Flashbacks

Flashbacks

A flashback is like reliving a distressing event that may have happened recently or many years ago. Many people who have been sexually abused or raped experience flashbacks. They can be triggered by a place, a smell or even a sound. When a flashback occurs it is

like you are once again in the situation that you are remembering. You may feel the sensations and experience the feelings you felt at that time, or it may be like you are watching a film about somebody else’s life and not feeling anything.

As flashbacks can be very scary and upsetting, it is important to look after yourself if you should experience one. Try and ground yourself in the present, perhaps by touching the furniture around you. Perhaps there is someone close who you can talk to about the flashback and try and make sense of it.

For more information, please see our section on grounding.

Above all, try to remember that although it may seem very scary, it is a memory from the past and can’t hurt you in the present, although it will probably leave you feeling very upset.

On a positive note, many experts who work with people who have been sexually abused or raped, believe that flashbacks are a sign that the person is ready to begin healing from the horrible things that have happened to them.

 

Nightmares

It is common for people who have been sexually abused or raped to have nightmares, even if it happened many years ago.This may be your mind’s way of trying to make sense of the distressing things that have happened to you.

As nightmares can be very scary and upsetting, it is important to look after yourself if you should experience one. Try and ground yourself in the present, perhaps by touching the furniture around you. Perhaps there is someone close who you can talk to about the nightmare and try and make sense of it. Above all, try to remember that although it may seem very scary, it is only a bad dream and can’t hurt you, although it will probably leave you feeling very upset.

For more information, please see our section on grounding.

 

Anxiety

The feelings that you get when you are anxious are similar to those of feeling afraid or frightened. This means that you may get physical symptoms such as sweating, quickened heart beat, or ‘butterflies’ in your stomach.

More info

Drugs/Alcohol

Drugs and Alcohol – Some people who have been affected by sexual abuse or rape may use alcohol or street drugs as a way of coping with the painful feelings they are left with. Often, it can be a way of blocking out what happened and all the terrible thoughts and feelings.

More info

Guit and Shame

Should I feel guilty because I didn’t stop the abuse? No, even though it is very common for people who have been sexually abused to feel this way. When an adult sexually abuses a child, they are using their power over you to make you do things they know are wrong.

More info

Depression

If you are feeling different to your usual self, are not interested in the things you used to be interested in, feel sad a lot of the time you may be depressed. There are lots of different feelings linked with depression and they are unique to each person.

More info

Eating Disorders

The National Centre for Eating Disorders state that there are thousands of people suffering from eating disorders who feel they have weight problems and may be obsessed with food and weight. Eating disorders include Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Overeating or Binge Eating.

More info

Anger

If you have feelings of anger that you find overwhelming or out of control it is important you get some help. If you have feelings of anger that you find overwhelming or out of control it is important you get some help.

More info

01872 262100

Talk to us

We are here to listen