Jul 27 2010

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Again, After Five Years (Flashbacks)

Warning: This post is about flashbacks, and may trigger, although I will not give details of the childhood event involved. Keep yourself safe.





This last week I was pretty much floored by flashbacks and their aftermath. I lived five relatively crisis-free years without that sucker punch in the gut, or feeling like everything I know about myself is a lie. The crazy making part is that you know the lie is a lie, but you go with it anyway. And it just doesn’t seem possible that this is happening again.

It’s been so long I don’t even recall what the last flashback was about. This one, though, neatly completed a memory fragment, and explained some life-long hysteria with insects. (It sounds almost benign when put so matter-of-factly.) With dissociative issues, there are aspects where you reach a queasy knowing-it’s-not-resolved peace in order to move on, because you may never know or understand them completely. But that particular memory fragment was discussed in agonizing detail in therapy 15 freaking years ago! It was a done issue, as far as I was concerned. C’mon!

I wish I could say that this stuff is “over” when you’ve honestly and completely to the best of your abilities done the work. The most I can say is, this time I reached out to people much sooner, and refused to lose myself in it. That’s evidence of real, lasting progress. As I get my bearings back, I’m realizing I am okay.

Maybe the work’s effort wasn’t to be “done” so much as it was to be better prepared, and more resilient, in the future. I still want it all, though. I want to be “done”, and free of the things that can grip me in fear and make me question my sanity again.

I still think it’s possible.

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Permanent link to this article: http://thirdofalifetime.com/2010/07/27/again-after-five-years-flashbacks/


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  1. Ravin

    I get this, we went decades without much trouble then the floor fell out. What we now realize is that we dissociated even being DID. We’d done some real good work, when the bottom fell out it was that work that kept us going toward a better future.


    1. Sarah Olson

      The randomness of the floor falling out bugs me. (Beyond wanting to control my Universe.) How can you ever really be free when at some weird inopportune moment this stuff all rewinds?

      I both want and need to believe in my personal freedom from all this crap. I’ve had sustained tastes of it; I don’t want to go backwards.

      Nice to see you here! :)


      1. IAmEchad Twitter

        It sounds like you did move fwd, not backwards. You were able to demonstrate the skills you’ve learned: reaching out to others & not getting sucked back into an abyss

  2. Sarah Olson


    Yes, I did go forward, after a few days of teetering on the edge, trying to will myself to not sink into a major depression. I am definitely pleased with how quickly I moved through this episode. (Time’s a very relative concept! “Quickly” here means about four days.)

    But I am susceptible, depending on circumstances, to absolutely getting sucked back into an abyss. It was an eye opener as to how quickly it could have gone that way. Maybe that’s the lesson, to not get too sure that I can’t go there again.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Sam Ruck

    I “want it all” for my wife, too! Don’t give up that hope, Sarah. It’s important for you but also for those of us who are coming behind you.


    1. Sarah Olson

      awww Sam, thank you! In the context of my entire life, I do know this was a blip. An annoying scary blip, but still. I’m starting to bounce back a bit today, not giving up hope. Too much left to do.


      P.S. Now you know “the rest of the story” as to why I still owe you email. :) Hoping to finish that tomorrow!

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