What do you do when you have a body flashback?


When I was in elementary school, I was told that as a young child I was at a party with my parents. I reached for some peanuts, my father whacked me, the peanut stuck in my throat, and I got pneumonia. Hearing the story, I always had the impression that I was around 4 or so. But there in my baby book, it describes getting pneumonia at age 1 1/2. We don't know if it was this episode or undocumented episodes. We suspect that there was a lot of age-inappropriate over disciplining that happened when I was very, very young. There's a change in the look in my face in old photos--fear appears that wasn't there at age one. My mom dealt with her fear of my father by emotionally retreating, so it was worse than just getting hit. It was getting hit and then being left very alone.

So, the violence (father) and emotional distance (mother) is documented. The connection to my arm is somewhat conjecture, but it makes sense--reaching out is dangerous!!!

Yes, in crisis mode the list of things that works gets smaller.
I responded to this, but apparently the post never uploaded. But anyways, I think this is really interesting and insightful you're able to trace back. But also you know how it is like not remembering or having conscious memory. Thank you for sharing.

Sorry for the late response, I thought I’d posted, but must have left it to die in drafts! >.<

UP! = Panic Attacks, Anxiety attacks, Spinning yourself up (often by way of cognitive distortions), Intrusive thoughts, Catastrophizing, Insomnia, Lashing out, Raging out, Crying uncontrollably, Hypervig, Fight/Flight, etc… Plus the explosive types of adrenaline fueled coping mechanisms that aren’t symptoms, but rather how people deal with symptoms, that we still use grounding methods on.

^^^ The types of symptoms/expressions/coping mechanisms where one needs to calm down, slow down, self soothe, allow cool reason to replace hot emotion,

Dooooooooown = Depression, Apathy, Anhedonia, Zoning Out version of Disassociation, Isolating, holed up & hurting, brain fog, numb or numbing, crushed by guilt/ shame/ despair, maladaptive daydreaming, paralysis by analysis, stress sick, Et Cetera.

^^^ The types of symptoms/ expressions/ coping mechanisms where one needs to inject some enthusiasm, energy, focus, drive, oomph!, exercise, activity.


The grounding methods for both are attempts to reach the midline, just from 2 very different directions; bringing up things down, and down things up.

Sometimes it can be the same skill/method (like working a heavy bag can blow off steam for Up symptoms, and get the blood moving / clear minds for Down symptoms); but often they’re very different. If one is attempting to use calming/soothing skills when one is already down? That’s not really going to bring you back up, ya know?

Conceptually I tend to think of grounding as a way to peel myself off the ceiling, bring me back down from the stratosphere (and gentle the landing so that I don’t just crash); meanwhile grounding for down symptoms like reaching for the riverbank to pull me up and out of the water I’m just floating bonelessly away on. With both I’m attempting to find solid ground to stand on, find that midline… but one is dealing with explosive energy I have to defuse, and the other tremendous gravity I have to fight against, after the weightlessness of drifting away, or inching my way out from under the mountain of rocks (guilt / shame/ despair/ regret/ remorse) crushing me.
I had never heard of this before. And honestly? I still don't know. It's almost like it's both at the same time. Like calm and numb, and also panic and hypersensitive. But it's definitely interesting, I'm making mental note to potentially trying some DOWN coping mechanisms that are more energetic and channeling of energy.