March 27, 2015 10:48 AM
by Kathy Brous
Here are tools available “right now” which I use anytime, even at 3 am when friends or therapist can’t be reached (tho’ I do leave voice mails and it helps enormously. Ask them to turn off their phone on retiring, then try it.) When we learn in infancy that we’re not wanted to exist, it can wire our primitive brain stem for fear and even panic (developmental trauma). (Tapping diagram by AngelicJournies.com)
EMDR and tapping in particular have been able to calm my worse short-term traumatic fear attacks and “freezes.” You know, “fight-flight” is when we’re in panic cortisol flood mode; but the body can only stay in fight-flight for a limited time. If no one comes to make us feel safe, the brain stem puts us into “freeze,” tech term “dissociation.” The stress chemicals get frozen into our body muscles, nerves, etc and sit there, causing the diseases documented by the ACE Study. These tools eased my level of panic over time, too.
But I still say: “Don’t Try This at Home” — almost no one can heal alone. It’s ok to calm down at 3 am, but isolating is a recipe for trauma disaster. Only a good attachment therapist, support group, Grief Recovery Handbook partner — some “caring other” — can create lasting healing.
Attaching to a real live human being, eye-to-eye, is the only real way to heal. This is how our brain gets created, as shown by the Still Face Experiment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?…amp;feature=youtu.be What was damaged by a human connection can only be healed by a new human connection: face time, eye-to-eye contact.
NB: I’m making “I Statements” here, not giving advice. These tools worked for me to heal traumatic feelings — but “your mileage may vary.” EMDR won’t cure long-term underlying developmental trauma, for example (see EMDR, below). And every human, each trauma is different. People with other humans to support them get better results than people in isolation. Not everything here is scientifically proven. But it’s worked for me (or it’s recommended by a top MD, i.e., neurofeedback).
Here are some tools:
EMDR – Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing – I use this to calm short-term disturbing thoughts. Extremely helpful for PTSD, but won’t cure developmental trauma; check the blog, above.
Tapping, aka Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – I use it every day, it’s incredibly helpful to me; takes a few tries to learn. Don’t tap alone if you have extreme trauma. Click “where to tap” diagram top left above for details. I’ll blog more on tapping April 10, but Nick Ortner’s free Ebook is a good start at his link Tapping, aka Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) . (OK, his site’s gotten a bit money-oriented but Nick’s helped a lot of people and deserves success.)
Neurofeedback: Healing the Fear-Driven Brain – Dr. Bessel van der Kolk recommends the home-use neurofeedback program “HeartMath emWave-2″ for a PC or phone. Note: I haven’t tried it. But commenters on my “Neurofeedback” blog above say it works. EmWave: http://store.heartmath.org/emWave2/emWave2-handheld
Yoga: Here is Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s 2009 interview on Yoga & PTSD. Yoga means “union with God,” and has many forms including sitting to meditate. Hatha Yoga is the form we know as yoga poses. It teaches us how to inhabit our bodies here, right now; that’s why it’s been used for thousands of years.
How to Meditate–Really! Dr. Tara Brach, “Basic Elements of Meditation Practice,” Pt 1 (2/11/2015): “The first class examines our attitude towards practice and gives guidance on posture, establishing an anchor for attention, and learning to concentrate and collect the mind – ‘coming back.’ / ” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?…mp;feature=autoshare] “Basic Elements of Meditation Practice,” Pt 2 (2/18/2015) “The second class focuses on the practice of mindfulness – ‘being here,’ and the component qualities of clear recognition and an allowing non-judgmental presence.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?…mp;feature=autoshare