Trauma, PTSD, Panic attacks
It all seems to happen quickly, unexpectedly, you zone out as if in a dream, a short movie of an unpleasant event you’d rather forget runs quickly in your head.
You can once again see everything in this dreamlike place , remember what was said, even smell the place. This is not happening you try to remember to stop it, but it’s too late.
Now you are back in that moment, your mood changes to anger/anxiety , you notice that you are getting hot, your heart is racing, your breathing quickens, you need to get out of the room. You feel out of control, dizzy . Slowly the world you are really in returns and the feelings subside.
This is a panic attack, an emotional hijack, unexpected, unpleasant, possibly made worse by the people who are trying to help you.
This account, based on my own felt experience, is an attempt to map out what happens when PTSD or panic is triggered. Of course, the severity and nuances are different for every individual. Occasionally it invades our dreamspace as well.
I would describe it as Anxiety to the max.
The physical response , raised heartbeat, shortness of breath, feeling hot and sweaty is the result of your body being flooded with adrenaline.
The “fight or flight” response, located deep within our basic survival mechanisms has its uses. If someone shouts ‘fire’, this, without thinking will help you get out of a building quickly.
However these effects can be triggered ( before you can even realise what is happening to you) by small details that unbeknownst to your conscious mind have now become unconscious warnings of an imminent threat.
I don’t make light of this, whether it be trauma or as I say Trauma , our conditioned response can make our everyday life fearful and in many ways harder to bear.
I took this on as a research subject, looking at the differing ways other countries have treated this common reaction. From the USA and its post Vietnam experience , to civil war refugees living abroad, and of course the less dramatic accidents, or being involved in larger and unusual dramatic events.
I have developed my way of working with these problems. My main philosophy is that it is possible to learn that you control it, it does not control you.
It means that this issue needs to be examined safely, so that it does not trigger the response by talking about it, however if I have helped you in my useful way to resolve it, you will back in control of your life.
Over the years I have been practicing I have helped people in many ways from overcoming their fears of flying to working with a community in the aftermath of a terror attack in London.
As a former behavioural scientist, I have used my skills to see ad re imagine the approaches to getting PTSD to be a thing, but not the main thing.