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flashbacks

L

lonelyandlost

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
233
Location
Bradford
Not sure where to post this, so move it if in wrong place

I have read in a few threads about shutting out unwanted thoughts/images in our heads when asleep or trying to sleep...

I get A LOT of horrible flashbacks. I have told my counsellor and he says that I have to push them to the side and to focus on something different.
I try, but I don't know how to (sounds stupid I know) but I really don't know how to push the thoughts away.
I told her that and then she aid to confront them head on. I know how unstable I am at the moment and I am frightened to confront them as I don't know how I would react :(

Any one have any ideas how to push things away that come up, the images also feel so real at times
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
You might find this helpful. I did for flashbacks, they are good skills to learn. Other skills mentioned on this site might help too.

http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/html/dt_handout_1.html

I also found having a piece of card by my bed that said.

My name is...NAME
I am...AGE.. years old
I live at...ADDRESS
I am married to/seeing/have friends who are...NAME.. and I have...PETS/JOB

I AM SAFE
Although it feels as though as though these things are happening now they are not.
They are in the past.

I AM SAFE
I CAN COPE.


It seems silly, but it can really help. I was dubious at first but when i tried it, and read it over and over, it brought me back to the present. It reassures me that I am here and now, that memories are just that, memories, and although they may make me feel sad they are not realities happening now.

It also helps to have a grounding object, this can be anything you can touch and feel and look at that will bring you to the present.

Confronting your memories can help too, because the more you push something away the more it can come back to you. If you push a branch away from you, eventually it will spring back and whack you with force! I view memories like that. Writing them down can help, then put the book away in a box or a draw, almost as if you are putting them away on a shelf to look at when you are ready, not when you are trying to sleep.

I got over my PTSD by talking, talking and talking to trusted persons. Not all at once, but as when memories crop up, just letting it out to someone who wouldn't judge or comment, but would listen and empathise. At times when I couldn't verbalise what i was thinking i would send an email to my therapist. Then if in the morning i was filled with regret I would ask her to delete it, without reading, which she actually did, and I trusted her for that. Another way is to write it on paper, put it in an envelope but wait a day before you post it. If you decide not to post it, you can symbolically burn it, or shred it, or bury it, or store it, whatever you feel like doing with it.

Last night I got talking to someone who I hadn't told my past to before, I was glad because then he shared his with me, it deepened our friendship. He apologised at the end for possibly upsetting me bringing up bad memories, and I told him in actual fact it really doesn't bother me now. Because although the memories are still there, the intense feelings associated with them are not. I have changed my relationship to my memories, and although they are sad, and I feel sad for what happened then, they do not make me sad today. They do not affect the day I am in. In the moment.

I hope that helps :)
 
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lonelyandlost

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
233
Location
Bradford
Thank you very much for that

It seems silly, but it can really help. I was dubious at first but when i tried it, and read it over and over, it brought me back to the present. It reassures me that I am here and now, that memories are just that, memories, and although they may make me feel sad they are not realities happening now.
None of it seems silly, It does seem hard when your mind is running 100 mph but I will really try at it. It is worth it, even it only shifts some of it. If it can shift some surely it can in time help shift the rest.

I just wish that my counsellor would have told me some things like this, she knows I am more into the self help/guidance and she used to use these to get herself through

I am going to try it tonight when I aim to bed :)

Thank you
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
No problems lonelyandlost,

I think anything is worth a try if it is not potentially damaging and you are suffering.

I think any therapy should have an element of self help to it. We can talk about things until the cows come home, but I feel that with any therapy some activity has to follow. In my experience, procrastinating, talking and remembering has helpful but limited results. For me simple but effective and practical exercises have helped me most.

It takes time for any of these exercises to help, and I think that is where some people lose hope with them, because some people want immediate and miraculous results, which is why tablets can seem most appealing to some.
However in my opinion, it takes time for your body and mind to learn the destructive behaviors to cope therefore it is natural that it will take time to relearn more helpful coping behaviors.

Let me know how you get on, and please don't get disheartened it it doesn't work right away. It can take time. These days I don't even need the card, I remember the jist of what is says and repeat it like a mantra to myself. I even had to dust off my card today to see exactly what it says to write it down here word for word! lol! So it shows how long it has been since I last needed to use it! For me it does work. I hope it does for you too :hug:
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
Hi kjfichtner and :welcome: to the forum.

That does look like a good book. Can I ask, have you suffered with PTSD, is this a personal recommendation that worked for you?

The dots exercise you mentioned sounds like a form of EMDR.

EMDR Therapy lonelyandlost is used for dealing with PTSD and has had some good results. If you find that other solutions are not working for you it might be worth looking into it.

For me I didn't think it was an option because my flashbacks were of many differing events that crop up at different times. The way it was described to me was that there would be a session focusing on the trauma event then others to 'process' it. For me I felt it wouldn't have worked as some of my memories are quite deep and only crop up at certain times or are triggered by different things. It's all a bit of a jumble really, and I didn't feel I could recall them all in one or a few sessions. I also have so many differing thoughts and feelings associated with them that it would make it near impossible for me to just learn to process the flashback without looking at the complexities of these feelings that do effect how I choose to live my life today and my reactions to things. Maybe it was the way it was described to me, i'm not sure, it would be worth checking it out for yourself rather than base your opinion on what I say, because my understanding may be wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_desensitization_and_reprocessing
 
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Paranoid MisterE

Active member
Joined
Jan 15, 2009
Messages
43
I dunno if this is relevant as im not aware i suffer from PTSD but i get flashbacks to the event that started my phychosis and dream alot that people are laughing at me, which makes me wake up in a depressed and paranoid mood. I have tried distraction techniques like listening to music which helps while trying to fall asleep by blocking out these thoughts but doesnt help my dreams. Interesting thread.
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
Hi Paranoid MisterE

Yes I do believe dreams are another way of processing our thoughts and flashbacks. I was the same as you, I had horrendous dreams, I still do occassionally. I guess yet again, talking about them helped me. As well as using the card I described earlier when I wake up to make me remember what I have now, who I am now, where I am now and bring me to reality.
I'm glad you found it interesting :)
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
Yes I am aware of NLP, I have a book and work book written by Joseph O' Connor about it. I also attended a workshop. I didn't realise you could use it for PTSD though, mainly I thought it was used to promote positive thinking and success. I will look into it.

Yes I do think identifying your triggers is a very powerful tool to use, becoming aware of what triggers you, can also help you become aware of what particular aspects of the trauma you may be struggling with.

I will read that book again once i've gone through the great big pile of books i'm supposed to be reading at the moment! :)
 
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