The trigger can be unpredictable, but when the flashbacks come, they feel like spasms, rippling through her mind and body, rending her as she relives that day with harrowing clarity.
They take Nicole Fluet McGerald back behind the thin, canvas walls of the medical tent, where she hears the thud of the two Boston Marathon bombs, which radiate through her body. She feels sealed in, trapped, an easy target. She braces for a third blast, expecting to die.
“The pain I felt was so deep that it felt like the worst thing on the face of the earth,” said McGerald, who was so distraught that she had to take a leave from her job as a physical therapist at Southern New Hampshire medical Center. “Imagine the hardest emotional moment you’ve ever had in your entire life, and multiply that times 200 …. It felt like it would never end.” Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.