My experience of a recent trauma and the resolution that saved me
I am a qualified Rewind Technique, trauma resolution therapist and I have recently experienced PTSD, this is what I have learnt.
When we mention PTSD we often believe that the cause must have been a uniquely horrific incident, yet quite often a trauma response is triggered by what most in a logical state would deem trivial.
Only a few months ago I experienced this first hand and I am pleased to report that I have treated myself with a trauma resolution method called the Rewind Technique and there is a happy ending, too soon to say whether a happy ever after but I remain optimistic.
I would like to share with you my story in case you recognise the symptoms within yourself or someone close to you.
We never know what is around the corner…
I awoke a few Sundays ago with a ‘me’ day planned ahead. I had already stretched, meditated and was curled up with a manifestation book with plans to light a fire and watch an afternoon movie. Fabulous, my perfect day, although before flicking through the movie channels my dogs and I headed out for our usual walk in the woods.
I was blissfully in the moment, listening to the birds, the church bells, admiring the beauty of the wild flowers and being thankful for my life when I realised my lurcher had been gone longer than usual. I had the ‘oh no’ feeling that anyone who has a dog that likes to chase will identify with. Her favourite pastime is a good squirrel chase, although she is yet to catch one, I am not sure if this experience will deter her in the future.
I will not go into gruesome detail, as she returned, I could see the open wound that I instantly knew could not be patched up with SudoCrem. My adrenaline kicked in and I could only focus on getting her home, thankfully my neighbour, a vet, pulled on her wellies and came to the rescue. She was marvellous and helped me carry her home giving me clear instructions that stitches were required but thankfully that was the extent of the damage and the vet bill.
Everyone involved was amazing and within an hour she was on the operating table. It was several hours later that I got the phone call to say that everything was okay and safe to collect her. I love all my animals but me and this dog have a very special bond, she has taught me a lot about myself and if I was to lose her before her natural time it would be devastating.
Initially I was in shock but also reflected with an element of pride and relief, I had remained calm and logical throughout, even the 30-minute car journey with her open wound and frightened eyes, I didn’t cry. Well done, Esther, you did it!
The following morning it felt as though I had not slept and could hardly function. I could not even bring myself to have a shower or be around people, I just wanted to sit in my chair and breathe. I thought to myself, just be kind to yourself today and tomorrow you will be okay. Logically I knew all was safe and well, but the underlying sick feeling did not disappear.
The next day I did feel brighter although I still could not look at my dog's cut without a gut-wrenching panic, which is a perfectly normal response under the circumstances but not what I wanted to feel. I banned myself from thinking of the what ifs which I knew could be as detrimental as what did.
Later that evening I experienced my first flashback. I was looking at my forthcoming beef curry and within a heartbeat I was seeing the previous day's open wound, disturbing but I still managed to enjoy my dinner. Thankfully I was logically aware of what I was experiencing, but it still frightened me as I was not in control of my thoughts. Surely with all my training I can manage this, my brain had developed a mind of its own, survival mode and was pattern matching to ensure I was safe, protection was key to my survival.
With a content and full tummy for no obvious reason anxiety just hit me with such a heavy force I struggled to catch my breath. I was not recalling or thinking of the event; it just seemed to come from nowhere. All I could do was take deep breaths and speak to myself with kindness and reassurance.
Over the days my son asked why I was so grumpy and short tempered; I hadn’t realised I was.
Concentrating became difficult, in a daze, bad dreams, the ones where you awake feeling completely out of sorts for the rest of the day. Watching a TV programme felt like a marathon and if anything provided drama my anxiety rocketed, my brain was not performing as it previously had.
At random times my heart was pounding and I started to feel lightheaded. When I awoke several days after the incident I again could not breathe properly, the pressure on my chest was unbearable and I said to myself, enough is enough, time for the Rewind Technique.
The Rewind Technique
Now this is not the most traumatic experience of my life but in this instance my brain decided that it needed to up the ante and keep hold of this information for safe keeping because no matter how upsetting it was, I was still alive, I had survived.
If you can imagine in our brain there are filing cabinets, different ones for different memories and there is a passport control person directing the memories into their relevant filing cabinet. For a memory that has no emotional attachment, such as what did you have for dinner three Thursdays ago? The likelihood is that you cannot remember, it has been filed away in the never to be thought of again cabinet.
Now if I was to ask, what did you have for dinner on your birthday? You can probably sit and think for a while and retrieve that memory because it had an emotion attached to it, it could be important one day so let’s keep that one.
Now with an experience that your amygdala brain believes to be a life or death threatening situation, the passport chap might not allow that memory to be filed because no matter how horrid, fearful or dark that experience was it will be kept to hand for safe keeping. You are still alive and you might need that again at any moment in time.
The Rewind Technique allows the memory to pass through into a safe keeping filing cabinet, it is not erased, it can be retrieved but it no longer interrupts your everyday.
In my opinion the Rewind Technique is special because you do not have to talk about the experience, it is a process and not only has it changed the lives of many of my clients it has now helped me.
You might identify yourself or also someone close to you, living with PTSD can become a state of normal and it might require a third person to help, and I am here if you need me.
The event that triggered PTSD needn’t be a harrowing situation and I have helped clients with all kinds of events such as a disastrous presentation at work, a horse-riding incident, a bereavement. The brain can often get stuck and the Rewind Technique could be the answer.
If you recognise yourself whilst reading this then please do get in touch as we can resolve the trauma response in as little as two sessions. Allowing you to step out of survival mode and start living.
Sending well wishes.