24th April 2020

Traumatic Memory and Flashbacks.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4 KJV

Reminiscing, we know can be filled with happy memory moments, we also recall the past in order to grow! We look back to remind ourselves how to do things. Sometimes we look back to see how far we have come. Have you looked back and felt sorry for yourself, or look back and wonder how you got through that or how you stayed in that situation for so long?

There are parts of my life that when I reminisce I cringe, feel sorry that I had been in that situation. There are other times, when past events just appear and the pain felt back then, comes rushing into the present. Having a flashback, sometimes has me reliving the situation quickly, which can remind me just how horrid the situation was.

These flashbacks are often called 'Pain Flashback' it is described in an article titled 'Prevalence of pain flashbacks in post traumatic stress disorder arising from exposure to multiple traumas or childhood traumatization' By B. Macdonald,T. V. Salomons L. Meteyard & M. G. Whalley (21 Feb 2018) they state that 'Flashbacks are a form of multisensory memory that are experienced with a “happening in the present” quality. Pain flashbacks are a re-experiencing of pain felt at the time of a traumatic event.[ ] They go on to say that 'Pain flashbacks are a re-experiencing of pain felt at the time of a traumatic event.

This Chapter will use two of my recurring flashbacks as examples. It will look at the stages we may have gone through to get through that past situation and the reason we have flashbacks.

My Flashback dictates that I play out the feelings of that time. I tend not to stay in that parallel past universe too long, but snap back to the present, noting that that was then, and this is now. It is to be noted here, that when these ‘flashbacks’ appear, they have been conquered up by the subconscious to be acknowledged and worked through. We will come back to that later.


My thoughts will acknowledge the flashback, depending on what I am doing or where I am at the time of the flashback. I will certainly ask myself, what evoked that flashback, I would be looking for the train of thought that brought that flashback to the present day! Again we’ll look at that later. If time and place permits, I may wonder why I stayed in that particular situation as long as I did.

I have come to the realisation that it was circumstance and mindset that kept me there. One of my issues and the subject of many of my flashbacks was money. I felt I needed more money. My circumstance (as I saw it) was to give my jobs 100% of me - That is, work every hour the job would or could offer me. I would then come home from a shift, go to sleep, eat and go back to the job. Using that strategy I wouldn’t have time to be me or do me. What I mean by that is, I was so wrapped up in earn the ‘not enough money’ and trying to work more hours, that I didn’t stop and breath. If I had stopped for a minute, I would have realised that my efforts were not giving me what I wanted or felt I needed. I would have had the time to evaluate my work/pay ratio. In my case the equation was Give 100% = not enough money. Had I come to the realisation that if I offered work 80% of me I would have 20% for myself! I would have had time to look for another job, time to consider my options perhaps working less hours so I could give 100% at work on 4 days and keep the other 3 days for myself.

I’m not in that situation now, I came through that situation by taking a breath, I stopped for a minute, and whilst at my job, I slowed down a little, just enough to consider my plight and knowing that if I carried on giving every thing to a job that wasn’t paying enough, I wouldn't move forward, but stay stuck. I started to look for other jobs. I have often had more than one job at a time and wondered if I could do another job whilst at my current job. hmmmm how would that be possible, whilst trying to do as many hours as I could?. At the time I was taking calls from distressed patients. There wasn’t always many calls coming in and I found that I had more time to read, more then I would normally do whilst at work. I scrolled the job sites and found a job, reading, reviewing and editing pieces of work. I could read, review and edit in between phone calls. HAPPY DAYS. When I got home, I sent an email to my prospective employer, they emailed back asking for samples of my work. Within three days I was employed. They didn’t even hear my voice (Everything was done by email) I was so surprised as to how fast this company took people on! I asked my daughter if this is how people get work these days? She said ‘yes mum, I get a lot of work through social media’ I was a little dubious as the field I normally work in, being 'employed’ would take at least six weeks from the first face to face interview. I went on to produce the work as expected within a week and earned over £1,000.00 HAPPY DAYS. I now looked forward to going to work to answer distress calls, as I knew I would be earning two wage instead of one that ‘wasn’t enough’.

How to survive in a world without cheques | This is Money

My path from being in the situation to coming out of it was Circumstance – I had worked and worked and worked, without coming up for breath. One November I worked over 100+ hours extra in the hope that I would have ‘enough’ for the following month (Christmas). While trying to rack up those extra100 hours, I wasn’t trying to work smarter, I wasn’t thinking of how much harder I was working. I just wasn't thinking, having a holiday approaching didn’t give me no time to recalibrate. In my mind, I had to keep going and accepting as many hours as I could physically do.

The other important element of getting out of my then situation was my Mindset. I must admit I had gotten pretty low, thinking, how am I possibly going to get out of this crazy cycle of work, sleep, work some more. I asked God/The universe for help. In fact in a journal entry, I had written helppppppppppppp! After writing those words a small voice said look on xxxxx jobsite. I looked and found the job mentioned above, reading, reviewing and editing written work.

Before getting to my very low state, low enough to ask for helpppppppp. My mindset had changed enough to have me searching for jobs in earnest, in-fact I was willing to re-locate. I was willing to sleep on my Sons or daughters’ couch and put my furniture in storage in-order to get that job that would pay ‘enough’ or more. I knew something would turn up, but did not know what or even how it would arrive. I believe it was my willingness to let go and let God, after asking for help. That sent me in the direction of that £1,000.00 a week job!

The looking back above, spoke of being in a past situation and how I believe I got through it.

There are other times that you look back and feel sorry for yourself, back then you may have felt that there was nothing you could do about the situation you found yourself in. Thinking about now makes you feel sad for the you, you had been, back there.

There was a time in my life where my finances didn’t not allow for enough food to be purchased for myself. My children had all left home. I had taken a year off. I didn’t make a success of a business venture and found I had to go back to work. I took the first job I found, I applied and it was offered. It didn’t pay ‘enough’ but it was work. As you have seen my work ethic is to give 100% so I did just that, leaving no time to consider any other options. I fell behind with my bills and found myself contacting a debt relief company. They asked me to list all my debts, all my incomes and my outgoings. When they read it back to me, they said that I had not put down enough for food. I let them known that I tried to cut back on my spending and the only place I could cut my spending was on food. On the next day I had to call them back as I had to add other information regarding my debts. They read my debts back to me, this person stated, like the person I spoke to the day before, ‘you haven’t given yourself enough for food’. Again I explained my rationale of spending that amount. It was only after having to go through the same procedure with yet another debt relief advisor over the phone. I began to feel sorry for myself and even writing this now, I have a flashback of how I felt back then. It was sad to know that I had to cut my food budget in-order to pay the rent and a few bills. One just gets on with it. This is how I remember it. I would get my wage, hoping I had worked enough extra hours to see me to the next months wage. I often looked at the payslip thinking, I could do with double that figure. Well that’s how it was for me. I would make the food I had stretch, I would add vegetables or make a meal without meat. As my shifts would be over 12 hours, sometimes I would take bread and butter sandwiches if I didn’t have egg, ham or cheese. One tends to just get on with it, the best way they know how.

I can not remember going to bed hungry, but I knew I didn’t have enough! Today as I said earlier, that situation still saddens me to know that yes, Angela you didn’t have enough. The reason it hit home was the fact that ‘others’ (The debt relief advisors) brought it to my attention or should I say out in the open. It is one thing to be going though situations in silence or on your own, it takes on a different ‘feeling’ when others become aware of it, I believe the situation takes on the vibe or feelings of the other person, as now there are two people feeling sad, embarrassed or ashamed of the situation, the situation feels even more dire!Brenda F. Anderson on Twitter: "Alter your thoughts when they are ...

Did Circumstance and Mindset help change this situation? Lets see.

The Circumstance – or my circumstance was, I didn’t or felt I didn’t have enough money. In order to survive, or maintain my daily routine.. I carried on…I just got on with it. I spent as little as possible on food and cooked accordingly. My ability to earn more money was not investigated as I was too busy trying to work every hour God and my then employer was willing to give me. I came home slept eat and went back to work mmmmmmm sounds like a pattern, what a mindset to be in! You need money, you find any job, whether it pays less than you are worth or not, you take it and then find yourself having to work over 100 extra hours just to make enough to pay the rent and some bills! How does that make sense? Lets look at what happened when my mindset changed.

The Mindset change came when I decided to get help mmmm again sounds like another pattern. The debt relief advisors put my mind at ease, letting me know that help was at hand, they could speak to my debtors for me and advising me to contact them too, letting them know that I was in touch with the debt relief company and to offer them my reference number, so they could call them and get information on my income and expenditure, this did stop the debtors calling as they all gave me a few month grace to get things sorted.

When we look back at our not so nice past and feel the ping of pain that being in that situation caused. We sometimes beat ourselves up with ‘I should have done this or I should have done that’ We now know that it takes the circumstance and the mindset to make a change. These two stages are seen in my Liminal stage, a phrase I coined in my book ('Lena Body' ( 2019) Angela Scott, Lena Body, Amazon 'Ahead' chapter 12) It is 'The point between I want change and changing' [ ] 'It's a time of the unknown, you've never been here before, never been in this particular situation, dealing with this particular problem .....If you had, you wouldn't be going through my Liminal stage. This is a stage of growing, you know that you can not go back because you have outgrown the situation and want change.' There are four stages to the Liminal Stage, but Stages 1 and Stage 3 are relevant here - Stage 1) Awareness like circumstance or situation. One becomes aware that something has to change, something has to be done and Stage 3) the Seeking help activity. We go through a mindset change, from 'I've just got to get on with things' (working as many hours as I could get, buying and cooking what food I had) to 'I can't go on like this, something has to change' and we seek help.

There are other past events in my life that only called for help or mindset change, some are too horrid to mention here. The awareness stage and the help stage happened instantaneously. In those instances, the flashback isn't as mild as others, even today I believe some counselling may be of benefit.

When a flashback appears with it's pain, we are to remember that we had to go through that situation for a reason. We are not to beat ourselves up with the 'I should have......' If we find ourselves going through the same situation again, we are to ask ourselves....'Why am I here again'?, Often times, it's because we haven't learnt the lesson we were suppose to learn the first, second or third time we went through it. As mentioned above, there are solutions where our mindset change kicks in quickly and we seek help instantly. If that situation even peaks it's head around the corner, heading in your direction, you can smell it and your trained mindset pricks up, gets into gear and blocks that situation from gathering momentum. You stop it in it's tracks and it doesn't reach you.

Moving forward, is there a way we can avoid the situations that have given us those painful flashbacks?

To some degree, Yes. Remember some of the situations we encounter, are to ensure we emerge stronger and wiser, sometimes we go through these situations in-order to enable us to help others evade the same situations. In my situation of accepting the first job I was offered, in-order to pay the bills. I properly did not listen to my intuition when it said 'Don't take that job' When taking the job, I was of the mindset 'this will pay some bills, this will give me some money, this will help' for a while! I would not have looked any further than the first few pay checks. As the Law Of Attraction states, what you think about, you bring about. My job did just that, it paid some bills, it gave me some money, it helped (a little). I have never never had a job that I thought I would retire from, meaning I never ever thought that I would be in one job for 20 or 30 years, never. My concern has always been, this will pay me money for now! Once in the job I would give 100% and become somewhat 'stuck' busying myself with working, trying to get by with the 'not enough wage', paying bills, debts and buying food! There was no time for anything else in regards to my job status. It was a 'vicious circle' I was use to. This is why listening to our intuition is vital in every aspect of our lives and yes, you may have not had to experience that 'bad' situation if we had listened, any lesson that we were to learn, we would have been taught in a more pleasing way. Note that this is not a we should have done this or done that type of advice..Intuition should be our first port of call in every aspect of our lives.

Stopping and taking a breath before entering into any new situation is also a great way of giving ourselves time or a chance to hear what intuition has to say. To answer the question how I can avoid situations that give us painful flashbacks - Listen to your intuition! Now some situations do not start off as 'bad' or 'painful' situations. To avoid that situation becoming one that evokes the pain, you need to ask yourself two questions, that is 1) 'should I be here' and 'Do I want to be here'? If you answer NO to any of those questions GET OUT. Find ways to leave the situation. It doesn't matter what the situation is! Make strides to leave. This could be seeking help, seeking advice to get out, looking for a new job or place to live. Just do something to show the universe that you want a change by putting one foot in-front of the other, in the direction you want to go and God, the Universe will show you away. But you must listen, you must be open to what comes your way, the minute your mindset has changed from 'I'm in this situation' to 'I want out of this situation' The answer will come, you just have to be ready to hear it. Your answer to your plea may come from an unexpected source. I remember having to leave my home, as I was nearing an eviction date. I was still working full time which I needed or felt that I needed in-order to generate enough money for a deposit, among other things. I believed in the power of God and knew that a way would be found to get me and my family somewhere else to live. 'Something told me to ask anybody I met at work if they knew of a good Estate agent (real estates agent) in the area. So any time I was in conversation with anyone I would mention it. There was this one guy at work who only came in once a week, I never usually get a chance to speak with him, our normal conversations would be 'Hi' and 'Bye' , but as I been told that I should ask anybody I met at work for a good estate agent. I asked him the question. He said 'yes, their name and number is on this card, give them a call' So I did, do you know I picked up the keys to my new home within a week! All paper work and deposit was paid and handed over within a week. That is the power of a changed mindset, listening and being open.

I often ask myself why I didn't do certain things sooner.

Read the conclusion I came to, in my new book which is out at the end of the year called Love live holistically.

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