Flashbacks And I Can't Stop Them-help?

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Jen93

MyPTSD Pro
First off, I'd just like to say how stupid this all sounds- this is probably the weirdest confession I've ever made.

I've been suffering from what I like to call "flashback overload". Basically, I get one flashback, and another right after it, and I get so confused that I curl up into a ball, sob my eyes out for what seems to be an hour, then when I get up I can't remember where I am.

The problem is this- my trigger is running water, (washing hands at school makes me cry, getting tea from the caf makes me cry,)- and this is happening in the shower. What makes it worse is the fact that I'm worried that someone will come in, see me curled up in the shower- and it's humiliating to think of being found naked while having a flashback.

I can't really stop it though. I can't take a pill in the shower (They are in my purse, and I usually get the flashbacks in the middle of taking the shower.) I've tried to think of other things, (I like to sing showtunes! :D ] And it's impossible to use the sense of sound, taste, smell, touch and sight to ground myself, since the trauma is actually completely bathroom/change room related. It seems as if there are just too many similarities, and I'm powerless to stop it.

So if anybody has any suggestions on how I could take a shower in peace and not go back to avoidance behaviours, it would be appreciated!
 

jka37

Confident
Gosh, that is awful. Why not try taking a bath? Put earplugs in, turn on loud music, turn on the bath, and then leave the room. Check back until the tub is full. Then turn off the water, and hop in.

Or, take "hobo baths" and reduce the amount of showering you need to. You can even put baby powder in your hair so you don't have to wash it as often.

Also, it sounds like you may be dissociating if you have memory loss. Are you in therapy?
 

anthony

Founder
Jen, if grounding is not working, then you have to simply shift to all cognitive, being, constantly reciting in your head the facts, not what your brain is trying to tell you, hence the flashbacks.

Use the facts. Where am I now? Because my trauma is water related, was it here in this location? Is there security here? What safety measures are there here compared to the trauma location? What are the real chances of a trauma occurring here? (lookup statistics for your trauma per population)

You can write that list for a while yet with more factual oriented questions to ask yourself during the event. This is the cognitive method to change a behaviour by using evidence, facts and statistics if needed. Commonsense evidence based on your actual location and position when showering. Safety measures in place, people present if needed, etc etc.
 

KvE

Learning
Brand new here but I can relate to this. Took awhile and it was actually my therapist who suggested it but before I turn on the shower I write on the shower wall (the one furthest from the water) with a dry erase marker. Basically telling myself what I can't think of because my brain is going into flashback mode. Basically what works for me is "My name is Kylie, I am 23 years old not _. Person is not here. They are ___. The door is locked. I am the only one here. I am safe."

That's more of an example. What I write is normally much longer and more related to what I am going through, but you get the idea. Also I play music. I hooked my MP3 player to this little speaker I got for $5. I focus on the lyrics of the song and read what I wrote over and over. Also it is very easy to wipe the dry erase marker off my shower wall since I share a bathroom this is important. Hope this helps some and if not I am sorry I couldn't be of more help.
 

Jen93

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks you guys. Haven't been on at all, and just came on last night to check this. I was surprised I had so many replies!

I really like the dry erase marker idea. It's really helpful. So thanks- now I just need to find one. :D

And Anthony, I need to learn more about this cognitive thing, all my therapist has taught me about is grounding. I think it may be hard for me to do the cognitive thing, because of the fact that I also have ADHD, and my mind can't concentrate for long at night- that's about the time my ADHD pill wears off too, but I could try it.
 

shygirl18

New Here
First off, I'd just like to say how stupid this all sounds- this is probably the weirdest confession I've ever made.


The problem is this- my trigger is running water, (washing hands at school makes me cry, getting tea from the caf makes me cry,)- and this is happening in the shower. What makes it worse is the fact that I'm worried that someone will come in, see me curled up in the shower- and it's humiliating to think of being found naked while having a flashback.

So if anybody has any suggestions on how I could take a shower in peace and not go back to avoidance behaviours, it would be appreciated!

One of my triggers is water too :( it's so embarrassing at school when people don't know why I am so terrified in the science labs :(
 

Jen93

MyPTSD Pro
I cry when I'm washing my hands after I use the bathroom in school. I turn on the tap, start washing my hands then cry, and everybody looks at me funny and asks me if I'm okay.

There's nothing wrong with having flashbacks at school. You shouldn't be embarrassed. You survived your trauma, and that's something to be proud about.
 

Jen93

MyPTSD Pro
shygirl18, what you need to do is stop using avoidance and get your therapist to help you with grounding and your triggers.

Maybe you should also tell your friends that the labs trigger you- I've told all my friends my trauma- just in the general sense, and they've learned to tell when I'm dissociating, and flashing back, just from the look on my face. They help me with grounding by just telling me I'm safe and where I am.

It's just a thought. Supportive people can help- and if your tutors aren't supportive, maybe there are other people in the class who can be supportive instead.
 

shygirl18

New Here
shygirl18, what you need to do is stop using avoidance and get your therapist to help you with grounding and your triggers.

Maybe you should also tell your friends that the labs trigger you- I've told all my friends my trauma- just in the general sense, and they've learned to tell when I'm dissociating, and flashing back, just from the look on my face. They help me with grounding by just telling me I'm safe and where I am.

I don't talk to people.. one of my tutors was REALLY helpful and she used to stay with me in labs and do the things that your friends do. But the head of department is a horrible man lol so he told her to back off and not help me :( but anyway they've banned me from labs because they said its dangerous for me to be in a lab because I have really long flashbacks where i have no idea where i am and end up sitting against a wall with my head in my hands
 
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