TIPS FOR DEALING WITH FLASHBACKS/STAYING GROUNDED
I've had six years in treatment to acquire these skills. Some I've learned from treatment providers. Some from friends who suffer and others I've figured out on my own. Add your own! Hold on. It does get better.
- •Frozen orangesFreeze oranges ahead of time and when needing to stay grounded or needing help coming back from a flashback grab one of these/have someone hand it to you. They work great because it doesn't melt like ice (another coping skill), are large enough to roll around on legs or other parts of body and BONUS: smells like oranges which is not only nice but is another sense to use to pull you pack to reality.
- •What's different about this moment? Write it down.Include everything you can think of that is different in this exact moment instead of the one you're flashbacking to. Include your age (be specific, include months and days), the year, who you are with, where you are (if it's the same place what's different? Maybe a lightbulb is burned out that wasn't before), what clothes you are wearing, what you can smell. Etc etc
- •Make and use a sensory kitInclude lotion or something you can smell, something you can touch such as something soft or rough or a stress ball, earbuds for listening to music and a specific playlist set up that you can pull up and listen to.
- •Why are you safe right now?List all of the reasons you are safe in this particular moment.
- •5,4,3,2,1 - see, hear and feelWhat are 5 things you can see? What are 5 things you can hear? What are 5 things you can feel? Then go down to four for each. Then 3. Then 2 etc
- •Silly putty, stress balls, fidgets, tanglesGreat for grounding
- •Make and use grounding cards.I had cards that I referred to all the time that said things like "you are safe", "this is 2012", "you are not a bad person", "it's just a flashback", "you don't have to listen to what you're head is telling you". Making these in the moment I needed them was extremely helpful and so was looking back at them later when I needed them again.
- •--- more complicated things but ones I've also is great success with ---
- •Weighted blanketYou can google them but they are also used in autism. I ordered one for my anxiety but found it helps with grounding me as well. They are unfortunately expensive.
- •Using a dog for deep pressure therapyDeep pressure therapy works a lot like a weighted blanket but with the added bonus of something alive interacting with you and helping bringing you back to reality. I use my service dog in training and my retired service dog for DPT but literally any dog can learn how to do it. My pet dog also knows. I use it at home most often so anyone with a pet dog who is willing to try and train this could benefit. It's easiest to google deep pressure therapy service dog to learn how to train it.