This time of year is always the most difficult for me - the end of April and the beginning of May. While at this point in time I do not wish to disclose the precise reason, I will allude to it. When I was but an adolescent, I experienced the worst trauma of my entire life. That trauma has followed me every step. I suffered from PTSD for a long time after - although at the time I didn't know what was happening. The flashbacks wouldn't end.
Flashbacks, in accordance with PTSD, can make you feel like you've returned to the scene of the trauma. They can make you believe that no time has passed and you're stuck in time repeating history. It's frightening, painful, and inescapable. Your mind is triggered backwards and it has a hard time remembering how to leave.
While many years have passed, and the flashbacks have slowed - they like to reappear annually around this time of year. I will be innocently smelling the night air, or perhaps laying in bed, when all of a sudden I'm back at the scene of the crime. Emotions flood my consciousness and I'm reminded of all the horrible things that happened, like it's happening in the present. I try to move past it, but I've learned a long time ago that flashbacks are not easily escaped, or for that matter, avoided.
Last night was no different. I spent a good piece of my present time remembering my excruciating history. It brings up so many dark memories, and darker feelings. Self-loathing, depression, anxiety, panic, fear...I felt myself falling backwards into torturous nothingness. Luckily for me, this instance had a rare exception to previous instances - I had a very loving and supportive partner. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have been able to express myself openly, or as easily. I would have flailed in my own personal hell for a lot longer. Instead, they listened and held me, and reminded me that I was safe.
I think about all the other people suffering with flashbacks, and empathy pours out of me. I wish no one had to re-live their traumas. The mind is a delicate machine, that can be unfortunately programmed with undesirable routines. The trick is learning how to cope. While I understand the pressure to make it "all go away" (all too well), it's not the best solution. You inevitably end up hurting someone else - and perhaps even cause them PTSD, making it a vicious cycle. It's best to learn how to cope. The most important thing here is that time heals. While it heals rather slowly, it does heal. Perhaps there will be a scar, but it means you're a survivor - not a victim.
While I was thinking about coping techniques, I did a Google search for the hell of it. I turned out this article: Coping with Flashbacks by Matthew Tull. There's some good information there - I think next time I experience a flashback I'll try either biting into some peppermint gum, or cranking my music. It can't hurt.
Dream Day is a bizarre holiday created in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. who delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963.
Everyone dreams every time they go to sleep regardless of whether they remember or not. Most people are confused about what dreaming means. There are a few theories. I think the majority of dreamers believe that dreams mean absolutely nothing and their content is generated randomly by the brain. While that could be true, it's still just one theory among numerous. Psychoanalytic theory, put forward by Freud, is that dreams are metaphorical. Their content can be analyzed for their true meanings behind the images. Then there's a completely different theory. Phenomenological theory asserts that dreams are personal to the dreamer. There's no book of dream definitions that can accurately analyze any dream because dreams are very specific to the person.
I concur with this theory. Dreaming is extremely personal. The only person that can interpret a dream is the dreamer themselves. Perhaps that seems insurmountable but there is something every dreamer can benefit from knowing. There are different types of content in a dream. Day residue and dream lag. Day residue manifests in the dream as things from every day life. This can be information from one day to one week prior to the dream. Dream lag can be content from years ago, typically memorable emotional events. Emotional events in life are highly salient causing a person to dream about it while they're asleep, demonstrating the subconscious concern. There are also different types of dreams: existential, transcendent and nightmares. Existential dreams are usually about loss, transcendent dreams are surprising and amazing, while nightmares are terrifying.
Dreaming can change depending on what's going on in your life. For those undergoing trauma or loss, dreaming can transform into something different entirely. Those who've underwent some kind of trauma may re-experience the event in their dream while those who've suffered a loss experience separation distress.
Interpreting a dream can be difficult but each person carries with them all the knowledge they need to do so. After you dream try to write down everything you remember. The more you focus on what you do remember, the more you'll be able to recall. Write down everything and try not to be overly concerned with the bizarreness. Part of the reason we have difficulty recalling details is due to the inherent bizarreness of dreaming. When we awaken our conscious mind is confused and doesn't understand the strange images. Put aside confusion and just write it down. Once you've written everything you can remember, read it. Some things will be easy to interpret while others will take a bit more time. Try to think about things that concern you. People tend to dream about what is emotionally significant in their conscious life but it's represented in a strange new way.
I hope that with this information you will be able to interpret your dreams a little easier.
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