Category Archives: grounding techniques

PTSD-How to help

Having PTSD is really hard, and so many people do not understand what it is like – they may read about it or hear about it more because veterans are being diagnosed with it more frequently, but unless they have experienced flashbacks and panic attacks, hyper arousal and the anxiety related to it— it is hard for them to know what it is like. Multi Me wrote a great blog about some ways that you can help someone who has PTSD.

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If you have PTSD then you know how absolutely awful and debilitating it can be. I thought I’d write a post about the ways in which you can help someone with PTSD. Remember this is from my own perspective.

Listen, and validate the persons feelings. We all like to feel validated, it really does help.

Talk about the symptoms. Dont be afraid of them. PTSD is really scary to the person going through it.

If a person who experiences PTSD is going through a flashback, sit with them, and listen, hold their hand, soothe them.

Allow the person to express how they are feeling. Dont minimize the persons feelings or experiences as trivial.

Dont make fun of, or laugh at the persons symptoms. They are very real.

If you are staying the night with the person, and they have a nightmare, help them by getting them a cold drink, or…

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Mindfulness

We are surrounded by different textures.  One of the principle components of mindfulness is to pay attention to things around us, focus on that – not things that worry us such as finances or school.  Just to stay in the moment.

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I took a trip to Malaysia a few months ago and it is an absolutely beautiful country.  When I went, almost no one here knew were it was.  After all the publicity about the missing plane, and then the plane being shot down – it seems like everyone knows where it is.  Well, now that you all know – you should visit it!  It really is a beautiful place.

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While I was there, I paid attention to everything.  I visited a multitude of places during my month there.  While on the beach though, there were all these little crabs!  I live in FL so of course I have been to the beach.  But for some reason, being on the beach there was just fun.  I saw these crabs and they were amazing.  Thousands of them!  Scurrying around – they created all these cool designs on the ground.  They were called bubbling (bubbler) crabs.  They make these little sand pellets and they usually form very cool circular shapes.  I did not get a picture of one of the designs, but I did get a picture of some of them.

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Focusing on all the beauty of the area though took my mind off of any problems going through my mind.  Mindfulness is amazing when you actually use it.  Of course, they key is using it!

 

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Dissociation and Staying in the Here and Now.

Dissociation.  It sucks.  It has been happening to me a lot I guess.

My anxiety medication was making things worse for me, so I was taken off of it.  But while I was on it, my dissociation was even worse than before.  But even off of it, I still dissociate. It is completely frustrating

So, some of you might not even know what dissociation is. 

Dissociation – It can be mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience.

It does not necessarily mean you have Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder).  Dissociation can simply mean you , somewhat zone out, detach yourself from what is around you, go off into your own world so you do not think what your mind wants you to think or feel. 

Dealing with my past history of abuse has been incredibly hard.  Thinking of that, the sexual abuse, the rape, everything – it has just made me incredibly anxious and depressed and quite honestly, the suicidal ideations have been running rampant in my head. 

Sometimes, I don’t even have to be thinking about any of it, and suddenly a memory will just pop into my brain and trigger me and I either have a flashback, a panic attack, or completely dissociate.  During therapy, the dissociation has happened more frequently.  It is really frustrating.  Sometimes I come out of it and just want to cry.  I feel horrible.  I don’t want to talk at all. 

It is really hard to deal with.  Staying in the here and now – I guess I just have to keep learning how to do that.  I guess I need to practice using my grounding techniques more frequently when my anxiety is high and the dissociation occurs.  As my therapist says, she is there to help me through it when it happens in her office, but when she is not around, I have to learn how to do it on my own. 

Mindfulness

It is so hard to be mindful. I struggle with staying in the moment all the time. This sums up exactly why we should be mindful though! Excellent reminder!

College on Crutches

Mindfulness. The word alone makes me cringe a bit inside after the absurd amount of times I’ve heard it in various hospitals and treatment centers. Ick. I have flashbacks to the oddly-colored sign in the psych ward dining room, promoting mindfulness and peace. The word brings up memories of sitting in a hospital meeting room with a bunch of other pain patients, discussing ways to take our focus off of the pain. I never thought I’d actually practice this skill, but now I am realizing that I have been practicing mindfulness without even realizing it.

So what is this crazy concept? Being mindful…of what? Well, the way I understand it, mindfulness means living in the moment. It means focusing on the present rather than what has happened or what will happen in the future. It’s about becoming aware of your thoughts but not letting them get to you. Mindfulness…

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Grounding Techniques for Anxiety, Panic Attacks, PTSD

I have struggled with anxiety for forever!  I have PTSD and so panic attacks have come and gone in my life for a long time.  Since I began therapy to deal with the trauma specifically they have become much more frequent though.  Luckily I have an amazing therapist that has taught me some wonderful grounding techniques.

1) When you begin to feel anxious and panic, take deep breaths in and out.  Blow out longer than you breathed in.  Pick a specific color that you see in the room around you, then begin to focus on all the things you can see in the room that have that same color.  For example, if you see something that is green, look for all the other items in the room that are also the color green.  This particular technique is my favorite.  I am a very color oriented person and so this distracts my mind.  It took some practice at first, but it has become an excellent tool for me to use.

2) Again, begin to take deep breaths in and out, with the blowing out being longer than breathing in.  Begin to name the objects in the room.  Describe them, such as where you got them or who gave them to you.  Think about why it is important to you.  This one is still a bit hard for me, mainly because many times I do not have much attachment to the things in my apartment.  They were simply bought at a store that I do not remember and not many things that people gave me.  But many people have antiques or special gifts from family members, and this could possibly be very good for them to use.

3) Pick a particular object.  Use all 5 of your senses to describe it.  For example, make a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.  (This way you can enjoy it also!)  Look at it intently.  How does it look?  What is its color?  Are there swirls in it from stirring?  Is the cup warm to touch or too hot to touch?  What does it smell like? How does it taste?  Is it flavored coffee with a hint of French vanilla, or regular strong coffee?  Is it a dark chocolate or milk chocolate flavor? Do you hear anything?  Are you stirring your cup? Does the spoon clink against the glass?  Or is it simply quiet where you can only here the birds outside or the fan spinning in the room?  This is an activity the I enjoy as well.  It allows me to focus strictly on what is going on in front of me.  Although it is a bit harder to do exactly during a panic attack, I can practice it at other times to help me be more mindful and reduce anxiety on a daily basis.

4) To bring myself out of a nightmare of panic attack and back into the present moment, it has been recommend that I just simply grab a piece of ice.  Simple right?  Doesn’t sound like it will help?  I didn’t think it would do much at first.  Supposedly the change in temperature shocks your body into recognizing there is a difference and therefore coming back to the present.  So, if you go into a panicked mode, a flashback, or wake up from a nightmare and do not really know what exactly is going on – are scared and frightened and need a way to refocus… simply grabbing a piece of ice or running your hand under cold or warm (not scalding hot) water, this might help to bring you to the present moment.  Then once in this place, you can begin to practice one of the other grounding techniques.

Those are a few techniques that have helped me.  Everyone is different though and not everything that helps one person will help another.  It is important to try things out though.   If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t give up, because most times things do not work on the first time and take practice.  Talk with your therapist or doctor though to see if they have any ideas as well, as there are a multitude of grounding and mindfulness exercises out there.