Today in my little Episcopal church, which I now love, we talked about the blind man whom Jesus healed. We also sang “Amazing Grace” – “I once was blind but now I see…” And for once, I didn’t have flashbacks to the cult. It was amazing.
The thing about flashbacks is you’re “flashing back” to a time of traumatic experience. It’s as though the mind is trying to bring light to a horrific situation by reliving it. But in reality, flashbacks, as anyone who’s had one can tell you, only terrify. They retraumatize the survivor. That’s why it’s so tricky to write about violence and abuse.
The point in writing about trauma is to bring light into the darkness, not to overwhelm the reader….or the writer. Sometimes, when I talk about my book, I find myself once again consumed by the trauma I experienced. I find myself remembering painful things that pull at me like a surging undertow. In order to maintain my balance and see clearly, I need something greater than myself to hold onto.
It’s hard to survive reality on your own. I’ve found I need the spiritual support of a Higher Power. Because to God, “darkness and light are both the same” and Jesus is the one who made the blind see. When I “flash back” into the darkness, I now take the light of the Spirit with me like a great lantern. That way, I am no longer blind. I see reality for what it was and is and I can thrive.