Dealing With Flashbacks
1.Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Inhale through your nose, count to ten, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat five times.
2.Find a safe place to be with your feelings.
3.Talk about what you are experiencing with someone who is really listening and is not afraid to ask questions.
4.Remind yourself that you are safe. Tell yourself that you are remembering what happened in the past and that you are in the present — safe.
5.Journal: Write down what you saw, how it felt, and what you are currently feeling.
6.Tell yourself that you are not going crazy. Flashbacks are part of the healing process. They are not going to make you crazy, even though it feels that way.
7.Do three things to care for yourself.
8.Do something physical, such as walking or running in place, pounding your fists on a pillow, or shredding newspaper.
9.Call someone in your support system. This may be someone from group, a recovery partner or an intimate partner. If your support person is not available, try calling a local crisis line for support.
10.Ground yourself with an object of empowerment and safety.
11.If you have gone through this list three times and are still feeling intense emotions related to flooding, flashbacks or a personal crisis, put a call in to your therapist. It is likely that your therapist will not be available the moment you call. Keep working through your list until you feel better and/or your therapist calls back.
[From “Triumph Over Darkness” by Wendy Ann Wood, M.A.]
"A friend is one who knows you, and loves you just the same"
Managing Triggers/Inner Child
* Make sure you are in a comfortable situation;
* Keep your journal, a drawing pad, reprogramming worksheets, comforting toys and some tissues handy. It is often helpful to keep a positive or inspiring object, image or guardian “icon” visible….something that reminds you of your desire to heal..
* Remind yourself of your positive motives and possible short-term consequences….and your reasons for risking them. It is often helpful to make some message signs (block letters, so kid alters or vulnerable inner child state can read them). For example:
This story may trigger my feelings and/or memories.
I can stop reading if I need to. If I am very upset, I can __________ until I feel better, (Fill in the blank with what works best for you, for example, “listen to some music”, “hold my teddy bear”, “call a friend”, “write in my journal”, “yell, and pound on a pillow”, “mash some clay”, “draw ugly pictures”, etc)
I am choosing to read so that I can heal by honoring and comforting my pain
I do not want to add more pain through self punishment in the present.
I am willing to release old pain, but I do not want to become confused by
it so that I think I need to be hurt any more.
* Be aware that narratives can sometimes open up associated memory fragments (a memory “bank”) which can seem mixed, confused or contradictory. Remember, you have time to sort out all of the pieces. Things are not always as they first appear. Trust your feelings as valid to your experience.
* Remember to ask yourself, “If I knew a child who just experienced what I am remembering or feeling, what would he or she need to feel comforted?” Then provide for yourself as best you are able.
The key to healing of the adult is the healing of the child.
Ideas for Self-Care
- Take a long, hot bubble bath, listen to classical music, or light candles.
- Read a special book — not one for school, work, parenting or therapy — one just for you.
- Watch old movies, eat popcorn, and drink warm tea.
- Play with your animals; they give unconditional love.
- Reduce your expectations of yourself.
- Invest in relationships when you feel most like withdrawing.
- Focus on the present. You cannot cope with the burden of the past and the fear of the future all the time.
- Listen to special music selected just for your self-care time.
- Spend an entire day doing just what you want.
- Allow yourself to cry when you need to.
- Accept that you can’t control everything.
- Take a nap.
- Go to the ocean and walk on the beach.
- Get a massage. When that is too hard, get a manicure or a pedicure.
- Go window shopping.
- Allow yourself to verbalize your anger in a way that will not be destructive to yourself or others.
- Set the table with your best dishes, linen, and silver when you are having dinner by yourself.
- Write special letters to long-lost friends. Use a special pen and stationery for this.
- Lie on the couch curled up with a warm blankey, a favorite stuffed animal, and soft music.
- Eat and sleep according to a regular schedule.
- Try not to resist the recovery process because that will make you feel more alone and out of control.
60 Ways to Nurture Yourself
Take a walk
Deep breath and think,”I am calm and peaceful”
Say an affirmation
Connect with Nature
Ride a bike
Share feelings about an experience with a friend
Read a book or magazine article
Concentrate on the flame of a candle
Soak in a hot bath, with candles and music
Listen to music you like
Express your thoughts & feelings in a journal
Exercise at the gym
Sing or makes sounds
Make a to do list
Stretch and move to music
Hug someone, ask for a hug
Write a poem
Talk to your guardian angel
Practice Yoga postures
Pet your dog or cat
Write a letter
Listen to a guided meditation tape
Take a course in Tai Chi, water aerobics, or yoga
Talk to someone by pre-tending they are facing you in an empty chair
Listen to tapes
Write about your spiritual purpose
Sit in the sun for 15 minutes
Telephone a long dis-tance friend or relative
Email a friend
Visualize yourself in a peaceful place
Change one thing to improve your diet
Notice what you are feeling several times a day
List things you will do to improve your life
Do something of service for another or for your community
Watch birds and animals interact in nature
Write a letter to someone who has hurt you, but do not send it
Update negative beliefs that limit your life
Join a church group
Feel your fear and take a positive risk for change
Journal write daily about your reactions, thoughts and feelings for a month
Learn about a religion different from your own
Sit in a garden or park
Smile at a stranger and send them thoughts of peace, acceptance, joy
List your traits, needs and want
Study with a spiritual teacher
Take a nap
Affirm your self daily
Make a list of short term and long term goals
Study ancient, esoteric wisdom teachings
Get a massage
Watch children play; talk to your inner child in a loving, joyful way
Preview your day upon awakening, Review upon retiring
Practice unconditional love and forgiveness with self and others
Eat totally healthy for one day
Acknowledge yourself for accomplishments you are proud of
Work on your family tree
Practice a daily quiet time, routine to connect spiritually