Regular readers of this blog will recall I have struggled with PTSD for many, many years. I started therapy late 2018 and by February 2019 we had established I hadn’t dealt with the threat that was made on my life August 23rd 1987.
It took a while for that to settle within me, the fact that I hadn’t just been raped, he’d held a knife to my throat and told me he’d kill me. The trauma of that had me stuck.
By going through with the reliving therapy I became unstuck and was able to deal with the emotions. I also discovered why I hated my face being touched – his hair had brushed against my face when he had been dragging me down the riverbank.
In June of last year an incident at my granddaughter’s school caused me to have a relapse with the PTSD. So it was back to see the therapist once more.
Dealing with everything has taught me that the feminine aspect of myself was severely wounded. Dressing in baggy clothes allowed me to feel less of a woman and therefore less of a target to rapists. Being hyper vigilant allowed me to always be aware of who was around me at all times. Keeping people at arms length allowed me to be in control. These feelings are fairly normal for someone who has been viscously attacked in such a violent way.
In recent weeks I began to realise I was actually happy. It was one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever experienced. All of my adult life has been spent in some sort of emotional turmoil, but that has all changed. The weird wasn’t because I’ve never experienced happy, naturally I have, but this was a feeling that had been growing inside of me, gaining momentum every day and wasn’t fleeting.
Recovering from deep rooted trauma is no easy task, but it is possible. My story is mine alone and my words are not intended to diminish anyone else’s pain and suffering.
That time of year is coming around again – Christmas, Yule, the holidays, whatever you want to call it. It’s a really magical time of the year, but it’s also a very stressful time of the year for many of us too.
The pressure many of us feel to have everything just perfect, from the gifts to the food and drink, to making sure the entire family has an amazing day, these pressures leave us feeling stressed out and unable to see a way beyond the madness.
Making lists can really help here. Lists allow us to have each task laid out in black and white and once ticked off we can feel enormous pleasure in achieving something. It also allows us to break everything down into more manageable chunks and can take some of the pressure off.
And of course some things we just cannot control so just breathe and let go.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be fantastic at giving advice to others, solving their problems, and generally being the support they need.
But what about yourself?
Again, if you’re anything like me you won’t be so good at being that same caring person for yourself. For whatever reason we find it difficult to prioritise ourselves and often run on empty, which in turn is very detrimental to not only our health, but our emotional wellbeing also.
If all you can manage is five minutes a day, every day, then that’s a start. Five minutes turns into ten minutes, ten minutes turns into twenty minutes, and so on and so forth.
Make yourself a priority, you really do deserve it.
Worrying about stuff is a normal, human trait. I do it, probably more than I’d care to admit. We all do it to some degree. It can be useful in the short term, helping us problem solve among other things.
But too much worrying is bad for our mental wellbeing. It sucks the life out of us. It robs us of our lives. A useful tool I’ve been using a lot is to write down everything, no matter how trivial it seems, that is worrying me. Then I work through my list, prioritising important stuff and relegating trivial stuff to a piece of paper that I burn.
I agree, some things that worry us won’t leave us alone, but there are things that we worry about that drain us and rob us of our mental wellbeing. These are the worries we need to let go of.
One thing I’ve found hard on this journey called life, is not giving a damn about what other people think of me. There are days where I really couldn’t care less, their opinion of me isn’t my business, and there are days when I find myself crippled by anxiety over what someone has said, or allegedly said.
Why the hell do we do this to ourselves?
If we get caught up in what the haters think then we are giving them free reign over our lives. Live your life and forget about those who haven’t got anything positive to say to you, or about you. Leave them to their toxicity.
Sometimes it’s the easiest thing to do – giving up. But we never accomplish anything by quitting. Keep going, no matter how hard things seem. You will get there one day, and when you do you’ll be glad you didn’t quit.