Sufferer I'm New - Having trouble Grounding

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Chris416

New Here
Hi everybody,

My name is Chris. I'm new here and looking for guidance from others that have had success on their journey to recovery.

Three years ago before my 30th birthday the flashbacks began.

I had a traumatic childhood. I only remember fragments of my life. I know I was sexually abused in school around 5 years old. I remember being told no one likes a tattletale, the story of the boy who cried wolf, and lots of bullying from students and teachers. The rest of my days just bleeds together.

I sincerely want to start my journey, but I'm stuck. I haven't found a way to ground myself when I'm triggered. My day comes to an abrupt stop.

Can you share some tools and techniques, please and thank you?
 

bellbird

Sponsor
Welcome, @Chris416 :)

Some grounding techniques I use are:

*Four elements
-earth: feel the floor against your feet, notice the chair underneath you supporting you, etc.
-air: take a slow breath in, hold, release the air like breathing out a ribbon
-water: make saliva (this helps with calming, because it is used for digestion which is not a priority when we are in fight/flight)
-fire: fire up your imagination and picture yourself in a calm place

*Five senses:
-name outloud 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel (touch), 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste, in as much detail as is helpful

*My grounding mantra, particularly helpful when I've just woken from a nightmare. I say outloud:
"My name is Bell Bird, I live at 123 Avian Lane, and I am safe."
 

Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
Good luck with your journey, @Chris416

Try eating something with an unusual shape, like a raisin. Put it in your mouth and feel its shape and texture. Move it around your mouth, and notice the feelings of your tongue and cheeks and palate. Notice any taste. Bite into it, and notice the difference in taste and texture. Chew it, and notice the taste and texture. You can do this with meals made up of different foods.

I find being outdoors really helpful. I remind myself of the exact day and notice all I can about the weather and how the plants look on that day. On paths I've been on many times, I try to find something that I've never seen before.
 

RussellSue

Not Active
Hello and welcome.

I use a weighted lap pad and it helps me a lot. Heat is extremely helpful for me to help me relax - I used to take lots of baths but now use a heating pad and sauna blanket. I do a lot of breathing from my diaphragm like they used to tell us to do in choir practice. Getting even just a few really deep breaths is extremely helpful. I agree with @Wendell_R about being outside. The woods are my favorite.

I hope you are able to find the help and support you are looking for here. There are lots of great living resources here.
 

Friday

Moderator
sincerely want to start my journey, but I'm stuck. I haven't found a way to ground myself when I'm triggered. My day comes to an abrupt stop
Good news... That IS starting your journey.

Okay, I know, that’s super sucky in the good news department.

It’s just also true. Because in order to learn to effectively manage triggers & stressors? You actually have to be experiencing triggers and stressors, and then be experiencing a symptomatic reaction to them, in order to learn/practice your management tools.

The very first time I did that? I was super crazy lucky to be around people for whom this was old hat & the entire process was much looked upon as a game, rather than as something wrong to avoid. To “win” the game I had to (or have to) get back under control faster & better, and recover faster and better, each time I was triggered. <<< It’s a skill set that requires practice. If I’m having 25 panic attacks in a day? I am going to barely be losing any time to them, because I’m practicing the ever loving hell outta my skill set. At my best? My heart can just barely skip or rapid fire a few beats as my adrenaline system rockets 🚀 skyward... only to get yanked back down to earth by the collar & told to sit-stay. Total elapsed time? Just a few seconds. COMPARED to when I haven’t had a panic attack in several years? <low whistle> There goes not only my entire day... but the next several days in “hangover” from it.

***

As far as grounding skills, my best methods are usually a combo of blowing off stress / burning off the chemical concoction swirling around in my blood (read: exercise) combined with sensory tricks, like hot/cold/hot/cold showers, a cold drink in a hot shower, or hot drink in a cold shower... or movement through space, (which combines exercise & sensory stuff)...particularly? Complicated movement I have to be paying attention to, to avoid biting it. Think things like gravity sports (surfing, snowboarding, springboard diving, etc.), or gymnastics, or sparring with a partner, although practicing forms by myself can help as well if I’m looking for more of a meditative bent, rather than a reactionary one.

Breathing is neither of those 2 things (blowing off stress/burning off chems NOR sensory in nature)... which is why I said my best methods are only “usually” in one or both of those. Shooting is how I really master my breathing... because you can’t hit what you’re aiming at if your breath is all over the place, or you’ve got the shakes, or a heart that makes jackrabbits look lazy. Dropping into the same measured breathing I use for shooting, also drops my heartrate like a rock, and steadies the rest of my reactions.

^^^ I’ve tried a lot of methods that I was SURE were going to be amazing, and hell maybe they are... that I just cannot “reach for” or even remember... when everyhting is kicking off. So -after a long bout of stubbornness- have learned to simply bin them. No matter how good an idea? It’s still just an idea. What matters is when the rubber meets the road.
 

Justmehere

Sponsor
Safe strong sensations works for me to restart things. Holding a frozen water bottle, super spicy food, feet on cold grass, drinking hot tea, listening to use beat music and for extra measure, singing along...
 

Chris416

New Here
Welcome, @Chris416 :)

Some grounding techniques I use are:

*Four elements
-earth: feel the floor against your feet, notice the chair underneath you supporting you, etc.
-air: take a slow breath in, hold, release the air like breathing out a ribbon
-water: make saliva (this helps with calming, because it is used for digestion which is not a priority when we are in fight/flight)
-fire: fire up your imagination and picture yourself in a calm place

*Five senses:
-name outloud 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel (touch), 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste, in as much detail as is helpful

*My grounding mantra, particularly helpful when I've just woken from a nightmare. I say outloud:
"My name is Bell Bird, I live at 123 Avian Lane, and I am safe."
These sound fantastic. Thank you for sharing. I'll let you know how they work.

Safe strong sensations works for me to restart things. Holding a frozen water bottle, super spicy food, feet on cold grass, drinking hot tea, listening to use beat music and for extra measure, singing along...
Thanks. I appreciate this.
 

Chris416

New Here
Good news... That IS starting your journey.

Okay, I know, that’s super sucky in the good news department.

It’s just also true. Because in order to learn to effectively manage triggers & stressors? You actually have to be experiencing triggers and stressors, and then be experiencing a symptomatic reaction to them, in order to learn/practice your management tools.

The very first time I did that? I was super crazy lucky to be around people for whom this was old hat & the entire process was much looked upon as a game, rather than as something wrong to avoid. To “win” the game I had to (or have to) get back under control faster & better, and recover faster and better, each time I was triggered. <<< It’s a skill set that requires practice. If I’m having 25 panic attacks in a day? I am going to barely be losing any time to them, because I’m practicing the ever loving hell outta my skill set. At my best? My heart can just barely skip or rapid fire a few beats as my adrenaline system rockets 🚀 skyward... only to get yanked back down to earth by the collar & told to sit-stay. Total elapsed time? Just a few seconds. COMPARED to when I haven’t had a panic attack in several years? <low whistle> There goes not only my entire day... but the next several days in “hangover” from it.

***

As far as grounding skills, my best methods are usually a combo of blowing off stress / burning off the chemical concoction swirling around in my blood (read: exercise) combined with sensory tricks, like hot/cold/hot/cold showers, a cold drink in a hot shower, or hot drink in a cold shower... or movement through space, (which combines exercise & sensory stuff)...particularly? Complicated movement I have to be paying attention to, to avoid biting it. Think things like gravity sports (surfing, snowboarding, springboard diving, etc.), or gymnastics, or sparring with a partner, although practicing forms by myself can help as well if I’m looking for more of a meditative bent, rather than a reactionary one.

Breathing is neither of those 2 things (blowing off stress/burning off chems NOR sensory in nature)... which is why I said my best methods are only “usually” in one or both of those. Shooting is how I really master my breathing... because you can’t hit what you’re aiming at if your breath is all over the place, or you’ve got the shakes, or a heart that makes jackrabbits look lazy. Dropping into the same measured breathing I use for shooting, also drops my heartrate like a rock, and steadies the rest of my reactions.

^^^ I’ve tried a lot of methods that I was SURE were going to be amazing, and hell maybe they are... that I just cannot “reach for” or even remember... when everyhting is kicking off. So -after a long bout of stubbornness- have learned to simply bin them. No matter how good an idea? It’s still just an idea. What matters is when the rubber meets the road.
Thanks Friday. This is thoughtful. I like the idea is thinking of it as a game and taking the two-pronged approach of blowing-off/burning off. It's an new perspective. I really appreciate this. I'll let you know my time.
Hello and welcome.

I use a weighted lap pad and it helps me a lot. Heat is extremely helpful for me to help me relax - I used to take lots of baths but now use a heating pad and sauna blanket. I do a lot of breathing from my diaphragm like they used to tell us to do in choir practice. Getting even just a few really deep breaths is extremely helpful. I agree with @Wendell_R about being outside. The woods are my favorite.

I hope you are able to find the help and support you are looking for here. There are lots of great living resources here.
RussellSue, All of you gave me so much help and support so quickly that it brought tears to my eyes. These are great suggestions. Thank you.
 

woodsy1

MyPTSD Pro
Hi everybody,

My name is Chris. I'm new here and looking for guidance from others that have had success on their journey to recovery.

Three years ago before my 30th birthday the flashbacks began.

I had a traumatic childhood. I only remember fragments of my life. I know I was sexually abused in school around 5 years old. I remember being told no one likes a tattletale, the story of the boy who cried wolf, and lots of bullying from students and teachers. The rest of my days just bleeds together.

I sincerely want to start my journey, but I'm stuck. I haven't found a way to ground myself when I'm triggered. My day comes to an abrupt stop.

Can you share some tools and techniques, please and thank you?
Hello @Chris416,

Welcome. Sorry for the trauma that lead you here. You'll find a lot of warm and welcoming folks here. Many will likely relate to your experience.

I've been shattered by trauma myself. I can tell you that there is healing.

Woodsy1
 

Friday

Moderator
Thanks Friday. This is thoughtful. I like the idea is thinking of it as a game and taking the two-pronged approach of blowing-off/burning off. It's an new perspective. I really appreciate this. I'll let you know my time.
<grin> Don’t forget... Winning the game is different from playing it. The first bit? Results are going to be all over the map. Sometimes things get better, and sometimes? Waaaaaay worse. (Whoops. That didn’t work.) That’s just part of learning, nothing to be upset over, the opposite. Because it gives me more data to apply the next time. Until, usually rather suddenly, everything just sort of “clicks” and I’m managing things faster & better every single time. Cough. Well. Almost every single time.


As far as the stress-management side of things? I’ve never come across a better explanation than this one below.
 

Kittie

Confident
Hello and welcome!

I eat crunchy chips, take notice of the things around me...pictures on the wall, where I am. I listen to rock music, pet the cat or wander around the house straightening things. I usually can't do things that require thinking, like sudoku or crossword puzzles, but physical activity helps me most.

You've found a good place with great people! Best wishes!
 
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