When I’m caught in an emotional flashback I find it incredibly difficult to understand what is happening, and to access my emotions. I’m just awash with adrenaline, and I feel terrible small, lost and vulnerable. Once I begin to return to my adult senses and am asked to explain what happened and why, I’m lost for words. How do you explain that which do not truly understand?
With practice and understanding, I have started to learn to sit through the discomfort, and feel the emotion. It allows you to let the neurological pathways between physical feeling – emotion – thought – behaviour to open up and so you can retrace your steps to the instigating incident. And suddenly you realise that you feel abandoned. Not because you are actually now left to your own devices, but because you were as a toddler, and the current situation triggered memories and the same physical fight-freeze-flight response.
Some memories and emotions are yet too tender to recount in words. And some of those around us may not be capable of hearing what we have to say – but they may understand different means of communication.
I found a way in drawing, a childhood love of mine. It turned out to be incredibly therapeutic.