That took a huge chunk of time to realise, but I no longer feel guilty for being happy. It’s ok. It’s allowed.
Recovering from trauma and PTSD episodes is really hard, but once I let go of how I thought I should feel and just allowed myself to be……that’s when the miracles started to happen. The miracles of happiness and feeling that happiness right to my core. The miracle that I actually love who I am, and that’s how it should be. The miracle that allows me to trust people who aren’t my family.
If you’ve been feeling paranoid and acting weird, you can take this card as a very direct message from the Universe that you can stop now.
Worrying yourself is pointless. It’s time to release any negativity that has built up around your situation.
If you’re worrying about how a person has been treating you, then it’s time to let that go. Release any anger you have. Release any negative feelings. This doesn’t mean you’ve let them win, on the contrary, letting the situation go (and quite often the person/people) is very liberating. Forgiving them frees you.
Letting negativity go is the best possible thing for us to do. Holding on to all that anger, resentment, hatred, it gets us nowhere. In fact, it can often make us ill. Best to let it all go.
You can write about the situation on a piece of paper, read it through and then burn it. Alternatively you can tear the paper into tiny pieces and flush it down the toilet – you could use toilet paper if you’d rather flush that instead.
Sometimes we get to the weekend and instead of relaxing we spend it stressing about work, school, family, friends, just about anything. We want our weekends to be fun, peaceful, relaxing, but when we stress about “stuff” we find Monday has rolled around again and the worrying has wasted the weekend. Time we could’ve spent relaxing. Time we could’ve spent being fully present with our families.
What if we could just let go of the stressors, at least for a couple of days? What if we could put the heavy stuff aside for a day or two and focus on the here and now? This doesn’t mean our stress is magically wiped away, it just means we are going to focus on the present day, and that present day is a Saturday or Sunday. *Please note, this post assumes you work Monday to Friday, but if you work weekends and have the same stress on your days off, by all means, take what you need from this post and apply to your life.*
There is a wonderful, easy, and simple exercise that I have used plenty of times. It won’t take your problems away, but it will allow you to become focused in the here and now and that is what we all want for our weekends off.
BE A TREE: Use your imagination to feel stable, calm and focused.
Mindfully ground yourself with inspiration from nature. Pretend your legs are the roots of a tree, reaching your arms up to be the branches. Sway from side to side as if you are blowing in the wind. Notice your legs don’t move, keeping you grounded. Imagine being a tree when the winds of life whip up. Be flexible, yet resilient, like a tree in a storm.
At first this might seem silly. You might feel self conscious, or wonder what this simple exercise can do to help reduce your stress and bring your thoughts back into the present moment.
Grounding yourself is always a wonderful way to bring your thoughts back to the present moment. This action alone can bring about calming thoughts and help you feel reconnected with the present. When you add the tree exercise to the grounding exercise you allow your thoughts to shift to the present moment, imagining yourself swaying in the wind just as tree does.
Trees are rooted in the earth, they are grounded. They are open to the elements all day, everyday. They take whatever weather system comes at them and they remain rooted and grounded, being flexible by swaying their branches. And so the idea here is to be more like a tree, swaying, being flexible, remaining calm and grounded and not being affected by everything that life throws our way.
This exercise is calming and soothing, and you will hopefully start to appreciate your life within the moment, rather than focusing on issues at work, or school, or even within the family life. This exercise is not intended to push your troubles away, the intent is to bring your focus to the here and now, allowing yourself to be present and shift your focus from stress to calm thoughts and thinking.
Once your thoughts are calm, you then have the opportunity to plan how you are going to tackle any problems you might be facing. You can plan a time and day for when you will tackle any issues, allowing your thoughts to be calm and not solely focused on those problems. Making a plan will help you feel more in control and allow you to enjoy the time you have free throughout the weekend.
For so long I’ve hidden away when it comes to connecting with new people. Online it’s easy to hide, in real life not so much.
Last night I had a group thing to attend online, I’d said that I’d go and I meant it. I started getting panicky around 10 minutes before the event was due to start.
I was still determined to go.
As the event started I couldn’t get into the room. How easy it would’ve been to just walk away, figuratively speaking. Hiding behind technical issues is lame, but it was true.
But the organiser swapped over to zoom and I had to re-download the app – my phone archives unused and rarely used apps when it updates the software.
Again, the panic was setting in. What would people think of me? Would they judge me? I felt nervous about how I looked. How I’d sound. I didn’t feel ready or good enough. But then a voice inside me said “show up as you are”.
Showing up as I am, last night, meant no make-up, casual clothing, no voice (I’ve lost my voice due to a cold) and wearing my glasses – something I rarely do unless I can wear my prescription sunglasses.
It meant trusting in the universe. Trusting that everything would be OK. Trusting that nobody would care how I looked, or sounded.
And so I clicked join and the world didn’t end. Everything was fine. I had a good time and I’m pleased I pushed through the panic.
Showing up as we are is scary as hell, but it’s so rewarding.
As we move into autumn, here in the UK, we are also moving into a more restricted lifestyle once again. Not a full lockdown, but restrictions on what we can and can’t do.
The last full lockdown broke me. Yes, I was safe at home and I thank the Goddess every day for that. But CPTSD grabbed me and had me so hyper vigilant I was on the verge of a breakdown.
I’m in a better head space now, but I do not want to return to that dark place I was in earlier this year. With tighter restrictions imminent and the threat of another lockdown I’m left wondering what that will mean for me.
Trusting in the flow of life is something I’ve always struggled with. Trauma survivors have spent so long relying on their instincts and themselves, it’s quite difficult to put faith in anyone or anything else.
I’m tentatively putting my faith in myself and my husband as we negotiate the coming weeks and months. Putting one foot in front of the other, taking each day as it comes.
Recently I’ve realised even the most well meaning people, those who claim they are forgiving and non-judging, even they fall short. It sounds quite obvious when I see the words before me, after all, none of us are perfect.
I’ll say it again: None of us are perfect.
It’s hard to forgive people who have hurt you, boy don’t I know it! But I’m the type of person who will give people a million chances, and then a million more.
People I’ve known for a long time and who I’m connected to personally, professionally, even spiritually, are some of the people I end up forgiving over and over again. We have connection. We have history. We supposedly have friendship…… I have given chances to them, even when they’ve lied about me to peers.
I have struggled with my mental health in the last three years and the ones who I thought would have my back have used my “sins” as a tool to punish me with, hence some of the lies.
I hear them preaching love and forgiveness, but I know it’s all a facade as their version of forgiveness is selective. This leads me to wondering why some people are all talk and no action, and others – usually the ones who have struggled and suffered the most – cannot bear to see other people suffering.
My “sin” is that when shit gets real for me I hide away from people who I am supposed to trust. But trust is not something I can easily slip into when PTSD comes a-calling. Trauma victims often shut down and go into survival mode, where there is no room for anyone but themselves. It isn’t personal, it’s trauma related behaviour.
I’ve been labelled as distant, cold, hard-faced, incapable of feeling, etc when I’m in survival mode. This is quite a shocking thing to hear when someone you believe has your best interests at heart says this about you.
It doesn’t help with the trust issues, but reinforces that trauma related dialogue that goes on inside your head. It reinforces your belief that you are everything your abuser or attacker said about you. It reinforces that lack of self worth you have honed over many years of hating upon yourself.
It is a very difficult cycle to break. Our minds are constantly churning out thoughts and if we allow the negative stuff free reign, it quickly takes over.
There was a time when I would believe I was unworthy of love and friendship. I would believe that if this person wasn’t willing to forgive me then I must be awful. Or if that person wasn’t willing to forgive me I must be a truly shitty human.
I know I am not.
I know I am worthy of love, happiness, friendship, peace, and much more.
I can’t change the past, it happened. I can’t change how I acted or reacted, it’s in the past. I have apologised to the people who I hurt, whether they forgive me or not is up to them. I have forgiven myself for feeling bad about how acted when I was in the midst of a PTSD episode. I have forgiven myself for acting in that way.
I believe that to truly forgive people you must first learn to forgive yourself.
Feeling empowered is not an indulgent whim, I think we all should embrace this feeling, and here’s why.
When you feel passionate enough about something to take action you are feeling empowered. You allow this empowerment to let you take action and make your world a better place for you and others.
We all know that 2020 has been a right doozy of a year, some have thrived whilst others have barely survived, and yet there are others who have muddled through. There is nothing wrong with anyone from any of these categories, people handle a crisis in different ways.
I’ve felt a sense of empowerment sweep over me these last few weeks and it has lead me to realise that feeling empowered is a very useful tool in a soul love teaching sort of way.
Sometimes we are led to believe that empowerment means we must jump aboard the latest trend – whatever that may be. We are led to believe that to be empowered we must be fighting for a cause greater than our own needs.
There’s nothing wrong with fighting for your own needs. There’s nothing wrong with feeling empowered about circumstances you want to change in your own life, never feel ashamed of putting yourself first. We all know the “put your own oxygen mask on first” analogy, and we can all agree that this is a wise move.
The reason this analogy gets used so much is because we all need to take care of ourselves first. We cannot pour from an empty cup. When you stop to think about this it makes total sense.
Thus it is the same when we need to feel empowered. We need to champion our own cause first and foremost. Taking care of our own needs is not selfish. How are we supposed to get truly passionate about any cause if we cannot even get passionate about our own lives?
To be empowered about improving our lives is an excellent starting point. As we move through the pandemic and other turbulent events that are happening around the world we need a sense of purpose in our own lives to get us through.
Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling your own life. It allows you to set healthy boundaries and really see where your energy leaks are coming from. It allows you to find purpose and manoeuvre your life towards a path that you really want it to take.
Most of all it gives you a passion for living your best life, which in turn helps you to focus on causes that are dear to your heart. That’s when you move onto being empowered about other things. But first you have to tend to yourself.
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that life can change dramatically in the blink of an eye.
We are trying to rebuild our lives whilst the world is still falling apart all around us. I believe this is a must for us all, despite what this extremely weird year has brought for us.
Holding on to pain and suffering is not going to bring us our lives back as they once were. The way things were is dead and gone. We have to use the pain and suffering as stepping stones to out new way of life.
We owe ourselves that much. We owe ourselves the honour of getting to live beautiful lives. We owe it to the people who haven’t survived this crazy year.
Live life, passionately, fully, with gratitude and enjoyment. Create the life you want for yourself, use the crazy energy that this year has left to propel you forward on a new venture.