What is a good way to deal with flashbacks?
Last Updated: 01/26/2016 at 9:14pm
Jui Shankar, Ph.D
My worldview offers a systems perspective that values diverse clients and their struggles. I believe supportive and nonjudgmental therapeutic relationships empower clients.
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Based on my personal experience only, I have noticed a few things about flashbacks, and I've picked up a good tip from a therapist which I'll share here. During the flashback, if you are panicking, breathe like you would during a panic attack: so in deep through your nose, and out through your mouth. Watch your stomach as you breathe, and concentrate on seeing it move up, and down. Let the flashback play out if you can. Remember that nothing in the flashback can physically hurt you. Although images may be distressing, don't try to ignore them. If you recall a specific image over and over again, you will find that the emotional resonance of that image decreases over time. I think there might be a psychological name for this, but at the moment it escapes me. The important thing is to stop trying to escape, and let the images present themselves while you remain as dispassionate as possible, as if you were only a passing observer. Eventually, you will rob them of their power to distress you. The other tip I picked up which works really well is to stop, and regardless of the flashback, concentrate on your senses. Think of five things you can hear, four things you can touch, three things you can see, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. I've found that technique is useful to calm me, and can even stop a flashback occasionally. Whatever you're going through, I wish you the best of luck and some lasting peace. I can only hope that what has helped me will also help you.
After having a flashback, tell yourself that you have survived. These are just memories of the past...something traumatic that happened that you got passed. It gives you something to feel strong about.
Face it. Don't try to run away. Face it and let the worst part your life know that your still happy with your regrets with flashback.
Flashbacks can occur whenever we are triggered by stimulus that coincides with the traumatic event: a sound, a smell, a similar environment. They can happen while we are awake, or in dream state. In wakeful state it is important to remember to breathe, for it is likely we will hold the breath, or hyper-ventilate. If a particular environment causes the anxiety I suggest leaving and going somewhere you feel safe, where you can process the memory. By process I mean examine it objectively, and that take time and coping skills. I find that modalities like Belief Reprogramming, EFT, and Reiki in conjunction with talk therapy work well in lessening the frequency and impact these memories have with us. The long term goal is to retrieve our power, reclaim parts of our soul that are lost through fear, trauma, abandonment, shock... Energy therapies assist in releasing the frozen state and restoring balance so that one can eventually release the return to painful memories.
I think, learning from them, understanding them, and moving forward might do the trick. Every one uf us has sometimes flashbacks.
A good way to deal with flashbacks is to take a few deep breaths and orient yourself to your surroundings. Take note of everything around you and concentrate on taking deep breaths. Reassure yourself that your flashback is in the past and focus on the now.
Write them down, it helps you to remember everything at once which helps in recovery. The only way I see it is accept-heal-recover
Dealing with flashbacks can be difficult. A good way to deal with them is by thinking of things that you enjoy, even things that you look forward to doing in your life. Keep in mind that the flashbacks are only part of your past and your future is what you make of it!
Look forward to things you love and also I would recommend learning from the mistakes you made in those flashbacks so that you can prepare for what is coming next and Also try letting everything out of you and not keeping it inside by talking to someone who appreciates you and accepts you for who you are.
Flashbacks are usually about unpleasant experiences and I would suggest that you talk to someone about them.
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