um, that's not 007 by those words. it is me. really. i mean it.

um, that's not 007 by those words. it is me. really. i mean it.

Yesterday, while in therapy, something was explained to me that I never knew.  These horrible sensations that have been haunting me in the most unrelentingly manner for almost two years now — and, indeed, for most of my life in far less incapcitating ways — are not “panic attacks” “freaking-out” or “stress” but are actually flashbacks.

I have always associated flashbacks with leftovers from bad acid trips or veterans who end up thinking they are still in battle/war. But, I guess the true definition of a flashback is not as hallucinatory or limited as I had thought.

FLASHBACK defined:

a psychological phenomenon in which an individual has a sudden, usually powerful, re-experiencing of a past experience or elements of a past experience. The term is used particularly when the memory is recalled involuntarily, and/or when it is so intense that the person “relives” the experience, unable to fully recognize it as memory and not something that is happening in “real time”. The medical term for the phenomenon is “hypnagogic regression”.[citation needed]

Flashbacks are not necessarily episodic — that is, the re-experienced memories may not include specific identifying features (such as images and sounds) that were part of the original event or experience. Because there is a strong emotionaltraumatic event. This is especially true for young children who were lacking the cognitive abilities needed to define and characterize the trauma when they experienced it, but who may, nevertheless, relive all of the emotions associated with the traumatic event. In addition, those adult survivors of childhood trauma who have component to memory as well, flashbacks can occur as a rush of feelings, emotions, and/or sensations associated with a solely these emotional memories to draw on, also may experience them in flashbacks.

When they occur involuntarily, flashbacks may be due to a disorder such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (in cases of war-related trauma, physical or sexual abuse trauma)

eraserheadAs always, it made me feel really odd to hear a term like that applied to me. It upset me. I was up all night. Just couldn’t sleep. And, my nicotine patch be damned I think I nearly off’d an entire pack of Marlboros just to make it through to the sunrise. That sucks because this is my fifth week on the patch and I’ve cut back to only 2.5 cigarettes a day.

see? i dyed my hair and eyebrows. this is how i apply my patch.

see? i dyed my hair and eyebrows. this is how i apply my patch.

But, i think it was unavoidable as the cigs kept me from crawly out of my skin. I fell into sleep around 5:30am and woke up at 9am. Odd thing is that I woke up feeling pretty damn good.

I went to the beach, took Little Bagel for a long walk and did some basic errands.

I think, maybe, given some time to digest the information I feel a bit relieved to know that there are real names for what is experienced. And, as “we” continue to work through all this shit in therapy — I will gradually learn tools/techniques that will help me get through these episodes.

The goal of therapy is obvious: To get ME and MY LIFE back. To be able to once again enjoy my life, live it and work again! I keep having to remind myself that it will happen. It will.

…just would be ever so nice if there were a pill or some medical procedure that could remove several years of my childhood from my brain.

Last night I sat in the midst of flashbacks — Actually, I think I was in Flashback City.  Anyway, I sat in that sad little city and just wished that all pedophiles, rapists and other evil-doer’s would just evaporate. …in a really painful way!

…And, I was also thinking that I wished cigarettes were good for us, that Diet Coke could act as a major vitamin, that chocolate/sugar conatined 0 calories and that working out was bad for us. And, that vegetables and fruit turned out to be the dangerous stuff.

Well, that is my post for the day. Now, if you will excuse me I think I might go out into the sunny day armed with my Diet Coke and my patch. I hope to leave the flashbacks in the apartment. …Maybe Little Bagel will eat them like she eats everything else.  Tho, I doubt it. Little Bagel tends to only eat the objects we value. Like photographs, art and pretty glass lamps.

poor Little Bagel. she was up all night with me. but, this is an older picture.

poor Little Bagel. she was up all night with me. but, this is an older picture.

July 8, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized.


  1. Urspo replied:

    thank you for stopping by my blog the other day.
    I deal with flashbacks a lot in my job; no fun in them. The ultimate goal is to have them but they do no more emotional upset than thinking about a painful memory.

  2. johnmichael replied:

    I am glad these things are getting identified in your life so that solutions can be raised and with understanding, you can better tackle them.

  3. The Sagittarian replied:

    That wee dog is so sweet I can’t believe she tries to eat glass lamps!! Whats with that, she running out of her own “bright” ideas? LOL. Sorry.
    I think you’re doing a grand job, albeit a painful one. You will get to you. I just know you will.

  4. Beth88 replied:

    Lol love the shot of ‘you’ with the nicotine patch. Glad to see you’re still posting, I still read the blog! In fact I recently figured out how to get it on my phone! Next up, I need to find a location in Canada that sells your book. I’ll have to have words with my daughter’s adoptive fathers and see if they can get me a copy through their bookstore (they’ll do special orders).
    Anyways just wanted to let you know that I’m still reading! Keep it up!
    And I’m glad you’ve found a name for what you’ve been experiencing. Maybe it can help your recovery.

  5. matty03 replied:

    Urspo — they are not fun, that is for sure! I just wish there were an easy fix so I could just be me again. …therapy may be killing me! (just kidding — it is saving me, but what a slow painful process)

  6. matty03 replied:

    johnmichael — thanks, i hope so!

  7. matty03 replied:

    The Sagittarian! I know! We never know what she might eat next! …and, she’s not a puppy at all — this is just what she does in life. …like a cute/sweet/furry shark. Today, she ate two napkins and a cigarette butt that blew in off the ledge of Byron’s office window. …seems fine, tho.

    I sure hope I get back to me. I don’t like this version very much. My world has become so small and limited.


  8. brand new woo replied:

    wow, i think Flashbacks are so cool! I mean, you get to wear that shirt that just hangs down revealing one shoulder. My favourite Flashback is the one where there’s a strobe light and you’re dancing in front of a TV with this pseudo Kabuki makeup on? Total coolness!! Of course nothing beats sitting on the chair, head back, and pulling on that cord to have a bucket of water rain down on you.

    oh wait, did you see Flashback….?

  9. brand new woo replied:

    i meant: Oh wait, did you SAY Flashback….??

  10. matty03 replied:

    Beth88! Yes. Thank you. I think I look really hot in my nicotine patch shot. But, I’m glad I’ve dye’d my hair back to brown.

    I know I noticed some site that was based out of canada selling my book via …but, I think the easiest way to get it is via us.

    or, at a bookstore in san francisco. lol!

    oh, my book. shudder.

    love and kisses,

  11. matty03 replied:

    Brand New Woo! Oh! Well, no. I wrote “flashback” — you’re referring to that film I star’d in back in the early 80’s! You’ll never know how difficult it was to film that magical scene with the chair, light bulb and water! I thought that bruise would never go away. …but, Alan, oh – what a feeling!!!!!

    Actually, you know, it was a true story. welder by day, stripper who doesn’t strip by night. …but, they made me play it in drag! ugh! …I guess the whole openly gay concept was too much for the 20the Century.

    love and kisses,

  12. Pants replied:

    I’m sorry you’re spending so much time in flashback city…hopefully you will be able to get out of there soon.

    I just quit smoking and I feel your pain! I’ve tried the patch before but it really mucks up my skin so I’m going with nicotine lozenges and an unhealthy amount of Cheez-its.

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