Friday, March 31, 2006

Friends are like Chocolates...

...They come in different kinds, sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter, but they all do the same job of filling us up and making us feel warm. They're all good sources of endorphin (the happy chemical).

We have different types of people around us to aid us in this journey that we call life. Family is there for love, colleagues are there for work, lovers are there for security and finally, friends, for support. Of course, lovers and friends can be like family, which means that they give love.

I've always wondered, is classifying friends possible? Categorizing them according to a set criteria in your brain? This criteria is purely yours, each person has his or her own criteria.

Let me share with you my criteria for friends.
Firstly, I have the best friends. They're a few, of course, and each one of them has something that the other lacks. One is good for listening and advice, she's the sound mind; one is such a sweetheart; another is good for just making me laugh and finally, save the best for last as she always says, the take with me everywhere kind of friend. The friend that would do all of the above, be able to mingle with all of the above and also know what I'd be thinking without me having to talk. It could get quite annoying, though, especially when I'd try and hide something from her because she would eventually find out, most probably because I told her willingly. You can say that she's like me in a more advanced and crazy brain, and a different body. It isn't out of the norm if one of us called the other just to say, "It's 11 o'clock and I just finished a full meal of Burger King!" and then hang up, no reason needs to be given.
Secondly, there are the very good friends. We'd care about each other, ask about each other, good listeners and there for support, but not quite graduated to best. Those are a few, too, but their numbers are larger than the best ones.
Finally, the normal friends come. We know each other and trust each other but never graduated to being very supportive to one another even though we wouldn't mind offering a helping hand, but we don't mind each other's company and are fine with talking gibberish and making jokes to one another. We care about each other nonetheless and would probably stand up for one another. It doesn't matter so much if we didn't talk for a long period of time, though.

I think that pretty much sums it up for me, or for my "friend" classification.

I think that we each have our own criteria's and the aforementioned is mine...

God bless them all.

Breaking the Chains:

"A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling."

Arthur Brisbane

Thursday, March 30, 2006

قوة الدعاء

الصلاة التفريجية

اللهم صلّ الصّلاة الكاملة، و سلّم السّلام التّام على محمّد، النّبي الّذي تنحلّ به العقد، و تنفرج به الكرب، و تقضى به الحوائج، و تنال به الرغائب، و حسن الخواتيم، و يستسقى الغمام بوجهه الكريم، و على آله و صحبه في كل لمحة و نفس، عدد كلّ معلوم لك
يا الله! يا حي! يا قيوم

الصلاة المنجية

اللهم صلّ على سيّدنا محمّد، و على آل سيّدنا محمّد صلاة تنجينا بها من جميع الأهوال، و الآفات
و تقضي لنا بها جميع الحاجات
و تطهرنا بها من جميع السيئات
و ترفعنا بها عندك أعلى الدرجات
و تبلغنا بها أقصى الغايات
من جميع الخيرات في الحياة و بعد الممات

Monday, March 20, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Trying to Mend

"There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore, and who always will…"

The past few days have shook me. They shook me to the point that the pain was so deep my body had to numb it for me. I think that because my body knew that if it let the pain bite at me it would be too much, it started to go upside down.
Have you ever been through something that hurt you so much that instead of crying you'd start laughing uncontrollably? That's how I was and probably still am. I think I'm starting to be sane again, I'm just waiting to break down so that I can finally start to move on.

Shock does this, doesn't it? When you get shocked by something that someone does to you, someone you'd have never expected this of...

My days are tiring, my weaknesses have come undone. I managed to knot them, thanks to someone who stood by my side, but now that they've left me in such a strange way, my old wounds are starting to freshen. It's funny how I can remain quiet for quite a while and would suddenly laugh for no reason. I thought that laughing was supposed to make you happy, why do I manage to end up with a headache after laughing? Sometimes I'd be listening to someone recounting a story that is anything but funny yet I'd have to bite my lip so hard to stop laughs from escaping my lips. The headaches make it hard for me to focus. Catching me daydream these days is very normal, I can't get the source of the headache out of my mind... The pain of the headache is also making concentrating on anything else almost impossible.

Yet I try.. and I try.

They say that time is the best healer. Is it a healer, though? I think that time just numbs the pain, it doesn't heal it at all. We become stronger because we start to forget, but if something triggers our memory and we start to remember a bad memory then all the pain that we experienced in the past will come back, all new. We never healed, we just forgot.. Being forgetful truly is a blessing...
For example, five years after the death of a loved one I wouldn't cry as often as I did one month after their death because with time I'd forget. But, if something reminded me of the person that passed away, I'd go back to what I used to do. Did time heal me? No, it didn't, or else I would've been fine. It just numbed the pain for me with the help of my receding memory.

There's just one thing that I would love to know...
Why, after knotting and stitching the wounds tightly for me, have they loosened them now?

What on earth have I done to deserve this...

Would I benefit from knowing why? Should I forget about my curiousity? Will getting an answer make this easier on me?

In the end, though, hearing one thoughtful kind word always helps to bring me one step closer to carrying a real smile.

Breaking the Chains:

"A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Because MD tagged me, I have to fill this list.

1. Four jobs I've had:

- Daughter (not so much these days)
- Babysitter (look at the above)
- Work Placement last year
- Student

2. Four movies I could watch over and over:

- Where the Heart Is
- Shrek 2
- Superstar
- Girl, Interrupted
- Gangs of New York

3. Four places I've lived in:

Only Dubai

4. Four TV shows I like:

- Friends
- Desperate Housewives
- Lost
- The O.C.

5. Four places I've been to on holiday:

- Europe: Switzerland, London and another place I forgot
- Asia: Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore
- Australia
- Saudi Arabia (yes, once went on holiday, to visit my family there)

6. Four favorite dishes:

- Noodles
- Meshwi (Arabic dish)
- Sandwiches
- Pizza Hut chicken wings, fisherman's thingy (it's a sandwich with prawns) and potato wedges

7. Four sites I visit frequently:

- Blogs
- Gmail
- Hotmail
- Google or Yahoo!

8. Four books I've read:

- The Present by Spencer Johnson
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be by Paul Arden
- Redemption Song by Beatrice Berry

9. Bloggers I want to tag:

- They're all already tagged!

Breaking the Chains:

"Friends applaud(...)"

Ludwig von Beethoven

Sunday, March 05, 2006


What's a flashback?

Flashbacks are memories of past traumas. They may take the form of pictures, sounds, smells, body sensations, feelings or the lack of them (numbness). Many times there is no actual visual or auditory memory. One may have the sense of panic, being trapped, feeling powerless with no memory stimulating it. These experiences can also happen in dreams.

Terrifying, unbearable, scary, uncontrollable, confusing....these and many more words are what a survivor uses to describe how a flashback feels.

Not knowing why a flashback happens makes dealing with them confusing for survivors.
Emotionally loaded, flashbacks bring back feelings from the original attack. Thoughts, actions and emotions that a survivor kept repressed during their attack may be to blame for some of these vivid memories.

The very fact that flashbacks seem to be uncontrollable and unpredictable, makes stopping flashback memories seemingly just another pain to bear.

When we begin to understand why we have flashbacks and are not paralyzed by them, we can move further along the path to healing. Flashbacks are a natural process of healing and they are safe. Your mind is now telling you that it is no longer necessary to block such memories.

So how can we deal with these flashbacks?

1. Three Options

When dealing with a flashback there are actually three possible options. At the first sign of an oncoming flashback, you need to quickly determine which option you are choosing.The techniques used for each of these options are the same, but how you combine them and the intensity which you will use them will vary to bring about each of the three. This is not to say that you will be able to control your flashbacks all the time, sometimes it will be stronger than you. If what triggered your flashback was strong enough, then you might not be able to control or escape it. During such times, get yourself to the safest place possible and keep using techniques to manage the acceptance of the flashback.

Option One: Accept

The first option is to accept the flashback at full intensity. It looks like a ridiculous choice at first glance, but one of the reasons that you have flashbacks in the first place is to help your mind process the information contained in the flashback. There are times when this is going to be the best option because the information is going to come out anyway. So when the time and place are right, prepare yourself and try to control the flashback only enough to keep yourself safe. How do you know when the time and place are right? Well, there are several factors that may help indicate when it is safe enough to Accept a flashback at full force. The first of these is a safe environment, by safe I mean comfortable and comforting. This may be your bedroom, living room, or even your therapist's office. The second is the existence of a support person, or someone you can talk to afterwards if you need to. This could be a significant other, close friend or therapist.
Limiting the times a flashback is accepted at full force can significantly improve how deal the more devastating memories are dealt with.

Option Two: Control

The second option is to Control the flashback, or rather to make an attempt to diminish the effects of the flashback. In order to Control the flashback, you need to increase the effort you put into the coping techniques you have (or those listed at the bottom of this article). I find it useful to also continue to remind myself that I am safe and that I cannot be hurt. Controlling and Escaping flashbacks work by interrupting the thought processes involved in the flashback. Since flashbacks are basically electrical impulses within the brain, I look at this as short-circuiting the flashback process. When you have a song you don't particularly like stuck in your head, the only way to get rid of it is to hear a song you like and replace the thought that is keeping that song in your head. Short-circuiting a flashback is the same thing you are attempting to replace one thought process with another. Controlling is not the full replacement of a flashback but a redirection of the flashback onto a different and safer circuit. To do this, you will be using your coping tools to interrupt the thought process. You may need to interrupt the flashback several times to Control the impact, and it may take several efforts to cause a single interruption. Mixing your coping methods around and using them in combination are ways of intensifying the attempt at interruption. If your environment is familiar and you can feel safe, or if you are with someone who can give you a measure of safety, then Controlling the flashback may be the best option.

Option Three: Escape

The final option is the Escape of the flashback. Again, remember that this may not always be possible, but never give up your attempts. Mix up your coping methods and combine them, try the more intense methods and try new methods. Escape is both tiring and difficult, but it can be done.

2. Take Notes

- What triggered the flashback?
- What was your goal? (Accept, Control or Escape)
- Did you accomplish your goal?
- What coping techniques did you use?
- Which of these techniques helped, which didn't?

Having these notes can help create a better plan for flashback management.

3. Coping Techniques

Nearly anything you can do to help cope with your flashbacks is a good thing. I say nearly everything because anything that does harm to yourself or another person is simply inexcusable in my opinion. I feel I have a right to say this because like many out there with PTSD, I resorted to self-injury in an attempt to deal with some of the memory I recovered. Not only was self-injury ineffective, it put me in a very dangerous position.
Resorting to causing yourself pain to cover other pain simply amplifies your agony. You may temporarily feel what you believe to be relief but once things return to normal and the flashback is gone, there is additional pain to deal with and at times, serious injury as well. I view seeking affection from others and Alcohol and Drugs the same way (with the exception of drugs prescribed by my own doctor or therapist). They may not do visible harm like cutting yourself, but the damage is done and the problems are compounded.

Techniques When You Are Alone:

Memory Games
(Good for visual flashbacks)

One of the easiest ways to cope or manage a flashback is by distraction. Try to remember something challenging such as the lyrics to a particular song, or a favorite poem. This can helpinterrupt the flashback by redirecting the activity in your brain.
For some reason, memory games work well when I am having flashbacks that involved my hearing and balance.

Some of the more effective memory games I have used are:

- Humming songs or remembering the lyrics to songs
- Naming facts I learned in school

Ice Cube
(Good for physical flashbacks - like feelings of touch or sensations)

This has been my most important tool in dealing with physically oriented flashbacks. The technique was actually taught to me by a Viet Nam Veteran who said he used it for every single flashback, adding "usually it helps, but sometimes it can't." I have found it to be effective to some degree almost every time I have tried it.
The idea is simple, take a fairly large ice cube and hold it tight in one of your hands throughout the flashback. The cold feeling keeps that part of you grounded to some degree and the physical sensation gives you something solid to focus on besides the memory you are reliving. It is important to hold the ice cube fairly tight and in the same hand for the duration of the flashback. I experimented with switching hands and holding it lightly and the technique lost much of its effectiveness.

I always use this technique in addition to some of the others when attempting to Escape or Control.

Wall Spotting
(Good for auditory, or hearing, flashbacks)

This technique involves selecting 4 or 5 brightly colored items in the room that are easily within vision and moving your focus between them. Make sure to vary the order and allow yourself to lock onto the items briefly before shifting to the next item. Keep this up throughout the flashback and continue for a short time afterwards.

Following the same pattern can actually cause you to become more involved in the flashback because your mind becomes used to the pattern and builds on it. By varying the pattern, you disrupt the thought processes involved in the flashback.

I suggest continuing the eye movements for a while after the flashback ends to allow yourself to get more focused on the present since I use this technique mostly for flashbacks with a visual element.

Cold Water on Your Face
(Good for any type of flashback)

This one is simple and can help with any type of flashback. This idea is one of the first ones any of us find that helps. Remember that it can continue to help. Try and use water cold enough to give yourself a good shock. There is a bit more evidence on why this works, it is called the "Mammalian Diving Reflex" or simply the "Diving Reflex" and relies on the fact that our bodies want to survive.

Sudden immersion in very cold water (below 70 degrees) triggers the Diving Reflex. The body reacts by lowering the heart rate, increasing blood pressure, and shutting down circulation to all but the body's core. The result is a lowered metabolism that conserves energy, which helps cold water survival. This is also why near-drowning victims in cold water have a much higher survival rate.

The effect on a flashback is fairly drastic. In short, the brain is shocked and interrupts the flashback to survive what may be a life-threatening immersion in freezing water. For this reason, make sure you use the coldest water available and use a good amount of it.

Techniques When a Friend is Available:

(Good for intense and strong flashbacks)

This is a technique I came up with while assisting a friend with a panic attack. I call this Counting for lack of a better term. The idea, like most of the techniques above, is to confuse the mind and disrupt the thought processes. To do this, remember that random is good.

Basically, your friend would make you repeat whatever they are saying and would start by following a predictable pattern. Throwing in random words breaks the pattern up and causes a brief disruption in the flashback. This can be very powerful against the more intense flashbacks and I tend to use it only when I am in great need.

The sample below is meant to illustrate both why I call it counting and how it can work.


I am unsure why this has been effective, but I do know it will not work alone. If you are selecting the order, than the order is not random, there are no surprises. The surprises catch us off guard and our reaction of "One, Two, Three, Eight?" is often enough to lessen the impact of fairly intense flashbacks.

Fizz-Buzz Counting
(Good for intense and strong flashbacks)

I use an "advanced counting" technique to recapture my focus... it is derived from an old group game we used to play - we called it "Fizz - Buzz". Instead of simply counting sequentially, any time a number contains the digit 7 or is a multiple of 7, the word "Buzz" is used; when a number contains the digit 5 or a multiple of 5, the word "Fizz" is used. This is pretty easy up into the early 100s... when much more focus and concentration are required!



It can be done without a friend. If you mess up, you're supposed to compliment yourself! Pick any compliment, but pick a compliment. Then start again.


For more tips please visit:
Coping with Flashbacks: Goals and Techniques for Handling the Memories
Hints on How to Cope With Flashbacks
Flashbacks: A Natural Process of Healing
Tips for Recovery

I have such flashbacks from time to time because of a past event that shook me. I found the aforementioned to be beneficial, I haven't tried them yet but I think that I will when and if I pass through something that requires the use of these techniques.
I hope that this doesn't happen to anyone and, if it does, I hope that these techniques aid you.

Breaking the Chains:

"Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is everything."

Henri Poincare

Parasite of Love

It's a parasite that lacks the gift of speech but sucks on your feelings like a leech.
Try not to fight it, it's hungry and it will drink your emotions in one sip. It force feeds you the love disease noisily and gives you sleepless nights.

The parasite strikes when we least expect it to. If we could control our feelings then we'd feel things that we don't really want to but it's impossible to do that. Love, especially, is the feeling that cannot be controlled at all.

The feeling is beautiful in all of the pain that accompanies the package of course - when both sides want it to happen. But what if they don't want it to happen? Maybe one of the sides doesn't want it or both don't.

When you fall in love because of this insect that is feeding you the "love disease feelings", you have sleepless nights thinking of that person; your eating habits change; you don't fall into the same mundane routine that you've accustomed yourself to daily, your days suddenly seem cheerier and your eye has the cutest glitter that gives your feelings away.
Sounds familiar? If it does, then I'm afraid that the parasite infected you too.

Is there some kind of spray to kill this parasite? Why kill it? Enjoy it if you can, if you have to kill it though then just have faith in Him and then in yourself.
This brings me to:

Factors of Love

Both Sides Want to Love

This factor is lovely, it keeps the feelings in the air and grows with time. The parasite keeps feeding and feeding them at the same time. It might bite instead of feed somewhere as it goes, but that just comes with the package. Love is, after all, a parasite. I never heard of a perfect parasite that didn't accidentally bite instead of feed. It's just normal.

One Side Loves, the Other Side is Oblivious or Is Pushing It Away

This is one of the painful factors. It's what is called a crush for it's not really love if both sides aren't sharing the same feelings. What's a crush? It's a crush when you love someone and they don't love you back, they wouldn't have called it "crush" if it didn't hurt. It could eventually progress to love from both sides or just fade away. Cards need to be dealt right here depending on what needs to be done.

Both Sides Are Trying to Push It Away

This is probably the most painful. It's like a crush but more major because both sides are experiencing the feeling of loving someone but knowing that they can't have them and they both know that they feel the same way about each other which is what makes it even more painful to bear. Here, they can either progress into wanting the parasite to take them over, or in living in the pain for some time until they are numb to the parasite's constant biting. The parasite could get bored and fly away, or just stay there. They'll be able to adapt either way.

The three words themselves are magical and do wonders to the soul:
I Love You

I was told by someone once that when you fall in love for the first time and hear those words for the first time they don't feel as good as you expect them to be. Only when the words come after something happens that proves their care for each other that's when the words make the harp that lines your heart with its strings sing.

The pain that accompanies the last two factors can be dealt with in many ways, here are a few ideas that I thought of to let the parasite know where it should stick itself:

Anti-Love Spray

Go back to your faith. Believe in Him and then in yourself, be confident. Tell yourself that you can and will get over it.
Don't regret what was because then you can't look at what could be.
Remember that when you feel like you reached the worst that you can reach then that means that there's no way but up from there.
Always look for a friend to take it out on, it makes all the difference. Plus, your friend might have good advice to give so that's a bonus in addition to their listening to you.
God puts us in pain because He loves us and because of Him already having written everything for us, He wants to wash away our sins by letting us experience pain because He doesn't want us to experience that pain in the afterlife; He loves us.
Tell yourself to be patient, know that Allah is testing you and He doesn't lose anyone.
Know that there's no such thing as a random act and that everything happens for a reason.
Be sure that everything that happens to you is out of goodness.
Try to eliminate any external influences, anything that might trigger this feeling in you again.
Praying helps.

Love's a beautiful parasite that can get nasty at times. If it gets too nasty, or if the parasite is not wanted, anti-love spray can be used.

If you have any additional ingredients to add to the spray, leave them in the comment box. Or just comment with whatever you want, haha.

Breaking the Chains:

"It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
Samuel Butler