MrEdd, Mike, Al:
Just wanna toss out some links & a few helps here:
Some links with many good helps: http://www.stardrift.net/survivor/helping/tsld016.htm http://mysteryicebengals.tripod.com/id45.htm
A couple of good piece on flashbacks, also nightmares & triggers: http://www.survivingtothriving.org/triggers http://www.crcl.org.uk/flashbacks.html
Brief helps from The Mental Health Sanctuary:
Nightmares and day mares are normal for PTSD. They are actually part of the flashback set of symptoms. And I believe they are from a healthy part of people. It is one way your mind is trying to master your trauma (s).
You see, when something happens to people that is overwhelming; they cannot digest or integrate it at the time. But you still need to do that. So your mind continues working to digest this awful event. Kind of like you digest a big meal. One side effect of digesting an overwhelming mean might be heartburn or indigestion. Similarly to that, you have flashbacks while your mind is trying to digest your traumatic event.
Re-framing your experience can help somewhat. Most people are horrified by their flashbacks and judge them as symptoms of 'craziness'. That simply is not the case. Flashbacks are healthy and normal.
Self-talk also works somewhat. What you do is figure out all the logical reasons why you are safe from and no longer vulnerable to the traumas that happened to you. Then you make statements to yourself as if you were your best friend. Some ideas for self-talk in this situation are:
* You are safe now.
* I can take care of you.
* Give yourself your reasons why you are safe.
More detailed tips from http://www.oneinfour.org:
Coping with Flashbacks
If you are finding flashbacks or intrusive thoughts and images difficult to deal with here are some practical steps to help you deal with and cope a little more effectively.
1. Tell yourself you are having a flashback and that this is okay and very normal in people who were traumatised as children (or as adults).
2. Remind yourself that the worst is over - it happened in the past, but it is not happening now. The' child' inside you who was abused is giving you these memories to use in your healing and, however terrible you feel, you survived the awfulness then, which means you can survive and get through what you are remembering now.
3. Call on the 'adult' part of yourself to tell your 'child' that they are not alone, not in any danger now and that you will help them to get through this. Let your child self know it's okay to remember and to feel what they feel and that this will help them in healing from what had happened to them. However hard it is for you, your “child” is communicating in the only way he or she can.
4. Imagine that the images that you see are on a TV screen. Turn the sound down, turn it up again, turn the TV off so that the images fade away. Remember that you can choose whether to remember and re-feel.
5. Try some of these ways of 'grounding' yourself and becoming more aware of the present:
· stamp your feet; grind them around on the floor to remind yourself where you are now.
· look around the room, noticing the colours, the people, the shapes of things
· listen to the sounds around you: the traffic, voices, the washing machine, etc.
· feel your body, the boundary of your skin, your clothes, the chair or floor supporting you
· have an elastic band to hand (or on your wrist) - you can 'ping' it against your wrist and feel it on your skin - that feeling is in the now, the things you are re-experiencing were in the past.
6. Take care of your breathing: breathe deeply down to your diaphragm; put your hand there just above your navel and breathe so that your hand gets pushed up and down. You can also count - to 5 - as you breathe out and in. When we get scared we breathe too quickly and shallowly and our body begins to panic because we're not getting enough oxygen. This causes dizziness, shakiness and more panic. Breathing slowly and deeply will stop the panic.
7. If you have lost a sense of where you end and the rest of the world begins, rub your body so you can feel its edges, the boundary of you. Wrap yourself in a blanket, feel it around you.
8. Get support if you would like it. Let people close to you know about flashbacks so they can help if you want them to. That might mean holding you, talking to you, helping you to reconnect with the present, to remember you are safe and cared for now
9. Flashbacks are powerful experiences, which drain your energy. Take time to look after yourself when you have had a flashback. You could have a warm, relaxing bath or a sleep, a warm drink, play some soothing music or just take some quiet time for yourself. Your "child”, and you deserve being taken care of, given all you went through in the past.
10. When you feel ready, write down all you remember about the flashback and how you got through it. This will help you to remember information for your healing and to remind you that you did get through it and can again.
11. Remember you are not crazy - flashbacks are normal and you are healing.
Hope you find some of these helpful. I have.