What Are They?

Flashbacks are ‘personal experiences that pop into your awareness, without any conscious, premeditated attempt to search and retrieve this memory’ (wikipedia)

They can be very disruptive and disturbing, and normally make us feel very unsafe and at risk of harm.

They have nothing to do with the situation we are in when we experience them, but they can have a devastating impact on our our daily lives.

We can establish very positive strategies to cope with flashbacks when they happen, and in the longer term get rid of them altogether.

Here are some links for more information on help on how to deal with flashbacks.


Understand flashbacks

Ideas for coping with flashbacks


Here we go again …

Flashbacks just happen.

No warning is given.

We can become very distressed.

We may fear just about everything around us.

Our breathing can be laboured or rapid.

We cannot often be rational once a flashback begins.


Relaxation exercise

An effective way of dealing with flashbacks is to use some of our positive life experiences to help us overcome our fears.

This exercise helps us to reflect on one or more positive experiences of our life, with the purpose of removing the fear we feel at the time we are having flashbacks.

Think of a time in your life when you felt really safe

Close your eyes…….if you can

Now, take a deep breath in through your nose while counting slowly to 4

Release the breath through your mouth while counting slowly to 6

Breath in and out like this another 3 times

Continuing to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth….

Picture that safe place you were whenever it was

Now slowly take in the picture..see who was there, and how safe you felt, feel the safety

Slowly hear the sounds you heard at that place/time

Start to smell the scent in that place and take this in

Keep breathing slowly…… in… out … in … out

Now, let yourself be there for 2 minutes

Slowly, think of how safe you are feeling……and how calm you are….and happy to be there

Visualise all of the surroundings as if you are there….look around you and see the familiar things and people that care about you and who make you feel safe and comfortable

Be there for as long as you like or need to be …

Then when you want to come back to reality bring that safe feeling with you

Be conscious of your breathing…in…out… slowly

Begin to become aware of the sounds of reality around you

Become aware of the scent where you are………..listen to what is going on .. the sounds

Breathe slowly…….in counting to 4…..out counting to 6

Breathe like this 4 times

Slowly open your eyes……..and come back to reality, the room you are in is safe for you and has a feeling of security

Take your time to come out of this reflection, and if your flashbacks are happening regularly, you can consider getting some support to help you deal with them in a different way.