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How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

Hi everyone im wondering how people with ptsd mainly but happy to hear from others as well
But ive been havinf alot of flashbacks and looking ahrad visions of what i think is going to happen even though i know its extremely unlikeley
But id like to know how others cope with these

9 REPLIES 9

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

Ho there @outlander

I think that is a good question and people use all sorts of techniques to help them get through such intense and emotional feelings, it really helps to also reflect on what has worked for you in the past and using that but also and trying some new things.

Some people use distraction and calming techniques, through exercise and breathing, some people like to be around others to try to calm down, and if they aren't available being near a pet can also help.

What things have you done in the past that have got you through?

Lunar Smiley Happy

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

The looking ahead visions are new to me so i don't know how to work with those but i usually use distractions but sometimes the thoughts and associated feelings over ride them @Lunar

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

Hi @outlander. Flashbacks after a traumatic situation can be very debilitating. For me they resulted in anxiety attacks where it felt like I was having a heart attack. I would wake up with rapid breathing, bathed in sweat. Sometimes they would strike during the day as well manifesting itself as a sudden feeling of dread but again with the pain in my chest. They have lessened and hopefully will disappear over time.

My therapist made these suggestions which I have found helpful. When they appear, see them for what they are - just thoughts and not reality. With regards to the visions of past experiences, she told me to veil them with a virtual coloured wash so I would distinguish that these things were not happening right now. A bit like when you see flashbacks in a movie and they are depicted in black and white or slightly blurred.

Often there are moments that would trigger my anxiety. It could be a scent, a sound, a song I hear on the radio, a news item on the media, something I see on TV. At those times, it's important to again distinguish that these things cannot harm me and that I am safe. It can get confusing so I try to ground myself - concentrate on my breathing, hug my dog, start counting or singing something, splash my face with cold water.

As for the future visions - I guess we just have to try to be optimistic. We can't do anything to change the past and the future hasn't yet happened. I try to live in the present, it's about all I can handle at the moment. 

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

hi @soul thank you for taking the time to respond Smiley Happy

yeah i still have alot of flashabacks and have a great deal of anxiety, last night was one of the worst ones ive had. the forward flashabcks are still new to me though- i have a tendency to dissociate however they are like watching a movie form my past not the furture. the forward flashback are really quite disturbing me. with my upcoming health exam my mind is playing stupid and imaging that the  nurse is going to engage in some of the things that happened to me. even the thought of that speculum scares the shite out of me and brings up alot of things within myself.

i really feel like ive been living under a rock and wasnt aware of how much my mind actually blocked out for a while and since ive disclosed its like a volcano erupting and its making it very hard to cope with added stress.

how do you just see them as thoughts? i know they are just thoughts but they are also very powerful memories too. id love to learn to conrol them but i havent gotten that far as yet.

ive tried to just think of them as thoughts but its so hard- how did you learn to just think they are thoughts and not reality now? any tips are greatly appreciated?

yes they are triggered very very very easily but without knowing hwo to control them they control me if that makes sense?

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

@outlander Our minds are complex things -unpredictable and difficult to control. Like with anything you want to be good at, keeping it in check takes practice. I'm sure you would have heard of mindfulness. Basically it's all about being really aware of your current situation, your body, your environment and if you are it's supposed to relieve the stress you are feeling. Here's a link:-

http://au.reachout.com/what-is-mindfulness

Sounds easy but in stressful situations, it can be difficult.

With these forward imaginings, it seems like you are anxious and expecting the worse. Not sure what's been happening with you as I've been away from the forums for the past couple of days but I think you're having to undergo a pelvis examination. Is it possible for you to take a mild sedative beforehand?

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

Yes i have an upcoming pelvic exam.but as i know its a trigger for some i didnt want to say but but yes thats whats happening @soul maybe with the sa counselling i xan hopefully manage it onr day
Ice decided on monday im not going to have the exam but i am going to go and have a bit more of a chat and tell her my concerns as well

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

Sounds like a good idea @outlander. Also thank you for the other night when I was having problems coping during the conflict discussion.

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

Oh thats no worries @soul i hope your doing abit better now. I know how hard it is to be in that sort of situation and your reaction was very normal ❤❤❤

Re: How do people deal with flashbacks and visions

@outlander I devised techniques for dealing with most of my ptsd symptoms and they gradually disappeared over a number of years. I had noway of dealing with nighttime ptsd though. While I slept I would relive horrible situations that had happened but in a present day context. as a result I would wake up feeling half dead, exhausted from the fear, terrible low mood, sometimes choking etc. Then I got a cat. Best thing ever... Every morning I would wake to cat in my face, or her ripping something up etc and I would immediately be distracted without dwelling on issues. I also started reimaging the dreams after I woke. So taking the dream while it was fresh and changing the ending. Also I made sure I had positive experiences during the day and listened to things that made me laugh etc before going to bed. I exercised so I went to bed tired and slept heavier. Also I used to rationalise the dream ie "when this situation happened, I was frightened. it's a natural reaction for my mind to remind me so that I can avoid it. Things are different now and so this will not happen. It's just a fear." Deep breath in, exhale and let go of fear. Distract. Eventually things in my life improved and the bad dreams stopped.

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