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Singing the Pain Away - An idea in development

Hey ya'll. I've been in a slump lately. Haven't posted much. I'm still happy though, and I'm finding that being happy in general does NOT preclude the experiencing of pain.

Thankfully, I seem to have come up with an idea that actually stops PTSD flashbacks (the aforementioned pain) dead in their tracks. My therapist (who is an autism specialist at the top of her field) is very interested in this idea and wants me to develop it further, for the benefit of her other ASD patients.

Now, bear with me, this is going to sound stupid, silly, and generally objectionable, but as the title of this post would suggest, the general premise is to sing the pain away.

What I mean by that is that when you start experiencing a flashback, instead of disassociating and just sitting there experiencing the whole flashback, if you start singing (it can be done quietly, don't worry) the flashback seems to stop.

Further, if you're the type who has one flashback after the next, if you keep singing for a little while (not sure how long), your train of flashbacks will be derailed altogether.

But what to sing? That's important, and it's probably not what you think. The goal here isn't to come up with a #1 record and end up singing in Nashville or whatever. Nononono. The idea is to activate the same part of the brain that the flashbacks hijack and essentially "push out" the flashbacks - basically, singing seems to leave no room in the brain for the flashbacks, so they stop. That's my crude working hypothesis, anyway.

Doing so is more soothing than you might think. Don't make up a song and then sing it, just start singing and make it up as you go along, sort of like scatting.

Forget about notes, forget about volume, forget about audience. You're singing this to yourself, in whispers if you want, and nobody will hear it so forget about making it good. In fact, what I've been doing personally is to use my Aspie love of repetition and singing in a sort of mantra. My song usually goes like: a-chinga, a-chinga, a-chinga-changa-chonga, a-chinga-chang-ching-chong-choo. . .

And for the record, I'm not making fun of Chinese people with that song, I can just put words like ching-chang-chong to pretty much any melody I want and really play around with it. It's easier than trying to come up with words off the top of my head, and I can sit and repeat it for seconds, minutes, or hours - like a mantra.

If I haven't made this point yet, the big deal about this is repetition. Just like Dory with her "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" the idea is to just keep singing. Don't pause for a second. Find the words you want to use in your mantra, and keep singing, or if you prefer to think of it like scatting that might be more accurate.

But please note that this idea is about a week old and still in development. I wasn't going to post anything about it until it was fully developed, but it occurs to me that a good way for that to happen would be to crowdsource it and look for feedback. So please, if you try this and it either works for you or doesn't work for you, let me know in the comments.

It works for me, and I hope it works for you, and I hope I've effectively communicated how to use this technique.


I do just what you are talking about! For example if I’m loading the dishwasher, I’ll make a song of it...I put all the forks in this box...
Sometimes i make myself laugh because it’s so silly.
Singing: "Oh, yeah, I'm in a Flashback! Singin it away, singin it away, thanks to Gritches!" Not kidding. I will belt it out if I start to feel that darkness encroaching.
Singing: "Oh, yeah, I'm in a Flashback! Singin it away, singin it away, thanks to Gritches!" Not kidding. I will belt it out if I start to feel that darkness encroaching.
That is exactly how I meant for this to be used, bravo!

Update for anyone who's reading this: I have a world-renown psychiatrist using this technique on her patients as a sort of "beta test". If it pans out, it might be used by the VA for veterans with PTSD. Fingers crossed, I hope it works out!

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