Can't self-soothe

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owl25

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Can't self-soothe
« on: September 09, 2020, 01:17:13 AM »
I really struggle to help myself calm down when I get triggered. Any advice on what I can do? I can't seem to apply breathing, my mind just keeps going in circles about the thing that's distressing me and I can't stop. What helps is to talk to someone about what's happening for me but that's not ideal because more often than not, I don't have a person available to me. I need to be able to help myself but I don't know how.

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woodsgnome

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Re: Can't self-soothe
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2020, 02:27:58 PM »
I recognize the feeling, and it can build until everything feels hopeless. So I can first offer this -- a gentle  :hug: , if that's okay.

I'll share something I try. It doesn't always work, either -- but such is how these cptsd aftermaths function, or don't. I've tried some more involved techniques, but I also need to keep it simple. Sometimes that can mean less than 100% soothing which is still better than nothing.

Okay -- all I do is alternate 2 words. Here's what I do -- on the in-breath I just say ''Peace''; out-breath ''Love''.

Breaths are just ordinary, not the dramatic blows meditation teachers seem fond of (besides, I have asthma LOL). Sometimes I vary the word order ("Love/Peace"). Other words might work better for someone else. It does take a little concentration but it sometimes can deflect a trigger if I recognize what's happening early enough.

I hope you can find some relief.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 02:33:27 PM by woodsgnome »

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notalone

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Re: Can't self-soothe
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2020, 09:14:58 PM »
If talking to someone helps, I'm wondering if journaling would be a help to you. Since your mind goes in circles, would it be helpful to distract yourself with a movie or something else? I find that different "tools" help at different times.

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Blueberry

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Re: Can't self-soothe
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2020, 09:35:53 PM »
I find that different "tools" help at different times.

 :yeahthat:

I know breathing is often recommended, but concentrating on my breathing tends to trigger something in addition in me, so not what I need at all.
I use quite a lot of imagination work, which both my gp and my T have helped me develop. I use a thought-stopping image where I place a stick through the spokes of a wheel to bring it to a halt. That helps me.

I agree also that just distracting yourself might help and it's quite OK to do that. Totally legitimate and valid.

Movement can help me head it off if I realise I'm about to get triggered. For me, usually gentle movement e.g. swaying to some music or taking a few steps, without even leaving the room. So I don't mean a workout or anything. Sometimes just right-left movements on the spot will do, e.g. to stop me going into Freeze.

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owl25

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Re: Can't self-soothe
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2020, 04:52:18 PM »
Thank you all for your suggestions. The biggest stumbling block for me is that there is a part of me that won't allow me to try any of these things. I feel trapped in my distress. I don't know how to get past this. Has anyone else been there and gotten past that?

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Blueberry

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Re: Can't self-soothe
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2020, 07:50:33 PM »
I'm sorry owl, that's difficult having a part who won't allow you to try things out.  :hug:

I have various parts who have made it very difficult for me to try things out or carry through with things. For me, there was unfortunately never a quick and easy solution. The best was accepting it and hoping it would change some time  as I progressed in healing. And there has been progression but I don't have any control over what heals first. I mean I can work on xyz with my T and pqr improves. There probably are people who can feel into their parts and discuss and compromise etc, but I couldn't with these really bad blockages. Forcing myself (or being forced by Ts!) to look at things too early was never good, putting it mildly.

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owl25

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Re: Can't self-soothe
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2020, 08:59:49 PM »
Thanks Blueberry. I feel that way too, that it can't be forced. But in the meantime I am starting to feel pretty depressed. I'm starting to get worried.