A few days ago at 5 AM a loud explosion awakened me! It sounded as if it was next door. My husband was worried too but we told ourselves that it must have been a big truck backfiring as it went along the well-traveled road behind our house, so we went back to sleep.
Unfortunately there was another identical blast a half hour later and then a third boom. The noises didn't sound like gunshots but more like bombs. My husband looked out our front window and saw a Sheriff's car blocking the street and a Swat team 2 houses away. Soon after we received a phone call from the authorities warning us to stay inside.
We live on a lovely street and have always felt very safe. However, the next few hours were very scary since we didn't know what was happening and kept imagining some pretty dire scenarios. We were afraid to go near windows since if there was shooting a bullet might go astray.
Finally we received another call telling us that the emergency was over. We still didn't know the details about what had occurred until the afternoon. Apparently the authorities had caught up with a wanted felon living only 2 houses away, and yes, they had used smoke bombs during the 2-hour standoff.
When I saw that our street was once again danger free I breathed a sight of relief and went on with my usual routine. However, as the day progressed I noticed that I wasn’t able to concentrate on some of the tasks I had set for myself. I was antsy and anxious but didn't know why until I started to print out some flyers for an upcoming class I going to teach about Post Traumatic Stress.
A light bulb went off in my brain as it dawned on me that I was suffering from just that: Post Traumatic Stress! You don't have to be in a war or be threatened by a criminal pointing a gun at you to be traumatized. Even something minor, like having a Swat team flush out the criminal on your block while you sit in bed and wonder what is going on, can result in PTSD.
What is Trauma? It is any experience the brain thinks is a threat to your life. Hearing bombs go off and seeing people who are armed right outside my window posed enough of a threat to traumatize me since we were forbidden to leave our safe home...or was it safe? I cowered in my bed not knowing if I would hear a gunfight outside or whether a bomb would shatter the windows.
Another important aspect of trauma is the sense of total helplessness about the situation and your ability to deal with it. This state can produce the same kind of changes in your brain as happens in war, rape, abuse or even painful medical procedures or accidents. Waiting for hours and not knowing what was going on just a few yards from my sanctuary increased my feelings of powerlessness.
Common symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress include: reliving the event, having physical sensations when being reminded of the event, having trouble focusing or concentrating, feeling jumpy or feeling very tired, anxious, worried or depressed. That was exactly what I was experiencing.
Because I have treated people with PTSD for over 30 years I was able to recognize my own PTSD symptoms. I also knew that the solution was as close as my fingertips! It is called EFT Tapping. EFT Tapping is a simple acupressure method that involves gentle touching or tapping on only 8 acupressure points, mostly on the face. You can see me demonstrate how to do it on You Tube.
As I focused on my anxiety, the memory of the loud explosions, and my feelings of powerlessness during the unknown early morning danger, I tapped on these points using just the tips of my index and middle fingers:
Crown of the head
Beginning of the eyebrow near the nose
Outside edge of the eye socket
Under the lower eyelid
Under the nose
Under the lower lip
Under the knob of the collarbone
On the side of the body 4 inches under the armpit.
I kept gently tapping around and around for only a few minutes until my tension disappeared and I was able to remind myself that I had not been harmed, and my home had not been invaded.
Every one of us has had similar experiences in which we either were present at a terrifying moment or possibly saw something horrific on TV like what happened on 9/11 that traumatized our nation. Most of us were in a safe place nowhere near the tragedy, yet we may have participated in the horror and destruction as if we were. That trauma became embedded in our brains and may be retriggered instantly even years later. Find out more about this in my book, Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing.
The amazing thing about EFT Tapping is that this technique actually raises a soothing brain chemical called Serotonin. If, as I did, you focus on a scary memory, emotion or belief as you tap, the Serotonin will flood the fear center in your brain. When this happens the fear stops being triggered... permanently!
You will be able to recall the event or emotion without feeling as if it was happening again. It will be like looking at a photograph on your computer. You will be able to talk about it calmly because you know that it is over and you survived.
Take advantage of a free consult with Gloria to find out more about your PTSD.
Be sure to download Gloria’s FREE eBook Creating Happiness to find the instructions for using EFT Tapping to eliminate the PTSD in your life.