I’ve been giving some thought to the whole “Tetris fixes PTSD flashbacks” concept, over the past few weeks.
Some people agree, others don’t. Here’s an interesting discussion over at Vetvoice.com about it.
I have to admit, I have found some relief while playing Tetris. It’s so interactively neutral — no people to shoot, no mortal danger to avoid, no sudden loud sounds and flashing colors to tax my already frazzled system. I have tried playing it when I was extremely agitated about stuff that was coming up in therapy… flashbacks, in particular. For whatever reason, I found the flashbacks subsiding and images of dropping brightly-colored Tetris pieces showing up instead of the shadowy figure appearing suddenly in front of me. It seemed me me that Tetris images were literally replacing the unwanted flashbacks.
Or maybe it’s just me. But I can tell you, my system really started to chill out. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
One of the commenters at the discussion about this over at Vetvoice.com suggested. “And why not win every tetris computer game you play, while you’re at it design a new one!”
It made sense to me, so I decided to do just that. I’ve been working on alternative versions of the game, with different colors. My first attempts are a bit rudimentary, the changes being isolated to the colors alone. But it’s working.
You can get to “PTSTetris” by following this link: http://ptstetris.110mb.com/
I don’t know if it really works, but the logic seems sound. I think we can’t make generalizations all across the board about whether it will fix what’s wrong, but if nothing else, spending a few minutes rearranging colored blocks beats flashing back on wretchedness that intrudes on my regular day, getting all anxious and agitated and freaked out over stuff that happened a long time ago in a very different place.
I’ll probably be creating more color schemes, as time goes on, but for now, at least this is up and running.