It takes strength and commitment  
to make a conscious decision to  
work through confused feelings  
that rape may have left you with,  
but we at NRC will try and help  
you through the effects of rape. 

Flashbacks may occur many years after an event, often we are unsure what has triggered a flashback – it could be triggered by sounds, smells or other reminders or even a death. 

Some Ideas of how to cope: 

Acknowledge that you are having a flashback and that it is quite natural. 
Remind yourself that the worst is over – it happened in the past – it is not happening now. Remember you survived the incident and you can survive and get through what you are remembering now. 
Try some ways of “grounding” yourself and becoming more aware of the present: 
Stamp your feet, grind them around the floor to remind yourself where you are now. Look around the room, noticing the colours, the people and the shape of things. Listen to the sounds around you – traffic etc. 
Breathe deeply; you can also count to 5 as you breathe in and out. When we get scared we breathe too quickly and shallowly and our body begins to panic because we are not getting enough oxygen. This causes dizziness, shakiness and more panic. Breathing slowly and more deeply will stop the panic. 
Flashbacks are powerful experiences which drain your energy, take time to look after yourself when you have a flashback. You could have a relaxing bath or a sleep, a warm drink, play some soothing music or just take some quiet time for yourself. When you feel ready, write down all you can remember about the flashback and how you got through it. This will help to remind you that you did get through it (and can again). 
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