Flashbacks, Panic Attacks and Depression, OH MY!!!

So having flashbacks in the form of dreams have become a fairly common thing for me lately. Often times I wake up feeling like I am back in that situation. When I get a flashback it can take me some time to regain my composure. Sometime it can take up to a few days, if not longer. Having flashbacks occur in dreams are the worst kind of nightmares. They are like nightmares on drugs. It is one thing to have a nightmare about something that didn’t occur but to have a dream about reality it really frightening.

Flashbacks are not a new phenomenon for me. As a survivor of sexual abuse they are common. As common as they are I never get use to them. Each time one occurs it is just as painful and real as the last.

I awoke yesterday to a series of dream flashbacks. This time it was a combination of both the sexual abuse and the passing of my Mom. I woke up feeling lost, confused and scared. As well as a heaping pile of shame. Shame is also not new to me but what was new for me is realizing that I still felt shame over the sexual abuse.

I had plans yesterday to meet a friend for coffee but initially cancelled due to my distraught feelings. Usually when I have a flashback I try to stay hidden. It is like I go into this tunnel vision state and everything else gets blocked out. It can be a very frightening time for me, as all my senses are hyper sensitive. Thankfully I forced myself out of that tunnel and quickly contacted my friend to see if he still wanted to meet, thankfully he did…

I am glad I met with him, I had a nice time but I still felt completely off.

Tonight I felt a great sense of anger. I even had a mini panic attack. Thankfully I was able to talk myself down from that one. Talk about frightening, panic attacks are no walk in the park. You get this sense that the walls are closing in on you and someone is sucking all the air out with this giant vacuum. The more you fight the panic the more it suffocates you. So I am very glad I was able to prevent it from going any further.

I wish I could prevent flashbacks, those aren’t as easy to stop or predict. Sometimes they smack you right in the face, coming out of no where. The most recent flashback that felt the most real was when my sister woke me up to tell me that Mom had started to cough up blood and that we needed to rush her to the emergency room… It was so real, that it felt like it was happening all over again. These are moments that I do not want to have to relive.

I can feel that there is a part of me that is telling myself to go back in seclusion. I can hear the voice very faintly trying to talk me into it. Lately I have been working hard to overcome various challenges in my life, including how I look at myself. I guess in a way my negative self isn’t going to give up without a fight.

I went into my therapy appointment last week feeling very nervous, which was a first. My therapist said she wasn’t surprised by this. She said that because I was starting to feel better that I wasn’t use to that. That my happiness scares me the most. I have gotten use to settling for less.

I will admit getting everything I have ever wanted is rather frightening. Being in the light puts you at great risk. When you are in the darkness, you can hide. When you are on the ground you can’t be kicked down. It also is a very miserable place.

I am starting to make connection with the outside world. In the past putting myself out there caused me great harm. So I find myself taking some steps forward and then taking a few steps back. It is like a dance.

Recently I met this really sweet man, who I am quite fond of. My track record with men is not the greatest. Often times I have felt objectified. With him I haven’t once felt that way. Our friendship means the world to me but I find myself fearing losing him. It is rare when I feel someone truly sees me for who I am inside and out, like he does.

I feel like he values me for my heart, he sees it as a gift. Not very many guys have made me feel that way.

Letting someone into your circle can be a very vulnerable place to be. Prior to my Mother’s passing I was careful who I let in. After she passed away, the opening was closed and I didn’t quite anticipate someone getting in. When you lose one person you care about, it makes it possible to lose others.

The three months that we have known each has been a growing process for me. Getting to know him has taught me a lot about myself and others. The biggest thing I have learned is that I am of value to others. Though that in itself can be frightening. I have also learned to enjoy the time we have together and not put terms on the relationship.

Putting my heart out there scares the hell out of me because it means getting back what I give out. All these wonderful feelings also trigger the fears as well, as well as the loss.

Friday I had one of the best days in a very long time. I can’t remember having so much fun. We went bowling, then to dinner and finally out to a gay bar for a few drinks. I honestly can’t remember the last time I have been out like that. I haven’t felt more like myself in a year. I had such a nice time, that I didn’t want it to end.

That was the most seen I have been in a very long time. For a survivor being seen is a very complicated matter because being seen is where the trauma first occurred. It is kind of like being a gazelle in plain day light, right in the open… in the middle of a pack of lions. You want to run and hide, but have no where to go. Granted not every situation where you are seen will end up in demise but it still feels that way. Being vulnerable has a way of making you feel that way.

I know the alternative is not pretty either. I certainly have hide for many years.

So having this wonderful day has caused some fears to surface. I am deeply afraid of getting hurt. When the fears start to surface, so do all the past hurts. That is where the real turmoil begins. Then all the negative thoughts come rushing in.

I know I need to get out in the world. I just have to remember to take it one day at a time. I have to tolerate these feelings and continue to tell me they won’t kill me. It is not the end of the world.

With depression, when you have a bad day you want it to end but it feels like it will never end… When you have a good day you want it to last forever but when the good day ends it feels like it won’t return…

I guess there is a part of me that may be trying to soak up all the time I can with various people in my life due to the fear of losing them? This just occurred to me. It certainly is something to talk about in therapy.

Boy am I glad to be in therapy!!! Alright time for bed… Hoping for no you know what!!!


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