a set of simple strategies to detach from emotional pain for example
(cravings, self harm urges, emotional eating behaviour etc.) Grounding can also
be a way of returning your attention to the outside world and away from
yourself. In the case of dissociation.
PRACTICE GROUNDING TECHNIQUES?
When you are
overwhelmed with emotional pain, you need a way to detach so that you can gain
control over your feelings and stay safe. As long as you are grounding, you are
more likely to be able to overcome urges. Grounding ‘anchors’ you to reality.
with PTSD and dissociative disorders struggle with either feeling too much
(overwhelming emotions and memories) or too little (numbing and dissociation).
In grounding, you attain balance between the two—conscious of reality and ability
to tolerate it.
§ Grounding can be done any time, anywhere
and no one has to know.
· § Use grounding when you
with a trigger, having a flashback or dissociating.
· § Keep your eyes open, look around the room, and
make sure the light is good to stay in touch with the present.
· § Rate your mood before and after to test
whether it worked. Before grounding, rate your level of
· § emotional pain, or your
level of dissociation. Then re-rate it afterwards. Has it gone down?
· Try not to make judgements or
think negatively. The idea is to distract from the negatives.
· § Stay neutral—no judgments of good or
· § Focus on the present, not the past or future.
· § Grounding
is much more active than relaxation exercises and focuses your attention.
deemed to be a better way of coping with PTSD and dissociative disorders than
relaxation practice. As during relaxation the focus is too much within the
body, which at the worst may bring on flashbacks.
♣ Describe to yourself in detail your
surroundings: For example “The walls are white, there are three pink chairs and
a blue sofa. There is a picture of a brown border collie on the wall with a
gold frame around it.” You can do this out loud if appropriate, or in your head
if you are in public.
♣ Play a game like “Scattergories” in your head
or with a friend or family member. Choose a letter of the alphabet and try and
come up with as many examples of a category you choose as you can. For example
C … Boys names: Christopher, Curtis, Carl, Charles etc.
♣ Do an age progression. IThis can be
particularly useful if you have dissociated or regressed to a younger alter or
state. For example in my experiences I have an alter who is three. So I might
say… Now I am four, I am at home with Mummy and Daddy and I can do (an example
of an age appropriate activity) alone. Work your way up until you are back to
your current age. This may not always work for little alters, but can help.
♣ Describe an everyday activity in great detail.
For example if you like gardening “I open the shed door and pull out the
lawn mower, I connect it to a power supply and climb on. I turn the key and put
it into drive….”
♣ Imagine. For example make up a nice
little story in your head, or out loud. “I am putting some roller skates on,
and I am slowly gliding away from all my emotional suffering down a beautiful
smooth lane, having fun listening to my favourite music LOUD!”
♣ Say a safety statement. ‘My name is
_________; I am safe right now. I am in the present, not the past. I am in
_____________ the date is _____________.
· ♣ Read something, saying each word to yourself. Or read each
letter backwards so that you focus or the letters and not on the meaning of
· ♣ Use humour: For example have a “Funny Memory Bank” where you store up
your favourite witty moments for those detached, rainy days.
· ♣ Count to 100 or say the alphabet very slowly or very fast.
· ♣ Repeat something meaningful to yourself, such as a prayer or quote. For
example you could use the Serenity Prayer.
û Run cool or warm water over your hands.
û Grab tightly onto your chair as hard as you
· û Touch various objects around you: a
pen. keys, your clothing, the table, the walls. Pay close attention to colours,
weights, textures etc.
· û Firmly stamp your feet on the floor, literally
grounding yourself. Feel the tension of your feet against the pressure of the
· û Carry a ground object in your pocket—a small
object such as a rock, stone, crystal, bead, piece of string or cloth, or a
stress ball that you can touch whenever you feel triggered.
· û Jump up and down.
· û Stretch reach upwards and pull yourself
tall. Extend your arms, legs, fingers and toes.
· û Walk slowly, noticing each footstep.
· û Eat something yummy. Notice the flavours,
textures and feelings that come up for you.
· ♥ Use Cheerleading statements, as if you were talking to a small
child. For example “You are having a difficult time adjusting to these chanes,
but you are doing so well. You should be proud of yourself.”
· ♥ Think of favorites. Think of your favorite color, animal,
season, food, time of day, TV show.
· ♥ Picture people you care about. Even get a photobook made of positive
pictures or pictures of people you love! Such a simple nice way to ground, and
you can get A4 photo books at the moment from GroupOn for under £7!! (I in no
way endorse them I just thought it was a good offer!)
· ♥ Remember the words to an inspiring song, quotation or poem that
you like or feel positively about. Maybe write out the words and decorate it
for your wall.
· ♥ Remember a safe place. Describe a place that you find very
soothing it could be when you went on holiday to the beach, or walking in the
woods. Or just a time you felt safe and peaceful at home in your living room or
· ♥ Plan out a safe treat for yourself, such as a trip to a coffee
shop with a friend, making a nice dinner or a bath with some nice toiletries or
candles if you feel safe to use them
· ♥ Think of things you are looking forward to in the next week.
Perhaps schedule your time so you build some structure for chores and
pleasurable activities. It can help to know what you are doing and also not
just sit at home with nothing to do. This can cause difficulties.
WHAT IF GROUNDING DOESN’T WORK?
♠ Practice as often as possible. Even
when you don’t feel overwhelmed or dissociative. This way it will come more
naturally to you when you are struggling.
♠ Practice faster. Speeding up the pace
gets you focused on the outside world quickly.
♠ Try grounding for
a Ioooong time 20 mins at least, and then repeat !!
♠ Try to notice
whether you do better with physical or mental or soothing grounding.
♠ Create your own methods of grounding. Any
method you make up may be worth much more than those you read here because it
♠ Start grounding early in a negative mood cycle.
Start when you begin to feel the early warning signs of dissociation or when
you have just started having a flashback.
“We have to help him, Ron.” Hermione told her boyfriend. “You
know how he is, if you don’t push him, he will never make the first move.”
“And what do you suggest we do, Hermione? It’s not like we
can make her so something… We don’t even know if she likes him back!” He
“Well, I think there is a way.” She smiled. “Come with me to
“Bloody library.” Ron said under his breath.
“Did you say something?”
“No, nothing at all.”
When Harry entered the 8th year common room Ron
and Hermione were going around giving cupcakes to who was there.
“Hello, Harry, do you want a cupcake?” Hermione asked when
she saw him.
He grabbed the cupcake she was giving him and ate it while
she explained that she had made them herself, not wanting the house elves to
have any more work.
“Go give this one to Cho.” She said suddenly and gave him a
cupcake that was just slightly different from the one he had just ate.
“Ok…” He looked at her suspiciously.
Hermione smiled at her friend and watched as he went in Cho’s
direction to give her the cupcake. What Hermione wasn’t expecting, however, was
Malfoy entering the common room in that moment and Harry walking towards him
and giving him the bloody spiked cupcake with a nod and a tense “Malfoy”.
Draco looked at Potter weirdly, not knowing what to make out
of the situation. Why, in the name of Merlin, was bloody Harry Potter giving
him a cupcake like they were some sort of Hufflepuff friends?
“Why are you giving me a cupcake, Potter?” He asked.
“It was Hermione’s idea.” He shrugged. “She’s giving cupcakes
Then, the boy smiled and walked away living Draco looking at
the cupcake in his hand stunned.
After looking around the room and seeing everyone enjoying
their cupcakes – even Blaise and Pansy, - Draco took a careful bite and
promised himself he would never admit aloud just how good the cupcake actually
Only Ron saw the look of terror on Hermione’s face as Malfoy
ate the cupcake.
“What do you mean, Hermione?” Draco heard someone hissing
when he left his dorm room in the middle of the night to go the bathroom
“I mean exactly what I said, Ron.”
“So, Harry gave Malfoy the cupcake he was supposed to give to
Draco peeked around the corner at the scene in the common
room and saw Granger nodding her head, sitting on the sofa and looking guilty.
“So, what will happen now?” Weasley asked.
“I guess we just have to get ready for a week full of Malfoy…
He will want to be with Harry all the time. You know it, Ron, George was the one
sending you the potion, he explained everything that would happen once someone
had it and, just like he said, the only way it won’t change the person’s
behaviour is if they already have feelings for the person who gave it to them. This
is Malfoy and Harry we are talking about.”
Draco looked at the two of them in disbelief. If he
understood correctly, Granger and Weasley had spiked a cupcake with some kind
of love potion George Weasley sold at the store, they gave the cupcake to
Potter so he could give it to Cho Chang, but Potter gave the cupcake to Draco
and he had eaten it, meaning that he would apparently be in love with Potter
for a week.
However, he didn’t feel any different and he knew why: the
potion didn’t affect the behaviour of those who already had feelings for the
one who gave it to them, or so Granger had said. Draco knew he couldn’t just
act like he normally did towards Potter, or else Weasley and Granger would find
out the truth about his feelings.
Seeing only one way out, Draco decided that during the week
the potion would have effect he would show his love for Harry Potter and then
blame it on the potion and make the two Gryffindor idiots who spiked the bloody
cupcake pay for it.
When Harry sat at the Gryffindor table the next morning for
breakfast he was met with guilty expressions on Ron and Hermione’s faces.
“Good morning.” He greeted while sitting down next to Ron.
“Morning.” Hermione answered even though she didn’t look him
in the eyes.
“Ok, what did you do?” Harry asked looking at his two best
Hermione and Ron shared look and Hermione sighed, looking
like she was ready to spill whatever they had done, but before she could Malfoy
sat down next to her, in front of Harry, and she looked down at her food.
“Malfoy.” Harry nodded.
Harry looked at him weirdly, not knowing why the other boy
decided to sit with them instead of the Slyhterins. It wasn’t unusual that the
houses mixed during meals, however, it was unusual for Malfoy to sit with the
They ate breakfast in a tense silence and, when they
finished, Malfoy got up and said “See you later, Potter” before he exited the
For three days, Malfoy had sat with them for meals. He tried
to make conversation and Harry was surprised to see that he actually enjoyed
the boy’s company. Malfoy was different from the people Harry usually hang out
with; the Slytherin was sarcastic, - sometimes even making mean comments – and
his humour was different from what Harry was used to, but, in a way, it was
kind of refreshing.
Now, they were both in the library studying for potions;
seeing Harry struggling with the lessons, Draco had offered to help and they
had already been there for an hour.
“I think it’s enough for today, Potter.”
Harry yawned and nodded, closing his books and putting them
in his bag. Draco smiled seeing the sleepy boy that he found adorable.
“Come on, Potter, I don’t think you want to fall asleep in
the middle of the library.”
Shaking his head, Draco grabbed Harry’s hand and pulled him
out of the library in the direction of the common room, their fingers
intertwining in the way and neither of them doing anything to pull them apart.
When they got to the common room, they said goodnight to those who were still
awake and stopped at the Harry’s bedroom’s door.
“Good night, Harry” Draco smiled and kissed the boy’s
forehead, before going to his room and leaving him behind.
The next day, Harry didn’t pay attention in his classes; he
was too busy daydreaming about a certain boy. It surprised Harry when, the
night before, Malfoy had kissed his forehead; why had he done that? Harry
couldn’t tell and, somehow, he didn’t care, as long as the other boy did it
At supper, Malfoy sat next to Harry at the Gryffindor table, closer
than he had sat the days before, making Harry blush and smile down at his food
when he felt their thighs brush. Hermione and Ron had the same guilty
expressions they had been wearing for some days now.
“Are you guys ok?” Malfoy asked.
Ron looked at Hermione, nodded his head slightly and she
sighed looking up at Harry and Malfoy.
“We have something to tell you both.” She said.
“Ok, tell us.” Malfoy put his fork down.
“Not here” Ron shook his head. “Not in the Great Hall where
there are so many people.”
When they finished eating, Ron and Hermione got up and told
Harry and Malfoy they would meet them in the common room, so they could talk.
“What do you think they want to tell us?” Harry asked the
“I think I have an idea, but let’s go and see.”
Draco got up and Harry mirrored his actions and they exited
the Great Hall together.
“Harry…” Draco called when they were just about to enter the
“I want you to remember that I do what I do because I want
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“You’ll see. Just don’t forget what I said, ok?”
Harry smiled at the boy in front of him and leaned up to kiss
his cheek; Malfoy blushed and Harry thought that the redness in his pale cheeks
suited him and decided that he would do anything just to see the other boy
flushed again. Malfoy smiled down at him and grabbed his hand, intertwining
their fingers and pulling him to the common room, where Ron and Hermione were
waiting for them in front of one of the fireplaces.
The only other people in the common room were sitting at the
table playing chess and Draco knew that the couple in front of the fireplace
had decided to talk there because it would be almost empty, as most of the 8th
years were still having supper.
Harry and Draco sat next to them and the sight of them
sitting so close with their hands clasped and fingers intertwined seemed to
make Hermione look like she was about to cry.
“We did something” Ron finally said. “Just don’t get too mad,
Harry looked at them feeling slightly scared about what they
could have possibly done.
“Ok” he answered. “I’ll try not to get mad.”
“We really didn’t mean for this to happen, Harry,” Hermione
rushed. “We just wanted to help you with Cho.”
Harry felt Draco’s hand twitch in his own and gripped it
tighter, not really realising what he was doing.
“What do you mean?” He asked his best friends.
“Oh, Harry, we know you like her!”
“But… where did you get that idea from?”
“You told us that you liked someone, but you wouldn’t say who…
She was the only person we could think of.”
“I don’t like Cho.” Harry scoffed. “But that’s not the point.
What did you do?”
“Remember when I gave out cupcakes on Sunday?”
“Well, there was a reason behind it.” She continued quietly.
“Just spit it out already!” Draco exclaimed.
“We spiked one of the cupcakes with one of George’s love
“I gave a cupcake to you and told you to give it to Cho,
“But I never gave the cupcake to Cho” Harry shook his head.
“I gave it to…”
“Malfoy” Ron finished looking at the boy next to Harry.
Draco heard Harry take a deep breath next to him and he could
feel the other boy’s rage and betrayal.
“What was the potion supposed to do?”
“For a week, the person who drank it would act in love with
the person that gave it to them, unless they already have feelings for each
other, then they would act the same.”
There was a thick silence in the air and Draco felt like
hexing the two people sitting in front of him when he felt Harry’s hand go limp
and stop squeezing his own.
“So, what you are trying to tell me is that, for the past
days, Dr-Malfoy has been nice to me because of some potion?”
Ron and Hermione didn’t answer, but they didn’t need to;
Harry already knew it and, somehow, it really hurt to know that Malfoy had done
everything because of a potion. Draco felt his heart drop when Harry got up without
a word and left to his room, not looking back.
“Don’t you have anything to say?” Hermione looked at Draco.
“I already knew.”
“I heard you talking about it on Sunday night.”
“You did? Then why didn’t you try and fight the potion?”
“Why would I fight something that didn’t even work in the
Hermione and Ron fell silent and Draco just sighed and got
“I know you are Gryffindors and all, but not even I thought
you could be this stupid!”
The Gryffindors watched as he went to his room and when he
was out of sight Ron looked at Hermione with a scared expression.
“Did he mean what I think he meant?”
Harry ignored the other three the following days. His best
friends tried talking to him and apologize, but he wouldn’t let them.
Seeing that the boy preferred being left alone, Draco didn’t
try talking to him and decided that the best he could do was wait until the
week of the potion ended so Harry would believe him.
So, on Monday after supper, Draco grabbed Harry’s hand and
pulled him to his room, determined to talk to him and to make him see the
truth, because some days showing Harry his love wasn’t enough for him.
“What do you want, Malfoy?”
“Why do you call me Malfoy again?”
“Isn’t that your name?”
“No! My name is Draco, that’s what you should call me, just
like you did this past week.”
“You were under a potion’s influence.”
“No, I wasn’t.”
“The potion doesn’t work when the person already has feelings
for the one who gave the potion to them.” Draco walked closer to Harry and felt
really accomplished when Harry blushed.
“What do you mean?”
Draco rolled his eyes playfully.
“I know you are a Gryffindor, but you’re not so dense, Harry,
you know exactly what I mean.” He leaned down and kissed the boy’s lips
lightly. “I did what I did because I wanted to, not because of some stupid
And then he kissed him harder and Harry rested his hand on
the blond’s chest gasping in surprise when he felt the rapid pace the heart
beneath his hand was beating in. Draco took advantage of the gasp to slip his
tongue in the other boy’s mouth and both of them saw little colourful sparks
behind their eyelids.
“Draco” Harry whispered when they parted to breathe.
Draco just smiled and pushed Harry to lay on the bed slipping
in next to him and putting his arms around him protectively.
“I hope you know that I will have to get revenge somehow” he
said. “They don’t have the right to poison me, even if it didn’t work!”
“I’ll help you” Harry smiled at the Slytherin.
They cuddled closer to each other and let sleep overtake
Imagine your OTP entering a pumpkin carving contest just for jokes, but actually ends up being seriously considered for the prize by the judges due to their “incredible technique” and “astounding message” portrayed through the carving.