As I Lay Me Down to Sleep

June 29, 2010

As I Lay Me Down to Sleep

As I lay me down to sleep
flashbacks in the mind release.
Pushing forward, images come
as I fight to not come undone.
My body tenses; I cannot breathe,
overwhelmed by what I “see”.
Morphing one image into another,
with silent screams of “no” in my head,
I try to be open to history’s unveiling,
fighting the urge to let the mists return.
But slowly it slips away from me again.
And in the morning I awake
with a new reality like a distant dream.
Is anything ever what it seems?

June 28, 2010


  1. Such a fascinating portrait of amesia and the struggle to recall information….very poignant poem.

    • Thank you, slp. I appreciate your coming by and commenting.

  2. This is so very real for me. I have flashbacks to childhood events and to current day self-harm events. But most of my flashbacks to the distant past are in the form of emotional flashbacks or body memories. All horrible… For me, I do not learn anything new in any new flashback, so I try to ground and not be open to “history’s unveiling”.

    • I hear you, Paul. It is a real battle for me.

      I think I have already learned enough to be able to guess the rest. Still…in the novel I reference in the previous post…I find it interesting that she also blocked out an incredibly positive experience, too. I wonder how many of those are also hidden behind the veil of amnesia.

      My sister is gone…buried inside somewhere. Surely…there must be SOME positive experiences with her…I hope. Maybe there are none. *sigh*

      I believe that the intense emotional flashbacks…so intense that I feel them physically, too…are coming from something undealt with. At some point…I believe I need to go there. I believe that, for me, it is part of the key to healing.

      It is a love/hate kind of thing. I hate the thought of remembering. But I love the thought of having some of my life back. Maybe that is stupid…especially if it is just filled with pain. I don’t know.

      I appreciate your coming by and hope you are doing well.

  3. Yes, I see what you are saying. I often try to ground when I have flashbacks, but there is a very real processing piece involved, too, that I failed to recognize. I think our mind helps us by giving us little snippets to process, otherwise we get overwhelmed. I tend to think that “good” things are not remembered as flashbacks… but more as the rest of our memories are: as memories. Flashbacks are in a special class. They are separate, as you relate from the woman in the novel, held apart and locked away… only to intrude upon us when they are triggered (or we are ready).

    • Sometimes…in the intensity of things…grounding becomes the most important thing we can do. It is kind of difficult to process anything when ungrounded…although, as you wrote…we do get snippets of things anyway.

      I get positive flashbacks, too, and they are overwhelming. I will have to write about that some time.

      With my sister, though, I get almost nothing. I only have a few snippets of memories.

      With the woman in the novel, the positive that she also blocked out did not come as flashbacks. Rather…as she allowed the whole thing to unfold…it led her to something that had also happened at the incident that was amazingly positive.

      Of course…it was just a novel. But I know the author was trying to base it upon real ideas.

      Hope I made sense here. I am a bit foggy at the moment. Even as I was writing I got little snippets of visuals. I guess this is the week for things.

  4. The tricks that the realms of sleep and subconscious can play on our minds is quite fascinating! And then the phenomenon of waking up makes us question it all…
    A lovely poem which we can very well associate ourselves with…
    Thanks for sharing..

    • So true, Kavita. In this case, it started as soon as I laid down…before sleep could even begin to come. That is one of the ways flashbacks come to me.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      • Really??? Actually, it happens to me too… and they not necessarily flashbacks, but they could be flashes/random ideas too! Quite amazing… the entire working of the mind.. phew

        • Hi, Kavita! I get the random thoughts and ideas thing, too. As I lay there getting ready to sleep, I will get ideas for poems and blog posts and all kinds of things. It also happens in the bathtub! LOL It just takes getting alone and undisturbed. I am full of ideas…too many to even begin to write them all down.

          The flashbacks, though, are something else. It is real events from the past that have been buried deep inside…dissociated away…that are pushing into the present. I am partially amnesic. The post right before this one explains the background for the poem a bit.

          • It’s a good thing you told me about the background for this poem… Cuz when I had read this poem, I was so carried away by the idea, that reading your other posts beneath this one didn’t even occur to me! Will get to the immediate previous and more right away!
            As for the bathtub brilliance, and those lone moments of Eureka… surely, NOTHING can beat those! Which is why I keep my notebook even beside my bed .. just in case … and have used it too – in the dark – to scribble away some ideas, which if unwritten, might just be forgotten. Cannot risk that 🙂
            Anyway, now to your posts!!!

            • Kavita, there are pens that actually have little lights in them…perfect for writing in the dark. 😉

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