How a hijacked amygdala can change lives

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Photo by Ellieelien on Unsplash

Emotional flashbacks are troubling and often disabling events that cause a person to experience alarming and crippling bursts of strong emotions. Emotional flashbacks are experienced without the linked visions from the past that accompany average flashbacks.

In this article, we shall examine together what is going on in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) of those experiencing emotional flashbacks.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is a normal response to abnormal situations such as a car accident or other life-altering event. The best definition I have ever read for trauma is a quote by Cody Wiggs, LPC and it states:

“Trauma is an event, or series of events, which overwhelms the central nervous system. Trauma occurs when one’s ability to defend, protect, or say no is overwhelmed.”

What they are like and a method to defeat them

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Photo by Mitchell Hartley on Unsplash

In our first piece in the four part series on emotional flashbacks, we discussed the definition of emotional flashbacks and how they change survivors by interrupting their daily lives.

This article will attempt to explore what it is like to have an emotional flashback and the 13 steps to manage them proposed by Dr. Pete Walker.

A Short Recap

Before we delve deeper into our topics for this piece, we must take a moment to recap the definition of emotional flashbacks.

Flashbacks are definable and connectable to a singular traumatic event and include a reliving of the event through the five senses. …

When forgetting is a fact of life

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Photo by David Babayan on Unsplash

Everybody forgets that is a fact of life. You might forget where you placed your car keys or where you last saw the dog’s leash; that is ordinary forgetting.

Dissociative amnesia is different. It is a condition that is trauma-based and can disrupt a person’s life.

This article shall examine dissociative amnesia, its causes, and treatments, plus how to cope with this dissociative disorder.

In Brief, What is Dissociative Amnesia

Dissociative amnesia (DA), once known as psychogenic amnesia, is a dissociative disorder where a survivor loses or does not retain information into long-term memory, such as autobiographical memories that happened in the last hour or perhaps important events from their past. …

What are they and what are their causes?

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Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

You walk into your living room after getting out of bed in the morning feeling apprehensive and afraid, but there is nothing to be afraid of that you can observe. An overwhelming sense that something terrible is about to happen permeates your thoughts, and you do not feel at all safe.

You have just experienced an emotional flashback.

This article will examine the definition of emotional flashbacks, their causes, and some grounding techniques to help you when they attack.

What are Emotional Flashbacks?

To explain the definition of emotional flashbacks, it is first necessary to define what are flashbacks.

Flashbacks are what we all think of when we think of the term flashback from the movies or television where veterans of war relive the memories they have of combat. They see, hear, smell, feel, and even taste what was going on at that moment in the past where they became traumatized. …

How They Work to Help You Heal

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Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

The brain is a very complicated organ that rules over our lives engendering how we move, think, and feel. The way our brain cells (neurons) communicate with one another is by the use of chemicals known as neurotransmitters which they pass from one to the other.

We have briefly discussed in a previous article about neurotransmitters and a little of their vital functions. In this article, we shall explore them deeper and see how neurotransmitters can be our friend or foe when it comes to expressing the pain of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD).

A Recap on the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

We cannot go any further into our discussion about neurotransmitters and the brain until we recap the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder as stated on our first post on this subject. …

The Misery of SAD

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Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

In the last article in this series of four posts written for the CPTSD Foundation on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and complex trauma, we examined together with the definitions and each of their symptoms.

As a short recap, seasonal affective disorder is a form of major depression that affects people in the wintertime, although it can also strike in spring. For our purposes, we shall concentrate on wintertime SAD.

Complex trauma is repeated abuse or neglect, usually in childhood, committed against survivors whose symptoms linger long into adulthood.

This article shall delve deeper into how seasonal affective disorder and complex relational trauma affect how we feel and function when the days grow dark and cold. …

How the three connect and affect your life

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Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Everyone experiences some version of the winter blues when they are caught inside and unable to move about as much as they would like because of the cold and snow. But some people experience a type of major depression that affects them in the fall and winter called seasonal affective disorder that is highly impairing and disruptive to their lives.

What is this strange form of depression and how does it relate to other forms of mental health problems?

This article will focus on answering these questions about the relationships between seasonal affective disorder (SAD), complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), and complex relational trauma. …

It’s Time to Take Back Thanksgiving and Christmas

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Photo by Preslie Hirsch on Unsplash

Thanksgiving and Christmas time have once again descended upon us, bringing unique challenges for those who have experienced trauma. It doesn’t matter whether the trauma happened yesterday or decades in the past; it has a habit of coloring how we see the holidays.

In this article, we shall explore how trauma affects the enjoyment of the holiday season and ways to alleviate the pain we are feeling.

Ho, Ho, Hell

Life after trauma is full of problems, many of which come from inside us. …

Allowing Ourselves to Be Who We Are

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Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

Survivors who struggle with complex post-traumatic stress disorder or any trauma-based mental health problem often fight feelings of being inferior or not good enough. We focus so much on our downfalls and mistakes that we lose sight of the good things we do and the positive traits we bear.

In this piece, we shall examine what it is that makes a person good enough.

Why Don’t We Feel Good Enough?

Many times, the reason we spend so much time feeling not good enough is that we have so much negative self-talk going on in our minds.

Not only does our inner critic put us down, but it also replays the messages we heard during the trauma we survived. If we were told we were ugly, we internalized those words and thus began to believe that we were unattractive and not good enough. …

Isn’t everyone?

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Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

As children, many survivors faced not receiving love from their caregivers without paying a tremendous price, and even then, it wasn’t true love. This lack of attention and care left most abused and mistreated children living in a limbo of desiring the love they deserved.

In this article, we shall discuss why you may not feel good enough for love and ways you can change that for good.

Everyone Deserves to Be Loved

Everyone deserves love and respect, and yes, this includes you. The need and search for love in childhood is a fundamental and elemental part of being human. …


Shirley J. Davis

I am an author/speaker living among the corn and bean fields of Illinois in the U.S.

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