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Random Flashbacks that Don’t Seem to be Triggered by Anything Specific

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There are moments in my day that I’ll completely stop what I’m doing and have a flashback for maybe a max of 5 seconds. I’ll just stand there, blank and motionless. I can feel myself doing it, it just takes me a second to snap myself out of it — (this is not the case when I’m not focused on something, situations where I’m watching a movie or in the shower I find myself fall into this blank empty feeling, I’m not sure how much time passes before i snap myself back into reality). The flashbacks can be something that happened 10 minutes ago or 10 years ago. They can be upsetting or happy. For example, they can be as intense as remembering crying when my grandmother passed away, or as meaningless as remembering mopping the floor at work. When these flashbacks happen i feel like for that moment I’m no longer in reality, it’s as if I’m living in the memory. Once the short few seconds are over I can go right back to my task as if it never happened.

Is this something to be concerned about? The episodes themselves aren’t affecting my way of life, but not knowing why it happens is.

Random Flashbacks that Don’t Seem to be Triggered by Anything Specific

Answered by on -

A.

You’re noting this as a potential problem and it may be, but I don’t have enough information to know what might be wrong. I would recommend keeping track of these experiences. You should note the following about your flashbacks: when they occur (i.e. time of day), your location (i.e. work, home, etc.) and what you’re doing (i.e. just waking up, immediately upon standing, etc.), whether you are highly stressed, whether you haven’t slept well, their content, and how long they last.

Perhaps do this for about a month and then analyze your data. Do you see any patterns? How often do they occur over the course of the month? This information might help you to better understand the flashbacks. Over time, you may notice a pattern developing. Having these records would also be highly beneficial to a health care or mental health professional.

Documenting the flashbacks are a good idea but it would be more helpful to discuss your concerns with your primary care doctor. He or she can gather more information about these experiences and determine if treatment is necessary. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Random Flashbacks that Don’t Seem to be Triggered by Anything Specific

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Random Flashbacks that Don’t Seem to be Triggered by Anything Specific. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/10/16/random-flashbacks-that-dont-seem-to-be-triggered-by-anything-specific/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.