Reminding myself physically that I'm in the present moment?

goosegoose

Confident
Hey everyone, hope all are well

Im not sure if this is the right branch of forum to ask this on, but what are your most reliable ways of reminding your body that you're physically safe and in the present moment? Like "hey body, we're not in the past anymore, we're in our own apartment alone" etc.

I ran into some pretty heavy triggers just now and mentally, I know I'm safe and not there anymore, but physically I am there. I tried to have a talk with myself like the quote I wrote out above but there's a disconnect between my mind and body. I tried to rub my fingers on a towel nearby for sensory grounding (???) and I have music playing gently in one earbud but it doesn't feel like it's clicking between mind and body still.

If you feel safe sharing here - How are some ways you remind yourself? Do you feel like you moreso just have to ride the wave?

<3,
Goose 🦆
 

Teamwork

MyPTSD Pro
That’s a tough one because I feel the split between the two. Concentrating on breathing helps, especially if I can lay down and focus on the belly. I’ve come to learn that breathing is automatic so unless I pay attention in the moment , it just does it’s thing. A lot lately I say the day and date, that’s present. Anything coming up from the past I acknowledge it . Yes I hear you want my attention. Sometimes I’ll write quickly, or paint and pay attention to what is coming up. It works for me to give it some attention, so as to not let it just bleed through, or drip like a tap. For me that time and attention to it, relieves it. It’s when I just let it swirl around feeling triggered by it that it stays prolonged. I also have two friends doing trauma work so I may hey them. Like hey what do you do when xyz is happening? That too is a way of acknowledging and sharing it out. That’s why these forums are great. Hope that helps, even though it isn’t much.
 

prynne

Confident
The towel sounds like a good idea. The music may be more helpful if it were loud, so it's impossible for you to ignore (maybe not with headphones so you don't hurt your ears). Doing deep breathing also helps me. I found out recently that there are a ton of different ways of doing deep breathing that you can find online if you don't like one way.

Other things that help me:
Grounding questions (where are you? What's the date? What's your name? Your address?) especially if someone else is asking them and bothering me until I answer them. My boyfriend will repeatedly get my attention when I start staring into space and he can tell I'm falling into a flashback. He'll ask me to look at him and pay attention to him. It is super annoying in the moment but it works well
Reading out loud (supposedly uses all of your brain so it's way more distracting than reading in your head)
Physical grounding questions. Where is your tongue in your mouth? How many fingers and toes do you have? Check to make sure that you're right.
Touching things with interesting textures
The name five things exercise (name one thing you see, one thing you hear, one thing you taste, one thing you smell, one thing you hear)
Intense exercise
Touching ice/ice pack, especially on the face, wrists, back of neck, feet

I've heard of some people carrying around a tube of wasabi to put some on their tongue to ground them. Too gross for me🤢 Maybe I should go back to doing it then because the things that are impossible to ignore are the most effective
 
Hi @goosegoose !

Don't know if this will help, but it sounds like you know you are safe but don't feel you are safe after heavy triggers, if I understand you right. Just a suggestion, but you can say to yourself I feel this way because of (x trigger). Then apply self care basics, sleep, bath, eat, cuddle up. Or conversely, shoot hoops or run or walk and let your mind think about the trigger(s). At worst it is devastating and consuming, at best it will make life difficult or will be inconvenient at the moment. See how it was really bad but you know why that's understandable or what (at least to some degree) may be the trigger(s) and know next time it arises you may very well see it a bit differently and feel less battered by it or for less longer a time because you will recognize it's coming. I wouldn't allow yourself to 'think' on them, though as in to equate them to the present (I mean as in showing 'evidence' the same danger or reality exists in the present, unless it does), try instead to sleep, get out in the air, break the focus. If you are inclined write about the trauma, or do it on a voice recording. If you can find a positive quality in it, or turn it in to something more positive or neutral. And adding what is comforting. Be kind to yourself, being triggered wasn't intended.

Sorry you are going through this. ☹️😣
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I find stroking my arm helps. I get sensations of feels in my body that bring my body back to here.
Looking around and noticing what is around me. The sky helps a lot. Noticing the clouds etc.
Talking out loud. Herring my adult voice to remind me I am an adult. Saying out loud that I am safe, nothing is happening.

Breathing for me doesn't always work. If I am really triggered breathing just focuses me on my body and I am trying to escape it when triggered.

Identifying what is happening and saying to myself that a part of me is triggered and that adult me is ok. If I can do that it allows adult part of me to remain in the here and now and helps to reduce it all down and stop. If I can't do that: I'm lost in the past.
 
I've also heard shake it out. Mentally and physically. Similar for me when I'm aware it's happening to processing a bad nightmare. Not to give it too much weight but also to say it out loud. Now I try not to let it take me down a rabbit hole, just see it as it is what it is, I know why to some degree it is and that's understandable but also to try not to make decisions atm based on what is fractured logic, not react to it. And to focus on or get engaged in whatever is the opposite to it. And the sometimes fine line between decompressing vs isolating. Take time for whatever helps you if you can (Stop the Presses) but also reach out.

Hope you are feeling a bit better. 🫂

PS, the geese are starting to fly around. Had 2 here along with my weed-eating little bunny 👍in the backyard. Who's tail is starting to turn white. ☺️
 
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hithere

MyPTSD Pro
doing something I like to do that requires concentration and focus. drinking ice cold water, or hot tea and paying attention to every little detail sensation of the experience, getting "cozy"
 

Friday

Moderator
what are your most reliable ways of reminding your body that you're physically safe and in the present moment? Like "hey body, we're not in the past anymore, we're in our own apartment alone" etc.
It starts before things get rough.

- Taking a shower right after waking up.
- Wearing flip flops
- Washing my clothes every day & other smell good things
- Something I nickname “rampant hedonism” which is less wine/women/song and more taking absolute pleasure in every conceivable aspect of life.

((From the sheets on my bed, to the food I eat, the dishes I eat off of, the detergent I wash my sheets with… IE every daily/mundane aspect… to… the people I spend time with, my work, the weather, e news / what I spend my time learning, everything. Very specifically sought out as the best, most perfect, thing for me. None of which has to be expensive. Although easily can be. For example? I don’t wear a watch. Because my absolute favorite watch? Is $1500. When I glance down at my wrist? I can delight in the fact that I don’t have a piece of garbage on it. The next time I wear a watch? Will be once I can afford my fave watch. Shrug. So it works both ways. My 10 for 99cents bar ware I drink out of (and never care if they break), and my expensive as f*ck snowboard that I got on a screaming deal… as well as moderately priced (in the land of watches & jewelry) watch that I do NOT wear, and the Jeep or Land Rover I do NOT drive. The art I DO own, and the art I DO NOT own. Are all delightful pleasures that are very deliberately in my life, or shall be. Anything that fills me with disdain, disgust, etc? Simply nixed. If I own it? I love it. Full stop. If I do it? I’m thrilled to be. Full stop.))

^^^ All of these things, and a few others I haven’t mentioned, are very trauma related to me.

As I can not only survive, but thrive, not taking showers for weeks, living in bombed out rubble, never exactly owning anything but being issued, looting, acquiring whatever is needed as I go, Et Cetera.

Do I still have nightmares about not being able to find my boots, or bra? Sure. But in my “real time” life? I go barefoot, and often own 50 hand made lace confections, that also boss the girls into behaving. Because these things constantly remind me of when & where I am.

When these patterns/routines get interrupted? My life can go very sideways, very quickly. External anchors to the present? Are a double edged sword.

But being ADHD, I have no internal sense of structure, and have to create it externally. And having PTSD means my internal sense of TIME is a bit wobbly, at best. So I use a lot of external cues. Flexible as hell, and suited to the way I desire to live (travelling, camping, spontaneous lots of stuff, etc. rather than locked into a single location and strict schedule. Because that’s not me.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Something that really worked for me are anchors. Every room I go I try to pick something that I like and that were missing in bad times. Things that bring comfort. I have a fluffy towel and nice perfume; a plant, a RGB lamp, a few drawings, the cat. Things that are peaceful and ensure there is peace.

For me, some disorder also is a token of safety. Since I cleaned so many crime scenes involving my own blood or the one of my abuser, the superb cleanliness for me inspires something very wrong. So having a bit of mess and old worn things, in the limits of clean of course, are actually reassuring.

It's up to know to design antitriggers. Putting my face on something cold really helps if I feel a fizzing flashback. Then gradually pulling me out by noticing. Eating something sometimes helps. Sports sometimes helps. But breathing reminds me having to calm down because I couldn't afford being too nervous for my own safety.

So really only you can really know what each anchoring thing means for you but it's a nice thing to know about ourselves.
 
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