It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
Hi everyone. I'm looking for some encouragement, advice and suggestions for dhamma talks or teachers. About 4 years ago I began studying the dhamma and meditating on a daily basis, and for a couple of years found it extremely beneficial and calming. A couple of years ago however, I started experiencing what I would later find out are "emotional flashbacks (EFs)" (a little like panic attacks) which were occurring in the context of undiagnosed C-PTSD (complex PTSD) due to repressed emotional and physical abuse by my mother while I was younger. These EFs occurred on the cushion more and more frequently, I'm guessing because for the first time in my life I'd given my mind space to open up. Unfortunately, they became so frequent, that I began to associate meditation with them, and they also started occurring in other situations too. It has been a full year now that I haven't sat on the cushion, and although I have been dealing with the trauma and working to identify triggers to the EFs, I still have real fear and a feeling of an almost physical force stopping me from sitting. It's got to the stage where I could really have used some meditation during lockdown, but was unable to make myself do it. I do try to remain mindful throughout the day, however, and this has been useful during an EF to defuse the situation.
On the cushion, I have tried "sitting" with and recognising the feelings, but the trouble is they are so terrifying and emotionally distressing that I usually end up just giving up, because the pain is too much. I have tried to be aware of my breath, body, sensations, sounds....I'm not sure where to go next. I need help relearning that sitting can be a place of refuge rather than distress.
If you know of any useful resources which specifically would help with getting back on the cushion, I would be grateful. I miss it, and miss the person I was when I sat regularly.