Flashbacks by Dorothy Womack


Flashbacks occur when the brain is overloaded with information which is too traumatic for it to sort through – so it puts it aside and then BOOM!! Months, maybe years later, things start coming back to life, literally!!

A flashback differs from a memory in that you usually are aware that you are remembering something which occurred in the PAST – You remain secured in TODAY and only rememeber YESTERDAY. However, a true FLASHBACK takes you back in time to the PAST, and you are stuck there just like it is really TODAY!! Usually they do not last very long, however, they can be very frightening and brutal if you are not aware that they will pass. If you have endured and witnessed a great deal of trauma in caring for your loved one, you will find you experience more of these flashbacks after they are gone from this world.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE LOSING YOUR MIND!! This is a pretty normal occurrence for those who deal with prolonged, traumatic stress situations – much as with the POWs in Vietnam – is also known as ‘post traumatic stress disorder’. Except we, as caregivers, receive no compensation or understanding for our plight!! But there is some value in knowing that what you are experiencing does not indicate a break from mental reality, nor that you are falling apart – Your mind is simply beginning to process all those experiences which it tucked away until you were more able to deal with and handle their realities. Some people have very few flashbacks, especially if they are more positive oriented, can be detached somewhat in their caregiving and lead an active life after the passing of their loved one.

Those who are like me, however, find it very difficult to navigate through these flashbacks, as they occur without any warning and can happen weeks to months apart. This is the mind’s way of healing itself, and if you simply go with the flow, the flashback will end and the peace of God will replace it. I know this for a fact, having lived it now for almost four years since my own mother’s passing. My best advice to you is to realize this is a FLASHBACK, not a BREAKDOWN, that it will PASS and you will be OKAY…..

2000 Dorothy Womack. All Rights Reserved