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Cinema - Frightened When Attending

Discussion in 'General' started by Claire, Dec 29, 2006.

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  1. Claire

    Claire Well-Known Member

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    I used to go to the cinema a lot before but now I get frightened so easily that going to the cinema is a little like russian roulette. Surround sound systems make it even more scary. I'm left with 'PG' 'U' and the occasional '12' rated films. Basically just kids stuff. Has anyone got any suggestions how to overcome this? It doesn't sound like a major problem but it stops me going out and it constantly feels like I'm left out when my friends go to see stuff without me. The other thing is I cant stand car chases or crashes. The cause of my PTSD is a car crash. Loads have films have this kind of thing in it. I'm also super sensitive to violence, load noises, explosions etc. Does any else have this kind of thing?
     
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  3. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Well I don't have any advice for you Claire, as I'm still suffering from this the same as you, but I wanted to say you weren't the only one. I can't stand any loud noises like yelling, crashes, or any sound resembling gun fire (car muffler backfiring, balloons popping, etc). The sound of traffic and the city in general is quite bad for me, so I have started wearing earphones and playing my iPod whenever I go outside. Well done for going to the cinema at all though. I stopped going entirely about 3 years ago, and I censor very carefully what I watch on the television.

    I am starting therapy in about a week, and when the psychiatrist saw me preliminarily we talked a bit about the noises, movies, etc. It's an avoidance thing, and the way he said I would get over was with exposure therapy. But it has to be done very slowly, at least in my case he said that. So maybe you would want to do some exposure therapy too? Do you have a therapist you could try it with?
     
  4. Claire

    Claire Well-Known Member

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    thanks. At least I'm not the only one then. Yes, I think you are right its exposure therapy I need. I have tried it a little with my therapist but we did too much, too soon. I got a bit freaked out and it set me back. Got the nightmares etc back. Its a delicate balance as you probably know. I get very frustrated with it/myself.

    I've heard of cinemas doing special viewings for autistic kids. I think, in an ideal world there'd be the same for PTSD sufferers too!
     
  5. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Yeah the psychiatrist really emphasized to me how important it was to do the exposure therapy slowly, or else it just causes more stress and problems. Right now I have an assignment actually, I'm supposed to list all my triggers and things I'm avoiding, and then break them down into steps that are actually achievable for me, without causing too much stress. This is a silly one, but I can't watch the TV show The Simpsons or even look at pictures of the characters without getting upset, because The Simpsons was the show I was watching when my father shot everyone. Here's the list I made, with the doctor's assistance, for exposing myself to the Simpsons, for example:

    1. Think about The Simpsons.
    2. Say the name "The Simpsons" and names of characters out loud.
    3. Look at pictures of The Simpsons online.
    4. Look at pictures of The Simpsons in a book.
    5. Listen to the theme song of the show.
    6. Watch a small portion of the show.
    7. Watch an entire episode of the show.
    8. Watch THE episode that was playing when the trauma occured.

    So I'm supposed to start with number 1 on the list, and keep re-doing it until it doesn't make me upset anymore, then go to number 2, and so on. I'm stuck at number 2 right now.

    Oh that's cool about cinema for autistic kids... one of my little cousins is autistic. Yeah it would be nice if there were a similar thing for us, although I guess the point is to get past our symptoms, not give in to them.
     
  6. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Claire and batgirl,

    Adding my name to the list here. The last few times my family went to the movie theater, I felt like my senses were overwhelmed. Especially the sound. Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in sound. Why do they have to make it so damned LOUD in there?

    A couple of weeks ago we went and it took me until we got home (about a 20 minute drive) to get myself calmed down. Heart pounding, shaking, tense. I'm going to be staying home with the DVD player for a while. And it really pisses me off because going to the movies is something I really enjoy. *sigh* Or at least I did.

    BTW-batgirl...I hope the exposure therapy goes well for ya.
     
  7. Claire

    Claire Well-Known Member

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    Hello, funny you should say The Simpsons. I have a problem with that programme too. My problem being car sounds/noises etc. There's 2 points in the intro when the cars screech. I used to have to listen with the mute turned on the tv but now I can at least bear it. Its better if I'm watching it at the same time though not just listening to it.

    It makes perfect sense that you have a problem with that show. Have you been working on the exposure long? Any ideas how you'll get to no.3?
    It does work. My therapist has been working on getting me back on to trains and we did that very gradually. I'm better than I was now and I'm planning a trip to London next week which will be the furthest I've gone since this started.

    Its really good for me to be able to talk to other people with these kind of problems.:smile: If you or I spoke to most people in the street about being afraid of the Simpsons they'd call for the men in white coats! :crazy:

    Cinema: yes it would mean giving in, but it would be nice just to have a bit of time off from it wouldn't it?
     
  8. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Yeah that's a good way to describe it... overwhelmed. I guess most people like the loudness, as it makes you feel like you're really there or something? But ugh, obviously someone with PTSD doesn't really want to "be there"... I can already go there in my mind and it's not pleasant.

    Thanks... I really hope so, too! I've got a lot going on right now so hopefully it's not too much for me.

    Oh that's funny about The Simpsons, Claire. I've never met anyone else who had a problem with them. I forgot about the opening credits, with the cars screeching, but yeah that could definitely be a problem if you don't like car sounds. For me, the worst part is the clown, I can't even type his name at this point... because the episode I was watching when the trauma occurred featured him. Ironically enough, it was the episode where he was reunited with his estranged father!!! Err.

    No I've just started on the exposure, like 2 weeks ago. I did some exposure therapy a couple of years back with a different therapist, but it was done incorrectly (too quickly) and then the therapist retired and so it was stopped abruptly. And I went right back to my avoidance afterwards. Hopefully this time that won't happen.

    As far as getting to step 3, I'm supposed to wait until I only feel a minimal amount of anxiety with step 2. So far my anxiety is still pretty high with saying the names out loud, so I'm not ready for step 3 yet obviously. I have a tendency to faint and/or puke if I have too much exposure, so it's not a good idea for me to push myself too much. Plus I'm not supposed to be doing too much without the psychiatrist and his team. I go to an official first session next week.

    Yeah it would nice... sigh...
     
  9. Claire

    Claire Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you're on to it if you're at No2 then and you haven't officially started yet. First session will be hard but good luck. Take it steady, particularly if you've got a lot on your plate at the moment. Its going to take time. Look after yourself while you're tackling this.

    Claire
     
  10. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Thanks, I'll try.
     
  11. Andre

    Andre Active Member

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    Claire, is your hearing more sensitive now than it was before your accident? My hearing was heightened from the stress responses for about five years after mine and I still cringe inside at a lot of sounds. At first regular conversations seemed like yelling so of course the cinema was impossible for me. As well as this I am also sensitive to the sounds of crashes, among other things. I try to watch films with subtitles or captions so that I can lower the volume to a level just above the ambient noise and that lets me at least watch them at home without becoming startled. Have you looked into places servicing people with visual impairments? I seem to remember reading about some places offering special headphones with independent volume settings so that the extra descriptive track could be given to those who needed it. If you can find something like that, maybe using it to control the volume you hear would help.

    Over the years I have tried shifting through a variety of music at different volumes to expose myself to different sounds and test my sensitivity. So far I can really only listen to classical music at moderate volume and opera at about half volume and less when the diva sings loudly. I was a bit masochistic in the beginning and sampled heavy metal. That was a terrible failure though.
     
  12. Claire

    Claire Well-Known Member

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    thanks for that. I have a problem with the bass as well as the volume. Some days I can have the music louder than others but whenever things are bad I need the bass and volume turned right down and avoid songs with heavy bass lines. Heavy metal would definitely be too much for me too!

    Yes, I've been watching more foreign films with subtitles. They are usually less aggressive and violent in nature too. I still miss being able to see the odd blockbuster though. I've seen more romantic comedies than I'd care to admit!:crazy-eye
     
  13. Josh77

    Josh77 Active Member

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    Claire,
    I get sick to my stomach and start to panic when i see violence in the movies!! But only certain kinds; for example, usually if it's real life footage(war documentaries), or a re-enactment of true violent events that really happened (like September 11 movies...eg..'United 93' made me sick, dizzy, and panicked!!!!) I would just keep doing what you're doind by avoiding the movies that freighten you. I'm getting into this thread a little late, but i'm responding to your initial post.
     
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