When I was married to my ex-husband, he mentally abused me for a year and half, and in light of that I had non-epileptic seizures for the last six months of our marriage. After I left him, I instantly felt relief. I was so overjoyed to be free of him and move on with my life. For about the first six months after our separation, I was completely fine! Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I took about 10 steps back when the after affects of the abuse took over.
Calm before the storm – Like I said above, for the last six months of my marriage I was having non-epileptic seizures and therefore I was in therapy. Two months after I left my husband the seizures completely stopped and I was released from my psychiatrist. Then about four months later, I met my current boyfriend (the love of my life) and I was ecstatically happy. I had no complaints, and I hadn’t even thought much about my ex and the abuse I endured while I was with him. I felt free! I was so happy and content in my life that I thought that the worst was behind me.
Let the flashbacks begin – Then, one night I was laying bed with my boyfriend and I had just drifted off to sleep when I had my first flashback. I woke up and didn’t know what day it was or where I was. After I got my bearings, I tried to do some calm breathing, which worked, and soon I drifted off to sleep again. The instant I fell asleep the flashbacks started again. I repeated the breathing and sleeping process several times, and then around 2am, I broke down. I was literally crying my eyes out, and during that I felt the signs of a seizure start to begin. I was nauseous, dizzy, and my body started to shake. However, instead of taking the easy way out, and allowing my body to seize, I just got up and left the room. I walked around my apartment for about 20 minutes and allowed my body to calm down. After, I calmed down I went back to bed and tried to sleep again, but the flashbacks continued throughout the night.
My trigger – I didn’t understand at the time why this was happening. I was so happy with my life. Why was my body reliving the past? Then it finally hit me! My happiness was my trigger. I didn’t realize the fear my joy would bring. Subconsciously, I was waiting for the ball to drop. My relationship with my ex-husband began the same way my relationship with my boyfriend did. My boyfriend has never abused me in any way shape or form, but the relationship I have with him and the beginning of my relationship with my ex are so much alike that it literally produced agonizing fear.
How to get through it – When this all started, I researched coping with mentally abusive flashbacks and found some information that has been quite useful. According to rainn.org to help yourself through a flashback take the following steps: Take slow, deep breaths by putting your hand on your stomach and taking enough deep breaths that your hand moves out with the inhalations and in with the exhalations. Also use your five senses to ground you to the presents and recognize what would make you feel safer.
Treatment – My flashbacks continued, they didn’t stop after that first night, and slowly I could feel myself sinking back into my depression. Therefore, I started seeing my psychiatrist again and I am talking through things with him. If you are experiencing flashbacks from abuse, I encourage you to join a support group, start therapy, contact a hotline, or consult with your primary care physician. The post traumatic stress from the abuse will not go away on its own. You will have to seek help in order to get through it. However, please remember that you are strong enough to get through this, and that this too shall pass. God bless and good luck!
For more articles about abuse and relationships visit Kera Shea’s profile.