Flasbacks are very common of course and I do have some unpleasant ones associated with my stroke and time in hospital. I’m even developing a phobia of entering lifts because it triggers flashbacks of being wheeled in and out of lifts on my way to the operating theatre. But my question is about something different which intrigues me and I wonder whether anyone else has experienced this.
I’m five months post stroke and I’m having regular flashbacks to emotions from my childhood and teenage years. They are strange flashbacks because they are not at all unpleasant. In fact usually quite the opposite. For instance I might see a photograph or hear a sound which triggers a very precise memory and it’s strange and hard to describe, but I’m suddenly experiencing the exact emotion that I felt in that moment all those years ago. It’s always a warm happy sort of feeling a bit like waking from that rare pleasant dream. It’s very odd and difficult to explain, but I wonder if perhaps it is just my strokey brain searching the back shelves for something to make me feel better.
Has this happened to anyone else? Surely I can’t be the only one?
Quite simply, they are memories. Yes, perhaps more vivid memories than you’re used to. But good, healthy memories. There are good and bad flashbacks, and please focus on the good ones. The bad ones have their use too, to give us experience. I have tapped into memories in a stronger way, like you, since my stroke, 1 year ago. I think we need these flashbacks, to connect our previous lives to our present day reality. They’re connected, and we can go on living.
I have both good ones and bad ones and try and focus on the good but they also happen sometimes at very strange times like in the middle of a conversation and I have to drag myself back into the real world if that makes sense but that’s not too often… Otherwise I just let it take me! I’m 11 months in and it’s no better or worse than it was 6 months ago really so I just go with it
Bore da, I’ve had flashbacks associated through music, particularly music I listened to as a child. For example, there are pieces by Gregorio Paniagua that bring pleasant childhood flashbacks, times when I felt inspired by destiny and comforted by the present at that time.
Strokes are complex, so much so that no one truly understands what’s going on.
Memories are powerful, but you are fine somehow, Strings, despite all of your issues. In the big picture, everything is okay. It’s just when we zoom in on things… that’s when it gets really ugly.
You are not your memories. We all suffer with terrible thoughts at times. It’s part of life. You are not the man in the lift being wheeled about from place to place. That is not now, and that is not who you truly are.
There was a Buddhist teacher who once said: “We all have some degree of mental illness.” I never had a stroke (a former stroke carer), but I have mental illness. It’s life. In the big picture, everything is okay somehow.
Thanks for your replies folks, much appreciated.
It is easy on this journey to feel the need to analyse everything that happens, assuming that I must take notice of every event in case I miss something important or crucial to existence. I used to just take things as they happened and was a very easy going sort of person, but of course I’m not that person any more. My perceptions and awareness have changed and perhaps it’s down to a sense of loss that I need to find reasons or meaning and hold on to every new thing that happens.
There is probably no easy answer to any of it.
Thanks for listening guys.
I know exactly what you mean, Strings
Maybe we see things with a fresh perspective. Eager to notice new details.
I think I experience something very similar to you, and perhaps anyone who experienced a life changing event would also observe familiar things as if they were new.
I am an odd bird. I get songs stuck in my head…kid songs, songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s that my parents listened to. I also sing songs in either made up languages or real ones I don’t recognize.
I dream of people either long past this life, or have been out of my life for a long time. I sit and talk with them. It has been very pleasant in all of them.
The songs and the dreams have seemed to be in chronological order. Starting with the late 60s. I think I have made my way finally to the 90s.
The odd thing is the songs I hear are usually ones I never cared for. And some of the people as well.
One exceptionally strange one is about a boy named Johnny George Griggs from Kentucky. Still in hosptal, I dreamed my friend told me I had to hurry to get to the second hospital I was at to give marrow for this boy so he could survive his cancer. Because I could not walk, I crawled from the hospital I was in, to the other. I found a n ambulance bay where I pulled myself into the first ambulance I could find. I fell asleep from exhaustion, and was awakened by a nurse coming to get me for surgery. I told her I wasn’t sure I was in the right place. She told me I was the right person in the right place, then had surgery. (I woke up then from my first surgery for my prosthetic heart valve). It was so real to me, I researched Johnny George when I was finally out of hospital 6 months later. Johnny was a real person, from KY who was an African/Native American who had survived cancer, passing away in his 80s over 100 years ago. Everything was as presented to me in my dreams fit with this real person except he was no longer a child and nearly 200 years older than me.
@DeAnn, wow that is powerful stuff about Johnny George. Absolutely GOOD sedative alright. I’ve sometimes had very detailed “movie” like dreams but that is really something.
The music from my early teenage years, the 1960s appears often in my flashbacks. It isn’t just the music though, it’s the whole feeling, the mood and emotion that I recall. The way exactly that I felt at the time.
It’s really special when we meet long gone loved ones in our dreams. I’ve recently been there and awoke with a warm feeling that my mother knew about my stroke had been to see me and
check that I’m ok. It’s strange because in the dream she was very matter of fact about it, like I’d grazed my knee or something. But in life that was how she dealt with problems, just get over it and carry on.
Thanks DeAnn for such an interesting and heartwarming reply.