I spent nearly three decades having distressing emotional flashbacks, without knowing.
I now realise I experienced these emotional flashbacks in front of many medical & mental health professionals throughout my life. Not once did anyone identify that I was having an emotional flashback, or help me find ways to deal with my traumatic experiences. This caused me so much additional harm. I realise that awareness of emotional flashbacks isn’t widespread, and it’s my life’s mission to change this.
Retraumatised by the mental health system, I instead took my healing into my own hands.
Inspired by Pete Walker’s excellent ’13 Steps To Manage An Emotional Flashback’, I created a set of flashcards to use.
I handmade them, laminated to protect against the spills, tears, destructiveness, self-sabotage, anger and adventures emotional flashbacks inevitably bring. Tried and tested, of course!
I realised that if somebody had put these cards in my hands 20 years ago, my life would have been completely different – a lot less painful, lonely, distressing and traumatic.
Sharing with friends
I made a second set for a friend, whose response was overwhelmingly positive. She inspired me to continue developing and sharing the cards, because like me, she sees the need and potential to help many others.
I started to share my journey and experiences of complex trauma more widely with my peers. My emotional flashback cards have been a big part of my recovery and I am keen to share them with others too.
I have now made three sets: the handmade cards above, and a digital design I also created in two styles.
I worked with a local printing company to produce laminated sets of cards, now available to buy. All proceeds support my work to create more Eyes On Trauma resources.
It’s important for me to make these resources as accessible as possible, so I also want to offer the cards as a free download on this page.
The first set currently available for free is the psychedelic design shown here. You receive 22 individual cards, each one designed by hand using graphic design software, and saved as an easy-to-use pdf document.
Just enter your email address below and check your inbox for your free download link!
Using the cards
You can save the cards on your smartphone or print them out, to use whenever you want. Some of the cards may be more, or less, relevant to you, given your experiences. Please feel free to overlook anything which doesn’t speak to you.
The cards are designed to be used during an emotional flashback. They can help regulate your nervous system into a state of calm. It’s also good to use the cards as ‘preventative maintenance’, to help prevent emotional flashbacks and give you memorised ideas to use when you need them.
If you support others who experience emotional flashbacks, becoming familiar with the cards could help you compassionately understand and guide others during times of distress.
Sharing the cards
It would be great if you can share the cards with your friends, family & colleagues. Please encourage them to download them from this page too, so they can read this introduction.
Thanks to Pete Walker
I just want to say a final thanks to Pete Walker, who changed my life and inspired me to create & share these emotional flashback cards. The cards are based on and adapted from Pete’s ’13 Steps To Manage An Emotional Flashback’, found on his website and in his book ‘Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving’.
It took me over a year to build up the courage to email Pete and ask if it’s OK to share the cards. I had nothing to fear – Pete is very supportive of my work, and had some very kind words to say when I sent him the first edition of printed emotional flashback cards!
“Wow! Great Job! The cards look great. What a most excellent way of presenting them and making them so accessible and durable.”– Pete Walker
I’m working on new sets of cards, including ‘What Is Complex Trauma?’, ‘Help! I’m having an emotional flashback’, a set specially for young people, and one for professionals. I’ll also release new design themes, including a nature-inspired set to help ground you.
If you have any comments or suggestions please get in touch. Want to know when new flashcards and other resources are available? Sign up to my (very infrequent!) email newsletter to find out as they’re published.
Buy a printed set
The graphic design set is now available to buy as a printed, laminated set of 11 double-sided cards. I worked with a local business to perfect the production, and am really proud with how they’ve turned out.
They cost £15 for one set of cards, with discounts available for multiple sets. You can choose between two designs – check them out in the online shop here:
Download your free cards
Don’t want to buy a set? No problem! Download your free set of emotional flashback cards now! Just enter your email address below and you’ll receive a download link in your inbox straight away.
P.S. If you’d like to sign up for my very infrequent newsletter, tick the box, otherwise I won’t use your email for anything other than sending your download link.