Flashbacks can be difficult and painful to deal with. Many people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) struggle with intense flashbacks. Those with co-occurring substance use disorders often turn to substances to help mask the pain they feel from these flashbacks. Flashbacks can bring on a range of emotions. If you’re struggling with PTSD flashbacks, there are steps you can take to help stop them. Pinnacle Recovery recommends trying these steps:
Name the problem
When a flashback can be so difficult and emotional, you may get swept up into it. You may find yourself unable to name what you are going through. Once you know what the symptoms feel like, naming the problem is the first step to stopping a flashback. You can’t stop the problem if you first do not know what the problem is.
Although you may feel like it, reassure yourself that you are not in danger. You didn’t do anything wrong to feel like this, and you definitely don’t deserve it. Practice reassuring yourself that you are okay and you will get through this.
This too will pass
Remind yourself that the feelings are temporary. These feelings will not stick around forever. You will get through them and you will feel better again. You are not a slave to your flashback.
Identify the feelings underneath
What are you feeling? You may be scared, sad, overwhelmed, or lonely. If you aren’t one of these, figure out what you are feeling. You don’t want to end up feeling powerless to your feelings because you can’t identify what you are feeling. To feel better, you must first know what you are feeling.
Counter the inner critic
Your inner critic is telling you lies. Along with your feelings, you must recognize that. Tell the critic that it is wrong. You aren’t your feelings and you aren’t your flashback.
Stop the inner critic
Don’t allow your inner critic or your flashback to abuse you. Put a stop to the inner critic like you would if someone else was physically bothering you.
Ask for help
If you’re feeling stuck, there’s no shame in asking outside sources for help. You may need to be alone for a few moments, or maybe you need to occupy yourself with other people. Whatever it is that you need, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Focus on your body and your feelings
Try to ground yourself and get present with your body and your feelings. Don’t allow yourself to get swept up in your flashback.
Figure out what your triggers are
If you don’t know what triggered your flashback, you won’t be able to prevent it in the future. Figuring out what your triggers are is one of the most important steps. Once you realize your triggers, you can remove yourself from the situation that is triggering you.
Be on your own side
Allow yourself to make mistakes. Of course, we don’t aim for mistakes; but, they happen. Allow yourself the space to deal with your feelings in a healthy way. Show yourself some love. It’s going to be okay.
Pinnacle Recovery is here for you. We offer PTSD and substance use programs. Call now to see how we can help you at 1-866-301-0573. We can’t wait to hear from you!