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Gina P
Gina P, LCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 175
Experience:  MSW, LCSW, PIP
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Physical flashbacks/body memories. How to deal with them.

Resolved Question:

Physical flashbacks/body memories. How to deal with them. They are becoming overwhelming. I am getting severe sharp and aching pains in my pelvic region followed by intrusive thoughts about past sexual abuse. What can I do? I am working on getting in to see a therapist but it's going to be at least a month.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Gina P replied 5 years ago.
Hi,
These events you are experiencing are fairly common with sexual abuse survivors, but be sure you are not suffering from a medical condition by talking with your physician.

There are a few things to do to assist you. Deep breathing exercises along with meditation can also help. In appropriate meditation you would clear your mind of all thoughts and focus only on a specific mantra/object. You can use this method in a visual way with a candle for example, a tactile way by feeling something that is comforting such as a blanket or feather, olfactory again with numerous scented candles. There are many guided imagery cds available as well, which will take you mentally to a calm place like a beach or forest.

All these methods help to keep you calm and focus on something else.

Now, if you are comfortable with this, you might also try journal writing. Not writing about anything specific just rambling along with your thoughts. It will help relieve some of the pressure of carrying around thoughts and feelings that might be overwhelming. By writing these, they come out of your head and are easier to mange on paper. I don't know if you have ever done this, but it is very helpful for relieving stress, imaginative goal setting, and if done daily the brain becomes trained to bring up thoughts and feelings it needs to get out.

These are a few techniques you can try on your own. If you are still overwhelmed, contact your general practitioner who can prescribe you a medication to assist until you are able to make it to your counseling appointment. I wish you the best in working on this issue. It is much better on the other side. You are a strong and courageous woman. Hope this helps. Gina
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your answer. I have tried a lot of those suggestions and found that they do help tremendously with the mental aspects. Do these also help with the physical flashbacks? I haven't tried these techniques with the physical issues.

Is there anything specific for dealing with the physical aspects of remembering the trauma?
Expert:  Gina P replied 5 years ago.
Hi, Unfortunately the physical symptoms are controlled through the mental part, which is the reason to get a handle on that part. Abuse in the genital area can recreate feelings any time there is activity there, even relieving yourself in the bathroom activity. These symptoms over time are usually not as severe as the mental or emotional, although it sounds as if it is for you.

Again, please seek a physical exam to rule out anything medical. If that is ok, then you will know it is related to the sexual abuse. The mental aspect of this issue is very strong and overwhelming, and can make you feel as if you do not have control, the same feelings associated with the sexual assault.

But in reality, you are a very strong survivior of a terrible event. Somehow, you have made it through, so you must convince yourself, and allow yourself to not be a victim to this mind game. Practice a stress managment activity daily, for at least 10 minutes. When you are having these physical problems, immediately start the stress activity, and teach yourself how to manage these physical symptoms. You really are a lot more powerful than you think. Gina
Gina P, LCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 175
Experience: MSW, LCSW, PIP
Gina P and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I will try the relaxation techniques and stay on top of the anxiety. I have been cleared medically, that is good news at least.
Expert:  Gina P replied 5 years ago.
Yes, it is good news. I hope you are able to work on this with a good therapist. I, too, have a similar background, and know it is difficult but freeing to resolve these issues. Please let me know if I can assist you further. Gina

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