Sunday, April 10, 2011

Persistent Re-Experiencing

The Wikipedia page on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder lists Persistent Re-Experiencing of the traumatic event as the second criteria needed for diagnosis, further explained:

One or more of these must be present in the victim: flashback memories, recurring distressing dreams, subjective re-experiencing of the traumatic event(s), or intense negative psychological or physiological response to any objective or subjective reminder of the traumatic event(s).

I said to my middle daughter once, "The dreams (nightmares) started in Milltown." Before I could continue she barked: "I knew you would blame it on me." Huh? She, Lori, has been most adversely affected by their father's violence. The other two, my oldest daughter told me, "tuned us out" ~ that is they ignored the fights their father and I had, whereas Lori tried to get right in the middle of them.

Those recurring dreams were distressing. Will describe them in a later post. They continued for years, then stopped, then began again. Perhaps it was as late as 1994 when I moved to California that I decided when the dreams made a comeback, it meant I had a problem that needed solving. I would take a look at my waking life to see what was not right and fix it best I could, dreams would go away.

Reading this now, I can understand the re-appearance of those nightmares coincided with reminders of the trauma. Being around persons, for instance, in abusive domestic relationship, would bring back memories of the past, which tended to depress me, thinking about that past and perhaps set off the weird, disturbing lucid dreams. 

I will have to think upon the subjective re-experiencing and rest of that. Did I have flashbacks? I always imagined flashbacks were like no longer being in the present moment. A mind trick erasing today's scenes, so that one is back on that Vietnam battlefield. December 28, 2001 I experienced what I believe was a flashback. I most definitely have, many, many times, seen the past, visual memories flashing across the brain's screen. 

I never forgot my childhood trauma of being jumped by three boys. Yet I never thought it affected me, except for the remembering of it when I was a child. The horror of being held upside down by pants legs, as one boy tried to shake me out of them, the anger on his face, when the three could not subdue me, then suddenly picked me up off the floor ~ that was horrifying, that look on his face...

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