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What to do with intrusive memories


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Carmex, That's a difficult one for me sometimes. Right now my thoughts are moving pretty quickly so the memories sneak in and then get shoved out by some other senseless thoughts.

Sometimes, I concentrate on what I'm doing at the moment or think about my "Higher Power". I learned that in AA meetings and it works for me.

Sorry, I don't have a good answer.

Gracie.

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I found suppressing them and running away only made things worse.

Try imagining a safe place, and go there in your mind when you really need a break.

Eventually though the only way is to address the memories. They will always be there, because those experiences are a part of you, but hopefully they won't be so emotionally charged and they will be like any other memory.

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They will always be there, because those experiences are a part of you, but hopefully they won't be so emotionally charged and they will be like any other memory.
This has been true for me over time. I remember, a long time ago, when I first started having flashbacks. Early on, it seemed to me I would never gain control of the intense emotion that accompanied my flashbacks. But over time, and with lots of therapy, I can reflect on almost all that has happened to me with perspective. None of my memories are scary anymore, they just don't have that power over me anymore.

I also relied heavily, and still do, on imagery and affirmations. Not the SNL, Stuart Smiley affirmations, but stuff like, "I am an adult woman, capable of defending myself, and...whatever...". And I would picture some serene setting to try and get a hold of my panicky feelings. I had to become aware of my breathing. Or, more so, my lack of breathing. I would hold my breath when I was freaking out. I had to learn how NOT to do that.

It was a lot of unlearning of bad coping skills.

The only wise thing I can say is, it takes time. I know that no one likes to hear that, but the way I look at things, depending onwhat you are going through and where you are on your journey, time is either your friend or it isn't. Today, time is my friend.

If that makes any sense.

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I write them down. I sort of just let them come out past me and on to the paper/computer. I don't know how that would work if you're not dissociative, but it sometimes helps me.

I'm sorry you're having trouble - intrusive thoughts are the suck.

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For me it helps to do a grounding exersize my therapist taught me. When the thoughts come I literally look around the room and name things that are in there. Even if I have to yell them outloud. It sounds crazy but it helps me focus on okay those are thoughts I dont have to let them have this effect on me. Also if I do my multiplication tables outloud it tends to pull me out of my own head.

Hope it helps.

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  • 3 months later...

My therapist has introduced me to the following hierarchy of strategy:

Deal with it.

If you can't deal with it, distract from it.

If you can't distract from it, dissociate from it.

If you can't dissociate from it, deny it.

But he also encourages me to do something, rather than nothing.

The rationale is that doing something will either have it be the same or get better, whereas doing nothing will either stay the same or get worse.

Sorry. Ramling.

Hope that helps.

Woo

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I'm struggling with this, too. I have not had a flashback in a while but the intrusive memories still seem more real than what is happening around me. I try to distance myself from them, letting them appear but as though I am watching them on a tv or screen, if that makes sense. It has taken a couple of years of therapy to be able to do that, though.

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