Last week, I felt a really strong connection between me and MT (my therapist). This week the connection seemed to be missing. I left my session on Tuesday really pissed off. I was not sure of how to take some comments that MT made regarding weight loss surgery, flashbacks, and my grief, anger, regret over my relationship with the abusers. My biggest issue was because MT said that flashbacks are memories and it seemed trivializing to me. I can deal with memories. I can turn off memories if I want to. I can actively decide to think about something else. But, I can’t turn off flashbacks. They catch me by surprise. They take my breath away. Here is a note I wrote to MT and gave her today about flashbacks:
Flashbacks are way different from memories. Flashbacks take me right back to the thing that was happening and I can smell the smells and taste the tastes and feel stuff on and in my body. I can feel their hands on me. I can feel my insides being ripped apart. It’s all totally involuntary. It makes me shake, it makes me feel like I cannot breathe. But a memory….it may be a picture or a sound…but it doesn’t take me away from me. I’m not immersed in it. I still know I’m me. I wish a flashback was just a memory, but flashbacks are memories gone rogue. They are memories not processed the right way. How do I get them processed the right way? Or am I just supposed to accept and be okay with those assholes taking my mind over day after day. I do not want to keep having these Fucking flashbacks, but I need to find a way to get them processed into my head like regular memories. When the flashbacks happen, I can’t always find myself to let me know that it’s a memory. Sometimes , I can make myself breathe through them, but mostly, they happen, and only when they are over, do I know it was a flashback. They are not just memories. They leave my heart and body and soul aching, like the thing just happened. I need them to stop. I need help figuring it out. I know that stuff is over. I know it’s not going to happen again, because I’m not going to let it. But some part of me does not know that. How do I reach that part? How do I even figure out what part that is? It made me so angry when you said a flashback is just a memory. Cause flashbacks are way more than memories. I can choose to stop a memory. Usually I don’t even know I’m having a flashback until it’s over. How do you stop something that you don’t know is happening?
So here is a disclaimer. MT never said just a memory. That is what I heard. So, I had to go in and talk about all of this stuff with MT today. MT already knew I was angry because of an email I had sent and also because I told her I was mad as our session was ending on Tuesday. The thing about flashbacks being memories was said 5 minutes before the end of our session on Tuesday and there was not time to process my reaction. If there had been, I think I would not have been so flaming mad. But as it was, I had two days to stew about and I did stew about it. But once we were done talking about what had made me angry on Tuesday, the session seemed to go well. Until I said something about doing EMDR for my flashbacks. Just last week, MT had said we were getting close to doing EMDR and had asked me where I thought we should start. I had done some thinking about it and wanted to talk about it. Just to say where I thought we should start. Well, MT said that she was not going to be willing to do EMDR with a person who was dissociating and said that she counts flashbacks as being dissociative. Then, she reminded me in our last session, I had a pretty big flashback. Yup. I did. But now, we only had like 5 minutes left to our session again and MT dropped this bombshell on me and then said time was up. I started crying and she said she did not understand where this reaction was coming from. I told her that hopelessness had just overwhelmed me. My flashbacks are never ending. They are not going away by themselves. I need to something to help get those rogue memories under control. I thought it was going to be EMDR. Now, I’m not sure what it is going to be. I don’t know if anything else can help. I did EMDR years ago around some flashbacks and those flashbacks have NEVER shown up again. So, now I have 5 days to wait until I can deal with what I can do now. I’m cranky and frustrated and overwhelmed.