For Sunday Scribblings prompt #235 Flashback
A flashback is a fast trip back into the past, a moment, or moments of remembering, often experienced as though it were actually happening for the first time. And although that is not a necessary part of actually experiencing a flashback, they do come with sometimes startling information and knowledge attached to them.
Keeping a daily journal is a constant open door to such experiences. So, I have a lot of flashbacks. But that isn’t the only place I experience them. I often have flashes of memory when I’m actually writing other things, especially poetry, and reading is also another fertile field for such experiences. But, flashbacks are not limited to only those arenas. They may occur from smells, spoken words, a tone of voice, a bright splash of familiar color, and the list is probably endless.
They are a function of the associative faculty of the brain. When I saw the prompt for today, I started laughing because I’ve been caught up in a flow of flashbacks for a few weeks now, all pertaining to my experiences at age four. Which goes to show that flashbacks can be a sort of time-travel built right into the human brain. I am presently 64 years old, which means I’ve been doing a great deal of time-travel and no wonder I’m tired, a bit much for an old lady, right?
Let me explain. This is not the norm. It has to do with the fact that circumstances have brought me to a place where several different elements have come together and created what might be called a flashpoint for this current plethora of flashbacks. Whew, that’s a mouth full. I’m just going to list all of them and hope you catch the drift.
1. I’ve been responding to prompts and the prompts led me to redefine an aspect of my childhood experience. I even created a phrase for it: The Throw-Away Child.
2. I used that phrase while speaking with my counselor, and at the end of the session, he asked me to write about it in detail.
3. I went for my annual physical and the doctor wanted me to have a chemically induced stress test, because I am not physically capable to perform a regular one.
4. The results showed some blockage in my heart, which meant I had to see a cardiovascular specialist.
5. Meanwhile, I’m writing my journal pages, responses to prompts, and the stuff about The Throw-Away Child and all of that led me to the experience when I was four years old and in the hospital with a severe head injury.
6. The cardiovascular specialist recommended an angiogram, a heart cauterization, and we are now on a collision course. A field day of associations exploding all around me and in me.
The four year old me was lying in a hospital bed, actually tied down to some extent, to prevent her from movement and more damage to a severe concussion and awaiting surgery that would alter her existence with dire predictions of possible death.
The 64 year old woman, who lives in my body, was sitting in a chair, listening to a very young heart specialist explaining the risks involved in the procedure he feels is necessary, which calls for a period of time lying still and flat on my back, and one of those ‘minor’ risks is a possible heart attack and death. Have we been here before? Yes, flashpoint.
Logic says, “this is not at all the same thing. This is a necessary procedure to ensure a better future and a healthier existence.”
Heart says, “Screw the logic, this feels like the same place, run like hell!”
I couldn’t run when I was four. Now, I’m 64, unable to run because of disability, so I came home and did a whole lot of writing. More flashbacks, but this time with an adult’s understanding. I called and made an appointment to see the educational video about the procedure so I’d know exactly what to expect. And afterward asked a whole lot of questions and got answers that both calmed me and my inner child.
In that process was a memory of a recurring nightmare that had plagued me for over forty years. As well as the memory of how I had resolved the nightmare and ended years of episodes that had found me waking up screaming and covered in cold sweat. The nightmare hasn’t come back in years. And this was no different. The nightmare was a major breakthrough based in flashbacks. My distress in this present moment was no different. I handled the nightmare. I can handle these feelings as well.
Flashbacks are not all horrendous. Mine just happened to come at this point and, synchronistically, with this prompt. Flashbacks cover the entire spectrum of feeling responses, can be golden with joy, or as dark as an unlit cellar. Mine could have been a lot worse, but weren’t because of all that writing. Yes, the writing facilitates the occurrence of flashbacks, but it often also facilitates the opportunity for healing as well.
I have made the appointment for the angiogram. I am far better prepared to move through it then ever before. I am deeply grateful.