I will be making a few posts about my experience with flashbacks. Most of my flashbacks are feelings, not actual memories (see my post: The Many Faces of Flashbacks”). However, I had a very vivid memory once and it was terrible. I was at a women’s retreat (that helps women deal with abuse and other things) and we had group yoga every morning to start our day. The first day, the yoga instructor warned us that there was a chance that one or more of us could become emotional during the class, that the relaxation and movements could bring about memories or issues. I remember thinking, “Yah, right – how could yoga make me cry?”
Well, one morning, I found out how. It was the end of the class where we just laid back in a relaxed position for the last “move”. We had a choice of two positions – one just laying comfortably on our backs, the other using prop blocks under our knees and having our legs fall open at the knees. I couldn’t do the legs-open pose – it made me feel so incredibly dirty. So, I chose the normal lay-on-your back option with legs together out in front of you, hands to the side. I had done this every morning for 7 days. On the eight day, I was in this pose, relaxed at first, when suddenly vivid memories of what my brother did to me started running through my head. I couldn’t make it stop! I saw what he did to me over and over again. As I saw some of the specifically sick stuff he made me do, I kept thinking – WHO DOES THIS? HOW COULD A BROTHER DO THIS TO HIS SISTER? I saw that abused little girl in my head and I started to quietly sob. The instructor came over and gently touched my shoulder in comfort. She told me to stay as I was and then she dismissed the rest of the class. Once the room was empty, she came over to me and told me to stay in place as she massaged my head. I trusted her, so that action didn’t freak me out. I briefly told her what had happened and after a while she sat me up and asked if she could give me a hug and I let her.
That experience was terrible. I don’t think it would have happened in a normal yoga class, but at the retreat I was starting to deal with the abuse of my childhood and it was present in my mind. Then put me in a relaxed position with a quiet room – my brain just went there and the little girl took over. It was almost as if that little girl was saying, “Look! Look and see what he did to you! It’s okay to finally let yourself see it! It’s okay to finally let yourself feel it!” Well, feel it i did and I am still struggling with it. My hope is that someday, I can finally let it go.