Tips for helping yourself to stay well
You should contact the NHS if you are experiencing signs of trauma. However, if you don’t feel ready to do so, there are things you can do yourself that are clinically proven to ease the symptoms.
Breathe and count
If you find yourself panicking or having a flashback, try to focus on breathing in, breathing out, and then counting to five. Some people find that counting objects – for example, counting every object you can see that is red – can also be very soothing.
Learn your triggers
Sounds, sights and smells are common triggers for your brain when it is processing a trauma. Keeping a diary of how you feel may allow you to spot patterns, and identify in advance things that are likely to trigger panic or upset. If you spot these signs early, it can become easier to cope with them. For example, you may realise that walking past a particular spot regularly ends up with you losing concentration, becoming anxious, or reliving the fire as if it is happening again right now. If you are prepared for these feelings you may be able to make your symptoms less overwhelming.
People who experience trauma have lots of different ways to ground themselves. Some people carry a familiar object, or focus on a nearby object that keeps their mind in the present. It can be as simple as a piece of jewellery, a watch, a key ring, a pen, or a ‘fidget spinner.’ Give yourself permission to care for your own needs. Take time to watch your favourite film, listen to familiar music, read a comforting book, comic or magazine, and remind yourself that you are safe now.