Grounding for flashbacks

The idea of grounding is basically using your senses to keep you in the present.

~Takedeep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth, breathein forthe count of 4, hold for 2 and out for 5 (but counting slowly).Thiswill stop you panicking.

~Think about all the things you can see,make a list (be that mentally,verbally, or actually written down, oftena written down list can drawyou back to the present easier), say themone by one, think about eachof them, their texture, colour, where theyare, 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.

~Ifyou can, look in a mirror, look at yourself now, at this age,remindyourself that you are safe, talk to yourself in the mirror.

~Ifappropriate hold something that grounds you, or that makes youfeelsafe, like maybe a little teddy, or stone, or keyring or something.

Keepdoing it over and over and it will work, often doing it withsomeone canmake it easier for you to focus on bringing yourself backto thepresent.

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

Holdingyour breath and closing your eyes – Hold your breath fora little whileand shutting your eyes really tight. It helps becausewhen you open themagain, the senses are heightened and you canconcentrate on them for.The only thing is getting through the closingyour eyes bit because ittends to intensify the flashback.

Don’t fight it – Flashbacks are horrible and scary that’strue….but the fact is youhave already lived through this it can neverhurt you in the way it hurtyou back then. Fighting the flashbacks canoften make them get worse.They wont to be seen and heard so they canbe dealt with and you canheal. So when its safe to do so – don’t fightthe flashback. Go with it.Don’t fightit. Its OK to cry, its ok to hurt and be angry, Whateveryour feelingit is OK to express….but remember you already got throughthe hardestpart.

Take control – Flashbacks arein your head. This means though itfeels there in control YOU ARE. Tryand control; manipulate, the imagesyour seeing. When it comes to mindpush the image away make it smalleran smaller…bring it closer. Spin itupside now. Pause it (that’s a goodone) or even change it. Put Mickeymouse ears onto the person itinvolves or give them a giant tash. Makethem fall over before they getto you. How about even changing theoutcome? Saying NO STOP in the wayyou couldn’t back then. This taes alot of practice but can really help.

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

Visualisation– When you start to flashbackclose your eyes and picture somewheresafe. Create that place indetail. Things in that space, smells, sounds.This safe space is aplace you cant be hurt. It’s a place you havecomplete control of.

A small object inyour pocket– When you’re out, try and have something in your pocketthat’s smallenough to hide easily. Giving yourself something to “messwith” if youwill helps you try and focus on something else other thanthe flashback.It could be something as simple as a coin, try to figureout what coinit is, and see if you can feel which side is the heads,and which sideis the tails. Sounds stupid, but it helps.

Wakingup other senses – Another thing that helps some people iswaking upother senses. You could try things like splashing water onyour face,moving up and about, smelling a comforting smell (likeperfume), orplaying a comforting song or something like that.

Carrya small object in your hand – Something you can fit inyour hand andsomething that has texture that you can feel. think aboutthe object andwhy you have it and such.

Talking to yourself– Say to yourself what you wanted to saythen and what you wanted todo…it changes the image in your head andonce it’s changed for thebetter you can let it play and know thatyou’ll be safe.

Counting– Counting can help distract your mind, and keep you focussed onsomething that isn’t the flashback.It’s also very discreet to count inyour head. Try to count by 2’s(although doubles can also work) as it isslightly challenging to seehow far / fast you can go, and the furtheryou can do the calmer youmight get, so it can help you measure whatlevel of focus you have. You might get so frustrated at counting it cancompletely distracts you!

A few ideas:

  • :Ifyou are sitting, stand. If you are standing sit. Pay attention to themovement change.
  • Reminding yourself — you are in control.Rub yourpalms, clap your hands. Listen to the sounds. Feel the sensation.
  • If youhave a pet touch them. Feel their fur and speak the animals name outloud.Find your pulse on your wrist and count the beats per minute.Concentrate on feeling the blood pulse throughout your body.
  • Cross yourlegs and arms. Feel the sensations of you controlling your body.
  • Stomp your feet to remind yourself where you are
  • Hold onto a stuffed animal as tight as you need to and just run your hand through the fur.
  • Ifyou have aclose friend who knows you have trouble with flashbacks, youmight wantto let them know so they can kind of “call you back” toreality.
  • Put both feet on the ground, and I talk aloud to yourself.
  • Redo your makeup. it’ssomething that can be done in public too
  • Splash face with coldwater
  • Flick rubber band round wrist

these ones aren;t grounding methods as such… but can make flashbacksfeel not quite asbad (though no denying they are still not nice):

  • Create a boundary.Sometimes during a flashback it feels as though you do not have anyskin, you don’t know where youbegin or stop. Wrap yourself in ablanket, anything that will make youfeel protected from the outside.
  • Remind yourself it’s just a memory. The abuse is over, you survived and youare safe. The feelings and sensations you are experiencing are memories from the past.
  • Take time to recover.Flashbacks are painful and draining. It may take awhile to recover.Give yourself time to feel better and stronger again.
  • Honour (not right word really) your experience. Appreciate yourself for surviving. Recognize your courageand strength.Don’t fight it

5 Responses to “Grounding for flashbacks”

  1. Splinteredones Says:

    Thanks for posting this! Didn’t know that was you, very confused today. You are a very special one!

  2. 5kidswdisabilities Says:

    Those are great ideas! I empathize with your PTSD as I have a daughter and a son with it. Tough thing to live with.
    Lindsey Petersen

  3. Dealing with PTSD symptoms « Shadowlight's Blog Says:

    […] Stigma of PTSD Groundng and triggers Grounding for flashbacks […]

  4. kelly Says:

    I really liked reading this post, continue posting more like it.

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