PTSD is Like the Overdraft Fee in My Memory Bank

Memories—some I cherish and want to remember forever and some I want to forget.

A memory is the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information. I wish we could pick and choose our memories. Some memories are there forever and easily retrieved. Some memories are gone forever—vanished into thin air. Poof.

Image result for disappear I dream of Jeannie GIFs

My memory bank is much like my bank account – I don’t have a lot in it. Sometimes it feels empty, so I can’t retrieve or recall what I want or need. I lost a lot of memories due to the many electroconvulsive therapy treatments (ECTs) I had and also from being on a high doses of Klonopin (Benzodiazepine) for over twenty years.

I wish when I had my ECTs that I could have picked and chose what memories to erase and which memories to keep. Wouldn’t that be nice? That of course is not possible, but if it were there would be many more people having ECTs. That is for sure.

My memory bank and bank account are similar in other ways, as well. Sometimes they both punish me. For example, if I spend more money in my bank account than I actually have, I get charged overdraft fees. I don’t want them. They are a waste of money and that makes me angry. These unwanted and unplanned fees interfere with my budget and my ability to pay other bills and expenses.

Image result for no money in bank

Flashbacks are similar to overdraft fees. Flashbacks are not planned and are definitely not wanted. Flashbacks come back to haunt me and seemingly punish me. Flashbacks can sometimes interfere with my daily activities and even the quality of my life.

A flashback is a sudden and disturbing vivid memory of an event in the past, typically as the result of psychological trauma or taking LSD.  Strong feelings are attached to my memories as if I am eight years old again. I return to being that scared, hurt and shamed little girl, as if it were today.

A flashback can feel as though you are actually being drawn back into the traumatic experience, like it is still happening or happening all over again. They can occur uninvited, stirring up images, sensations and emotions of the original event. A flashback can be so overwhelming to one’s sense of reality, that many who suffer from them believe they are reliving or re-experiencing their trauma. A flashback is able to mimic the real thing because it provokes a similar level of stress in the body. The same hormones course through your veins as did at the time of the actual trauma, setting your heart pounding and preparing your muscles and other body systems to react as they did at the time (Rothschild, 2010).

As I have mentioned in some recent posts, my PTSD symptoms have been worse lately since I stopped taking psychotropic medications. Without psychotropic  medications, my memory is slowly improving and becoming clearer. I can focus better. However, my brain is now more exposed to some painful memories and wounds from past childhood abuse. With a clearer mind and better memory, old memories have resurfaced in an unwanted stronger and bolder way. Psychotropic medications can act like a band-aid and inhibit brain activity in both good and bad ways. I no longer have a band-aid for my brain to cover and hide my painful memory wounds.

Image result for no bandaids

As the years of my life progressed, memories from my childhood abuse increased and feelings associated from those painful memories increased in time. The older I became it seemed the more intense the feelings associated with my past memories became. It took many years before I understood what was going on with my feelings and dissociative symptoms. After I understood it better, I had a better grasp on it and could learn to counterattack it. I am still working on it and will most likely need to for the rest of my life.

After something or someone triggers my memory, I return to a memory from the past and/or flashbacks occur. I feel like I did when I was a child. I return to that time. I believe as a child my brain protected me so I could survive. Now I am living them again and feeling all the emotions that went them.

Two nights ago, I was awakened from my sleep and had flashbacks. I couldn’t get them to stop and I couldn’t fall back to sleep.  Lately more memories of my basement from my childhood keep entering my mind. It is strange and kind of scary at the same time. I can’t explain it.

I never lived this life before. This is my first time and I am doing the best I can. It seems when you live with mental illness, each day continues to be a new learning experience. There is never a dull moment inside my mind and brain. I guess that is a good thing. Who wants to be bored? It never happens for me as I continue to learn and grow more every day. I must

Now that symptoms from my bipolar have dissipated and improved lately and PTSD is rearing its ugly head more often, it is time for me to research and learn more about PTSD. I researched bipolar disorder and learned everything I could after I was first diagnosed with it and for many years after. Now I am going to focus more on PTSD. I find it all fascinating. The brain can be an organ that causes a lot of pain and destruction for a person living with mental illness, but you have to admit it is absolutely amazing and fascinating at the same time.

Image result for college of life

So much to learn. The college of life is never over. Happy first day of school again and again and again…

By the way I am going to continue to work on improving my memory bank and bank account. I wish they were both bigger and had endless happy funds I could retrieve.


Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | myloudbipolarwhispers.com | All Rights Reserved

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25 Replies to “PTSD is Like the Overdraft Fee in My Memory Bank”

  1. I have recently been diagnosed as suffering from “Intrusive Thoughts” so I know and understand would you have been going through. So, you have my full support.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Sorry you are going through what you are. I have not heard of someone being diagnosed with “intrusive thoughts.” I believe I have many of them and I know that it is tough living with them. It is difficult to get those thoughts out of your heard. That is for sure. I hope you will have some relief from them soon. Thanks for reading and for your comments I appreciate them greatly. Blessings and peace, Sue

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  2. I really liked your insight into how mental illness is never boring–so true! Just when I think I am handling it and in control, it flips on me and does something new. Yaaaay…? My memory is also full of holes, though it’s new memories I can’t retain very well. My SO likes to gaslight me (in a teasing way) by insisting I said or did something I absolutely didn’t do or say. I’m just glad he’s supportive, makes me laugh, and keeps track of things for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and I understand what you mean. You think you got it figured out and then something new happens or the same in just a different manner. We have to keep learning and adapting. It is never ending. Keeps us on our toes. That is for sure. I am having recall problems as well. I am glad you have a good, kind and supportive SO. You are blessed to have him. Laughter is the best medicine. Much love and hugs, Sue

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  3. I have a pretty bad case of PTSD myself, so I can definitely relate to the flashbacks. I have never had ECT or taken benzos, so I don’t have that there to dull or block the memories either. I’m not sure if that is good or bad in the long run, but it is rough sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. *hugs* I wish I could press a button and make your days and nights better. You are amazing though. My energy is yours to share if you need it! Precious little girl inside… you are doing a good job loving her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. When I read your last sentence, “Precious little girl inside… you are doing a good job loving her,” it made me smile form ear to ear. Thank you so much for those words. I loved that. Thanks for reading and for your kind and encouraging words. I greatly appreciate them and you. Much love and hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

      1. you’re welcome and its true you are doing for her what no one else did. You’re stepping up to the plate and not abandoning her. You should be proud of the mother you are being to her now even without anyone to show you how. Both parts of you are so courageous.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you again for more of your beautiful and encouraging words. Thank you. Your words help me and I appreciate them greatly. Hugs, Sue

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  5. You need to just let those memories of your painful childhood abuse to come to you freely, and as they come, tell yourself: i’m an adult, they can’t hurt me, and then, walk through your childhood years step by step, until eventually, looking back, you no longer feel anything anymore, and then you’ll know, that you’re, completely, healed, and i know how difficult it is, to conquer those childhood monsters, i’d had more than my share of abuse and neglect too, but, in 2008, everything revealed itself to me, and, i didn’t have a choice, but to face up to all of those former years of never-ending abuse and neglect, and after i’d walked through every step, i’m, cured…and i haven’t had a relapse, a breakdown since!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with me. I appreciate it and you give me hope that I can work through this too and that one day the pain will end. I hope so. I am very happy you are doing well. You are very strong. Much love and hugs, Sue

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  6. I can relate on having those unwanted memories and physical reactions to them. As you mention, it is good to learn more about this diagnosis. It is important to note what could be the triggers. I hope, that you find more answers regarding this. I will read about it, too.

    Have a great week,

    Ernesto

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow, really struck a cord with me. I recently underwent a therapy called EMDR, if you have not considered this, it is really worth looking in to, the hardest kind of therapy I have ever been in, but the most incredible journey. Keep strong

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much for your encouraging words. I appreciate them greatly. I am going to make time to start therapy again since my PTSD seems to be kicking me in the butt lately. My new P-doc recommended EMDR recently when I was talking to him about therapy. I will definitely look into it. Thank you. Stay strong and be well. Hugs, Sue

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