Robert Simpson continues writing his series on ways those suffering with PTSD can control it on your own. BONNIE
Dr. H’s THEORY: How to use “date stamping” to your advantage
BY ROBERT SIMPSON
I just got back from the London Operational Stress Injury Clinic. Now I have been going there for more than seven years. I remember thinking what’s talking going to do for my flashbacks and nightmares…. in two words…. A LOT!
There is one BIG thing I have learned about recently from my Doctor who is Dr. H. He has a theory he calls, “Date Stamping.” Let me tell you about how it works and explain it to you. In fact, it is quite simple.
Dr H.’s theory is that, when our brains normally experience an event, it records it into our memories and it includes the date and time etc. So, for instance, I fell down April 2nd 1996 at 11:00am. This is the normal way our brain’s work and in time the memory fades and we tend to forget about it. With OSI or PTSD our brain has forgotten to Date Stamp this memory. So when we relive this event it is just as real as the day it happened all those years ago. So you experience the details just like when it happened no matter how many years have passed. Our brain forgot to date stamp so the memory can not fade. I know personally, the major events in my Military live are just as real now as when they happened in the 1970s. That’s the problem. Sound familiar Troops, boys and girls???
Well, this is the nature of our wounds when it comes to our OSI or PTSD. I know you are going to say fine and dandy, so how does that help me?
This is what I started doing last year after Dr. H told me his theory. To me, it makes perfect sense. When I do have a flashback or have a nightmare, I immediately say out loud, “NO WAY YOU JUST HAPPENED. You happened back ON AUG 15TH 1975 AT 11:05 AM!” That’s when the guy turned around on the pistol range and fired his weapon into my helmet. Just for an example. I have found that over time, this has helped, in that my brain is learning that this happened years ago, not just now. It no longer feels as if it just happened.
With time, it is starting to become less real and feeling like it is happening now and it is more like this happened a long time ago. The end result is that it is now not as hard on me to relive or recall this event. I have shared this with others in my group and I told them to say the date, time and what it is to say it with conviction. They have reported it is helping them to cope with the flashbacks and nightmares. You are in fact training your brain to not trigger the rushes you experience when you have the nightmare or flash back. You will never forget the event, but you can greatly lessen the stress and strain on your body. You just have to keep it up and believe in what you are saying and what is happening during the flashback or nightmare.
There is another doctor in Windsor or I should correctly say soon to be Doctor who has tried this on another patient and reports some improvement, which will be on going for that person. So soon to be Dr. C is helping others with Dr. H.’s theory. I encourage all to try it and stick with it. In a short time you will have results. Remember, we have been trained to overcome many things. Now use that training and your resolve to help yourself. It’s not easy and takes a little time, but you will see results. I would say, what’s trying it going to hurt? Nothing. And there’s a good chance you will see an improvement in your reaction to you wound.
So I’ll close now with my usual saying. Let’s talk, shall we?
LEST WE FORGETREFERENCE: Sylvain Chartrand CD is collecting a Bank of Articles on PTSD. For more information, please see Canadian Veterans Advocacy.
- One In 3 Ventilated Patients Suffers From PTSD Symptoms (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Brookhaven Retreat Participates in Brain Injury Awareness Month (prweb.com)
- PTSD & Sleep: The Best Natural Techniques to Help You Finally Sleep Through the Night (plushbeds.com)
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (ksucostofwar.wordpress.com)
- Awareness of PTSD Following the Boston Marathon (ecthehub.com)
- F is for Flashback (lillian888.wordpress.com)