Coping Strategies: Flashbacks, Painful Memories, and Panic Attacks

Link to Coping Strategies from Abuse Survivors

Rape Crisis Scotland describes flashbacks as follows:

“A flashback is when you re-experience a frightening or painful event from the past. It tends not to be like an ordinary memory, but more a sudden and unexpected intrusion. Flashbacks can last from a few seconds to a few hours. The can happen at any time and anywhere, often without warning…you can have flashbacks in dreams (‘night-terrors’). They can be triggered by anything that reminds you of what you experienced. This might be someone who resembles the person who abused you in appearance, smell, voice, or mannerisms. It could be the time of year, music, a TV programme, colours, tastes, or smells. Flashbacks happen because, after something traumatic like sexual violence, it is natural for the brain to replay events to process or reach some understanding of the attack. During a flashback, you may feel that it is really happening to you now. This is very frightening. How you experience flashbacks is individual to you and what has happened. They are your mind trying to make sense of what happened.”


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