SENSORY GROUNDING TECHNIQUES
Here are some techniques you can try with Functional Seizures and Dissociation Episodes. These techniques are like any discipline, they require patience, practice, and perseverance to achieve maximum benefit. Use one or all of these techniques only when you are feeling well/ok and adapt them to suit your needs. If you find you’re losing concentration, where your mind is wondering, move on a little quicker to the next step. Remember these techniques take practice.
(NOTE: The following techniques do not work for everyone and have not been clinically tested. They are a compilation of tips suggested by patients. Use at your own risk.)
• Carry an item with you which is roughly textured, an emery board, small piece of sandpaper, a child’s small toy, a bracelet, a pine cone something which you can spend time experiencing its shape and texture.
• Close your eyes (some people find this causes symptoms).
• Take time to focus on what the item feels like, rubbing it slowly, feeling around the edges.
• Place it in the palm of your hand.
• Be aware of the sensations on your hand, finger and thumbs.
Use a raisin as a grounding tool
•Place the raisin between your finger and thumb.
•Look at its color, texture lines and ridges. Hold it up to the light noticing the different colors.
•Gently squeeze it and release several times, taking time to look closely at it, noticing its shape changing. Squeeze and roll it between your finger and thumb, think of words that describe the feeling. Think about how much pressure it would need before it popped.
•Place the raisin in the centre of your palm. Take time to think of the feeling of the raisin in the palm of your hand. You may feel almost nothing in the first instance, give this time, really concentrate, focus all you can on the feeling of the raisin in your palm. Notice the rest of your hand does it feel cooler, hotter, are you aware of any slight breeze or cool air on it.
•Now squeeze the raisin until it pops, looking at its insides.
•Hold it under your nose and think of words that describe the smell.
•Now pop it in your mouth just holding it on your tongue. Does it taste bitter, sweet, horrid, or delightful? Rub it on the roof of your mouth, notice your saliva increasing and what else is happening in your mouth. Move it around in your mouth and begin to swallow gently again taking time to notice the taste is changing when it moves to different parts of your mouth.
•Swallow the raisin noticing it going down the back of your throat also the taste you have in your mouth now that it’s gone.
Focus on what is around you
Sit with your feet placed flat and firmly on the floor. You may be laying down in bed or the sofa, be aware of your body against the bed of the sofa as like the technique of the chair (above).
Pick out something in the room.
Focus on every detail, moving around the object describing the colors, materials, structure.
Use words to describe them to yourself.
By sharing these techniques with carers, family and friends they can help and encourage you to stay focused if you become flustered, panicked or feel overwhelmed.
DEEP FREEZE TECHNIQUE TO MANAGE SEIZURES
You may have signs or symptoms which tell you a seizure is imminent, however, some have no warning. The first step is to raise your awareness as to what is going on prior to and leading up to seizures.
Look for signs such as:
- Unusual taste or dryness in mouth
- Feeling woozy/lightheaded
- Tingling or pins & needles
- Feeling of being excessively tired need to sleep
- Rise in heart rate
- Pain in chest
- Muscle spasms
- Feeling like you can’t breathe/suffocating/need for fresh air
These symptoms can be around for seconds, minutes or hours before a seizure. Everyone’s symptoms vary but by learning to recognize your symptoms you can learn to stave off and even prevent a seizure. Like the ‘grounding technique,’ it is a discipline to be understood and practiced.
Plastic pint size jug or pot half filled with water stored in the fridge
Ice cubes ready and accessible in the freezer
Put a handful of ice cubes in the jug of cooled water. (You may want to sit down safely and comfortably if you have time). Plunge your hand in the ice water (almost to the wrist) and hold it there. As your hand becomes colder and begins to feel painfully cold you would normally remove your hand but in this situation, you leave your hand in the water. You may feel relief of your seizure symptoms instantly or it may take a little longer.
When you are having a seizure, your brain is essentially going off in its own direction, doing its own thing. By plunging and freezing your hand in the ice water your brain receives the signal, senses danger, is startled back into action and attends to what is happening in this part of the body. This is essentially a distraction technique to bring the brain back from going off on its own.
Emotional Freedom Technique -EFT
EFT or Tapping
EFT or Tapping is a simple and very efficient technique. It can be done with a trained therapist or it can be used as a brilliant self-help tool. Some people have found it helpful to reduce or control symptoms.
EFT can be used for pain management in several ways. It can be used to reduce the level of pain being experienced and to lessen the response to an emotional trigger or worry. There are many helpful books available that explain fully the many uses of this amazing technique.
This Youtube clip is an excellent EFT example used for every aspect of pain relief. It can be repeated as often as you like or need:
Do not be concerned if some of the aspects he mentions do not fit your situation it is still safe and helpful to go along with his routine. Do not be concerned if you find yourself yawning or sighing a lot through the routine, it’s a good sign. It is a sign that you are letting go and getting your energy moving in a healthy way.