Flashback Help

Discussion in 'Rape and Abuse' started by absolution, Sep 20, 2010.

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  1. absolution

    absolution Forum Buddy

    I saw this on another forum and thought it was really helpful with how to deal with flashbacks.

    The Grounding Technique.

    It is basically using your senses to keep you in the present.

    ~Take deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth, breathe in for the count of 4, hold for 2 and out for 5 (but counting slowly). This will stop you panicking.
    ~Think about all the things you can see, make a list (be that mentally, verbally, or actually written down, often a written down list can draw you back to the present easier), say them one by one, think about each of them, their texture, colour, where they are, etc.
    ~Think about what you can hear, and work through touch, taste, feel, as well, in the same detailed manner.
    ~Think about who you trust that is around you.
    ~Remind yourself of todays day, the date, the month, year.
    ~Tell yourself that you are safe and can not be hurt.
    ~If you can, look in a mirror, look at yourself now, at this age, remind yourself that you are safe, talk to yourself in the mirror.
    ~If appropriate hold something that grounds you, or that makes you feel safe, like maybe a little teddy, or stone, or keyring or something.

    Keep doing it over and over and it will work, often doing it with someone can make it easier for you to focus on bringing yourself back to the present.

    It won't be a quick and easy solution, but the more you practice the easier and more effective it should be.

    Holding your breath and closing your eyes – Hold your breath for a little while and shutting your eyes really tight. It helps because when you open them again, the senses are heightened and you can concentrate on them for. The only thing is getting through the closing your eyes bit because it tends to intensify the flashback.

    Don’t fight it – Flashbacks are horrible and scary that’s true….but the fact is you have already lived through this it can never hurt you in the way it hurt you back then. Fighting the flashbacks can often make them get worse. They wont to be seen and heard so they can be dealt with and you can heal. So when its safe to do so – don’t fight the flashback. Go with it. Don’t fight it. Its OK to cry, its ok to hurt and be angry, Whatever your feeling it is OK to express….but remember you already got through the hardest part.

    Take control – Flashbacks are in your head. This means though it feels there in control YOU ARE. Try and control; manipulate, the images your seeing. When it comes to mind push the image away make it smaller an smaller…bring it closer. Spin it upside now. Pause it (that’s a good one) or even change it. Put Mickey mouse ears onto the person it involves or give them a giant tash. Make them fall over before they get to you. How about even changing the outcome? Saying NO STOP in the way you couldn’t back then. This taes a lot of practice but can really help.

    Focusing on counting your breathing can help – keep thinking of the numbers focus only on the numbers. Breath 1, 2 , 3, 4, out 2, 3, 4 in 2, 3, 4

    Visualisation – When you start to flashback close your eyes and picture somewhere safe. Create that place in detail. Things in that space, smells, sounds. This safe space is a place you cant be hurt. It’s a place you have complete control of.

    A small object in your pocket - When you're out, try and have something in your pocket that's small enough to hide easily. Giving yourself something to "mess with" if you will helps you try and focus on something else other than the flashback. It could be something as simple as a coin, try to figure out what coin it is, and see if you can feel which side is the heads, and which side is the tails. Sounds stupid, but it helps.

    Waking up other senses - Another thing that helps some people is waking up other senses. You could try things like splashing water on your face, moving up and about, smelling a comforting smell (like perfume), or playing a comforting song or something like that.

    Carry a small object in your hand - Something you can fit in your hand and something that has texture that you can feel. think about the object and why you have it and such.

    Talking to yourself - Say to yourself what you wanted to say then and what you wanted to do...it changes the image in your head and once it's changed for the better you can let it play and know that you'll be safe.

    Counting - Counting can help distract your mind, and keep you focussed on something that isn't the flashback. It's also very discreet to count in your head. Try to count by 2's (although doubles can also work) as it is slightly challenging to see how far / fast you can go, and the further you can do the calmer you might get, so it can help you measure what level of focus you have. You might get so frustrated at counting it can completely distracts you!
  2. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    This looks really good. Thanks for sharing it with us...J
  3. absolution

    absolution Forum Buddy

    Sure thing :)
  4. Viro

    Viro Well-Known Member

    This is a good guide, I'd say. Thank you for posting this.
  5. absolution

    absolution Forum Buddy

    Sure thing. :smile:
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