Scared by nightmares and flashbacks
Warning: The story below is somewhat disturbing, read at your own risk. Do not feel compelled to read it all. If you can’t handle it, feel free to just close it.
So basically, I’m almost entirely certain that I was abused and neglected as a child by the rest of my family. I’m not entirely sure because I can’t remember any of it, but I get vivid flashbacks to when I was a child that show enough to assume, and I often have nightmares about my parents hurting me or forcing me to do things that I don’t want to. I get these flashbacks at random times, and none of the memories last more than a half a second, but the emotional trauma and fear is enough to put me into a panic attack immediately. I haven’t told anybody because I don’t know for sure and I don’t want to be forced into foster care. I can’t sleep because I don’t feel safe in my own home anymore. I know that I was 3 years old or younger in all of these flashbacks. The most recent flashback I had was about a month ago but it still scares me and confuses me.
It went something like this:
In the flashback I was hiding behind a pew in a church and peeking out of a tiny hole. My mind kept telling me it was just a game of hide-and-seek but I could tell something was wrong because I felt so scared and like my life was in danger. I felt like I was literally about to die and I kept telling myself “if you can’t see them, they can’t see you” and trying to get myself to calm down but it felt like the whole world was imploding and I couldn’t stop it.
And then it stopped right there and left me standing in the hallway feeling like a scared little kid again and I went straight to the bathroom and scraped the skin off my entire left forearm. I don’t know who or what was trying to find me, or what happened afterwards, but it was so scary I couldn’t breathe. I don’t know what triggers them so I’m always afraid of what and when the next one will be. I know this is shocking for most of you but thanks for reading it anyway. I know something has to be done about this cause it interferes with my daily life, but I’m scared of what might happen if I do. Thanks so much for reading.
- Having disturbing thoughts of any kind can be really frightening. Thank you for choosing to share this with TeenCentral. You are strong for speaking up for yourself and asking for the help you need.
- If you feel in danger that someone is going to hurt you, you can contact 911 for immediate help, or call a number of Helplines listed in the HELP section of Teen Central anytime 24/7. Every county/state in the US has a crisis number that you can call for help, or someone can call on your behalf. Consider writing some of these numbers down on a card or putting them in your phone so you have them when you need them. More importantly, consider if you can speak up to a trusted adult in your life that can help you be safe. This could be a relative, a religious leader, a neighbor, a friend’s parent or a member of the community that you believe you can trust. Your safety is important and there are many different ways that people can offer help and support.
- In moments when you are feeling very scared, but are not in immediate danger, you can try to use some techniques to calm your mind. There are a number of things to try that may take a little getting used to, but can be very helpful. One of the things that can really help in these moments is taking deep breaths. You can do this anywhere and there’s no wrong way to do it. Another thing you can try is 5 senses – identify one thing that you can see, smell, hear, taste and feel in the moment. It can help you feel grounded in the present when your thoughts are distracting and upsetting. This will not prevent you from thinking about things, but it can give you a moment of relief and help you feel calm.
- Think about three people that you believe you could trust. Consider making a plan to talk to them about you fears in the next few days. Practice in the mirror or writing down what you want to say to them. You can start with something simple, like “I think I need help.”
- Set a timer for one minute. Practice taking deep breaths by inhaling for a count of 4, holding for 4, exhaling for 4 and holding again for 4. Notice if you feel any calmer in the moment.