when they take place. She doesn’t make me tell her about what the nightmare or flashback was about. She’s ‘just there’. She’ll tell me that everything is okay and hold me.

Experiencing the flashbacks is horrible and can be terrifying at times but it particularly makes me me angry that it can still effect me and very embarrassed. It wasn’t easy to tell Katie-Jo about them, some people in my family still don’t know that I experience them.

Here is a good printable article about flashbacks [LINK]

– Stacey xo

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