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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Traumatic Flashbacks and Tips to Fix



No one is immune to the post effects of manmade events or natural catastrophic situations. Such as abuse, trauma, or combat experiences as well as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. 

Abuse and trauma is happening every minute somewhere in the world. These types of painful experiences touches the soul of everyone directly or indirectly. 

Survivors of such experience report the worse part of post traumatic events is when the recollection of the events surfaces into the conscious mind. This is called "re-experiencing". Re-experiencing occurs when the memory replays the whole recording (a complete memory) or when a portion of the whole recording flashes across your mind known as a flashback. Re-experiencing is happens when all or a portion of the traumatic memory get a triggered by some past situational cue in the moment and cause a surfacing in your conscious mind without warning. 






The problem with re-experiencing is that the mind makes the memory seem like the horrifying situation is happening all over again, all painful emotions seem real and the intense is overwhelming as well as confusion sets in. You think you are going crazy.

A major associated problem with flashbacks is the core belief that formed during the event and became connected. These core beliefs, once triggered, surface into your conscious mind and cause negative thoughts. Once your negative thoughts are set in a thought loop they can develop into a thought addiction which makes you think and feel like you are totally out of control. Thought addiction quickly decreases your self-esteem, your self-worth and reduces your confidence in self. What is worse is that the looping thought can take you mentally to a place that is self-limiting, self sabotaging and self-defeating. 

Don't let traumatic memories or flashbacks of your past events take over your reality or your ability to function in the moment. 

Understanding that a memory is only a memory, just a recording or a snap shot of your history. A memory is only a replay of what has already happened that can't hurt you. 


             It happened, it is not happening!!!

You can't totally delete a traumatic memory or flashback from your brain but you can restructure the memory. Restructuring the traumatic memory will help your brain to process the content of the event, eliminate the emotional charge and stop the intensity. Restructuring a memory can remove it out of dissociative storage it has been file in for many years, allow the brain to process what happened and then convert it into  long-term memory bank safely. During the process of restructuring the traumatic memory will become insignificant, just a recording of the past. Also you can recover the part of self that you lost from the experience.


Once all painful memories are rendered invalidated, your brain can return to a sense of balance and calmness.


There is a techniques called Rapid Reduction Technique or RRT that can assist you in the process of invalidating painful and hurtful traumatic memories and flashbacks safely and protectively.



Learn more about Rapid Reduction Technique or RRT by watching this video:






Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eliminate Flashbacks


A few years ago at one of my presentation, a woman in the audience, stood up and declared that she was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. She reported that around her 28th birthday, she began to experience flashbacks of those torturing years of childhood abuse. As I listened to her story, I understood that she had been in pain for many years without any relief.

When she finished, I asked her one simple question: "Why do you think those recollections of those events have returned?" She hesitated for a few seconds, searched her thoughts and ultimately was unable to give an answer.

I had discussed this topic with so many survivors over 14 years, which had experienced the same latent reaction to childhood trauma. Roughly 76 percent of survivors of childhood abuse and trauma have re-experiencing recollections. Too many believe that a re-experiencing of memories from childhood abuse and trauma is a sign of weakness or mental illness. It is neither. In fact it is a sign of growth and strength.

Like the woman at my presentation, survivors think that they are being punished and that there is no way out of their pain. They have attempted everything from medication to years of intense therapy to no avail or relief.

The answer has to do with the way the brain treats trauma memory differently from non-traumatic memory. Simply the brain is about order and process. Everyday non-traumatic memory is stored in an orderly fashion. Traumatic memory is stored in an unconscious compartment deep in the brain to protection of the victim. Traumatic memory is sent to a dissociated storage area. In doing so the brain is saving the victim from conscious awareness of the horror of the event being experienced. The memory can be locked in that dissociated storage area for years. 

Then due to growth and personal strength perceived in the person by the brain, the memory is unlocked and sent for processing. The returning the memory to consciousness when not solicited is termed "flashback". A flashback is when the dissociated memory quickly crosses the mental screen in the mind. This process being performed is not an attempt to present pain or hurt, but healing. The brain wants the unprocessed traumatic memory to be processed, the emotions closed and the memory then to be filed in the normal way in long-term storage. Flashbacks are the brain's way of seeking order, even though does not feel that way to the recipient.

The natural response of the recipient to the flashback is to become fearful and repress or "shut down" the recollection with whatever means possible (thought, behavior or substances). What survivors all are striving for is relief from the intrusiveness.
To gain relief requires a new mindset. According to pilot study conducted with survivors of severe childhood abuse and trauma there is a guided protocol which can assist the brain to achieve order with traumatic memory. The pilot study revealed "the purpose of the guided protocol is to give the survivor the opportunity to release the intense emotional charge, and achieve closure with the memory of the overwhelming, life threatening event".

I told the woman "What I know for sure is that if you're looking for a way to accomplish complete amnesia from past pain and hurt, you will always be disappointed. Closure is the best that can be achieved. In the end, you're the only person make closure with your past. There is no drug that can do it for you. So facing your painful recollected emotions head on with a safe protocol can give your brain finality. There is nothing a therapist can say or do with memory that can give you what you can give to yourself. Taught the right skill, closure can be achieved safely."

If you are searching for a sense of closure from intruding recollections of abusive, traumatic life events or even combat, I encourage you to look no further than inside yourself. Understand that your brain is searching for order. Help it reach its objective by not shying away from the process. Storing of abusive or traumatic memories in an obscured location was God's gift of protection, and say "thank you" and move forward toward health. The irony of the process is that your brain brings back unfinished recollections not to hurt you but to complete what was not done at the time of the emotionally, life threatening overwhelming life event.

Afterthoughts

You are not ready for completion until you can affirm “I will never again give up my personal authority to my past”. Only then will you be free and ready for wholeness.

   
                                         
                                                             
For more information on 
                      Rapid Reduction Technique click here

           

                                

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2 Tips on Acceptance in Addictions and Trauma Recovery




Acceptance is one of the biggest issues in addiction as well as trauma recovery. Once you are over the initial "honeymoon" in becoming sober or out of a traumatic situation, it is so easy to slip back into old patterns, thoughts and behaviors. To think "well it was not that bad" or it was more helpful than harmful" is more common than not.

If you cannot accept that your toxic relationship with your addiction or perpetrator is killing you and your life, then you are in real trouble. Recognizing that you are in denial and unwilling to make a positive change to your life is vital. 

So let's look at the definition. The definition of "accept" from a dictionary states:

1. to receive willingly; 

2. to approve or give admittance;

3. to come to terms with something: to acknowledge a fact or truth and come to terms with it; a situation; 

4. to tolerate something without protesting or attempting to change it.

2 Tips on Acceptance

Change your Mindset

#1 Change your mindset from one of resistance to acceptance. Acceptance is the opposite of resistance and/or denial. It is the ability to give in fully, not create a barrier and acquire new skills to create a new way of life.

Acceptance is not the act of forgiveness. A person can forgive and not accept, or accept and not forgive. To do one, a person does not have to do the other. Accepting in many ways the belief that something is the fact and cannot be changed, like certain situations, events or people.

I believe that acceptance is a willful act of opening to your truth, willingness to re-shape your life and identity. Start by making an action plan with steps and then follow through. Keep your commitment to your plan.

Have Compassion for Yourself

#2 The second tip is to feel compassion for yourself. Compassion is the ability to have understanding. Understanding yourself is key to achieving a fulfilled life. 

Remember, whatever got you to here, got you here.

After Thoughts

The hardest step in recovering from post addiction or post abuse / trauma is self-truth. You addiction or perpetrator has diluted and skewed your view, beliefs and thoughts about yourself. To actually return to believing in you, you have to take back your personal authority, develop compassion and feel your strength therefore regaining your own self-power. 

Acceptance can be seen as closing a door without resistance on old unhealthy, desires, memories, situations, events, or people that cannot be changed.  The next step is to open a new door and walk through it to a new self and future.



                                                      


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