At last year’s July 4th celebration, I was standing with some friends when someone lit one of those big long strings of little red firecrackers off right next to us. The guy next to me fell to his knees in utter panic, wide-eyed, glistening with sweat and pulled me down, too, as he fell.
It’s times like this that I’m so thankful to know how to help. Within 15 minutes of tapping with me – without his saying a word – he was on his feet, shaken but OK enough to be able to speak and do more tapping until he truly felt good.
MY POOR DAD!
I remember my dad doing the same thing on July 4th when we went to the beach to see the fireworks. My mother and I used to dread it because we knew what he’d do.
He’d be OK until the huge, no-lights boomy ones went off, and then he’d hit the ground, crashing onto his belly, taking anyone close enough to be within arm’s reach down with him. Shell shock, they used to call it. PTSD now.
So this year it happened again. I was at a friend’s whose neighbors like to build those doorway-sized archways that have the little red crackers strung in multiple strands from the bottom of one side across the top and down the other. Takes about 25 full minutes of incredibly loud po-po-pop-po-po-po-pop-popopopopopopopopopop-popping to be done with the darn thing.
“Sam” was across the lawn from me, but I saw him crash to his knees, ducking down and covering his ears and crying. I ran over and helped him up and into the house, where we did some quick work on his intense reaction. We had to neutralize not only his reaction, but his rage and shame that others saw him like that.
After only 20 minutes of very simple but very specific tapping, we were able to go outside and watch the very end of the popping. He had no reaction to it at all. I asked him if he could have done that before, and he said he’d have had to wait at least an hour for the initial shock to wear off, and then the shame and anger to subside.
There’s not one bit of shame in reacting like that. On the front lines of war, his body learned to react that quickly to get down and out of sight as a way of survival. It was serving him.
But now that he’s back home, the survival switch hasn’t turned back off, and loud sounds coming unexpectedly, or any number of other triggers, can make his body react to try to protect him. That switch needs to be turned off again! But how? Continue reading