Well, it’s day one of my psychotherapist being away and first missed appointment. Withdrawals already !!!!! Ridiculous is it not but I can feel the build up of tension already and the need to talk with her and process ongoing flashbacks on the three babies I had. The flashbacks have been very vivid this week resulting in many showers at all sorts of odd times of the day and nights as I try and change the stimulus affecting my body and attempt to alter the imagery. Flashbacks are so real it’s as if they are happening now. A flashback is not merely a temporary memory flash of an original event but a complete, total reliving and re experience.
The reliving is a total assault on your present sensibilities, transporting you back through smells as acute as an heirloom rose; taste real as a recently eaten repaste; visuals vivid as a 3d movie in high definition with the power to completely block out whatever is presently happening around you in reality. You are transported back to the event in totality not just in memory. Anyone in the room currently with you no longer exists. They disappear down a tunnel of reality in which you’re already tentative grip is severed. Loved ones no longer exist.
All that exists is the event which may have happened thirty years ago in clarity that is as sharp as if occurring now. Physical pain of rape is experienced. Your vagina screams in agony and the shame of the invasion of your privacy devours you, drawing you further into it’s poison ivy tentacles intertwined in your brain. All you can smell is the heavy, heady breathing of the rapist. Fetid alcohol and nicotine laden breath which is all consuming becoming the only life air keeping you alive. No longer do you smell the sweetness of the living child you have just kissed. They do not exist in this flashback of thirty years ago.
You are only a six-year-old twentieth-century child locked in the twenty-first century body of a fifty-four-year-old mother of four who can no longer hold on to her grasp of the time existing now. Loved ones no longer stop the six-year-old screaming in the physical and emotional pain from erupting up through your oseophageus. The muffled scream held in by the sweaty bovine smelling hand of the snatcher of your childhood innocence. That scream never escaped your throat then and does not now. It’s a scream that is never set free, forever held in and suppressed for eternity only to be relived each time a trigger of the “flashback” happens.
It comes without warning, with triggers that are never consistent and change with fluidity. A muffled sound. Dropped cutlery. A smashed glass on the floor. A banged door. The heavy smell of a recently smoked cigarette on a passerby on the street. A just finished glass of Guinness and its remaining hop odour, distinctly different from any other alcoholic beverage. Cannot be mistaken for wine or gin. No, it’s Guinness and it has transported you from your current 2017 existence back to 1969. These are flashbacks and I have to somehow process them for the next two weeks without my rock. No one else quite gets it – the reliving of the births, the snatching away of the babies. The #tuambabies has brought it all back again.