Clocking Out – Trauma’s Time Warp

The clock ticks. Time slows. Life stops. 

Tick. Tick. Tick. The hollow sound of the clock drones on.

when something really bad or traumatic happens it can leave us wondering if what happened really did happen. Or if what happened it is just an ill-fated dream, with morning only moments away. Only this kind of morning never comes. Yet, the feelings and experiences are real.

Anger, grief and fear are now familiar, much like worn out friends on a sour day.  Feelings taunt us. They trick us into thinking this is normal. So normal, we are almost afraid to let go. Because if we do, their absence would threaten to separate us from something or someone we once knew and loved.

Time slows. What once was, no longer is.

Find a quiet spot or a quiet time of the day. Grab a piece of paper and your favorite pen. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes. Then write, draw or scribble anything that comes to mind. Words, feelings, images, doubts, fears … whatever it is, write it down.

When you are finished, destroy the paper. Don’t go back and read it. Just destroy it. What is done is done. 

Afterward, ask yourself these questions. Someone people write down the answers. Seeing your answers can help you know that some things can be different. 

What was it I like to do this?
What has changed? 
What is different now than when you started?

Time is time. Clocks are clocks. What happened, has happened. We are who we are. What you choose is up to you.

For many of us, when we stop fighting with ourselves and our experiences we can begin to see what is possible beyond them. Whatever things feel like now, life around us is still happening. Life is still changing. You are not the same person you were when things happened.

Until next time . . . Story Impact: Changing Stories – Changing Lives!

Disclaimer:  This exercise is not designed to diagnose or treat challenges relating to mental illness, crisis intervention or life-threatening situations. If you are experiencing any type of mental health emergency, immediately call 911 or contact your healthcare team.

Quiet the Mind – Images from the Past

OK, it happened. I was there, but seriously! How many times do I have to relive it? Does it ever end? If it there is an end, how do I get there?

Talking about it helped. It helped to figure out what what was going on. It helped to put some of the pieces together. It even helped to deal with some of the intense emotions.

Helped yes. But my mind’s playback button is still clocking in at triple overtime.

Breath

Simple but powerful.

Catch a breath in through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. Repeat a few more times.

Question

Ask yourself:

Is this happening now?
Answer yourself.

Most likely your answer is no. Take a glance around. Is it happening now or is it here now?

No. Ask again if you need to.

Keep asking until your mind doesn’t have as much to say. Keep asking until the image or images don’t feel as strong. 

Keep asking and answering until your mind gets quieter. Until your emotions settle down.

What is different? 

Until next time . . . Story Impact: Changing Stories – Impacting Lives

Not What I Expected

No, this is, definitely, not what I expected.

It isn’t like you got up this morning, or any other morning, with the alarm clock buzzing inside your head. Kicking it off your nightstand, you stagger to your feet. Forcing your eyelids open, you look into the mirror.

Looking back at you stands a rumpled post-a-note begging you to add today’s goals or intentions.

OK fine, but they did not include:

The almost humorous bank robbery with a bicycle for a get-a-way car.
Nearly being run over by a car careening through your office windows.
Giving CPR to a co-worker outside the break room. 
Hearing the news the vice president’s secretary didn’t make it.

It probably didn’t include anything like what you experienced. Yet it happened. You were there. You didn’t choose it but now you must deal with it.

Now what?

Acknowledge what happened. Even that it did happen.

Give yourself a chance to grieve and to get the support you need. This could be a trip to the gym; a new pair of shoes; a case of tissue paper; a call to a friend; a mini-therapy session with your dog . . .

Breath.Breath in through your nose. Breath out through your mouth. Repeat until things feel calmer.

Give yourself permission to be who you are in this moment.

Until next time . . . Story Impact: Changing Stories – Changing lives.