One of the most important things in trauma recovery, and in life really, is support. Having either the support system of friends and family or having a strong, healthy set of coping systems internally. Support, connection, is essential. We grow ever distant, while being connected all the time. We rarely have a moments peace. The connection is not genuine. It’s endless scrolling, a comment here, a like there, in a haze. That type of connection will not help you when you are in crisis.
One of my favourite ways to determine what type of friend you have is with the two beers and a puppy question. If you think about the person and you would have a couple beers with them, but you wouldn’t trust them to look after your puppy for a week, then they are fun, but not responsible friends. If you would let them look after your puppy for a week, but you wouldn’t go grab a couple beers with them, they are responsible, but no fun. The one you’d grab a couple beers with and trust your puppy to, would reflect a good friendship. You need AT least that level of a friend to support you through recovery.
That support can be through therapy and/or coaching. It depends if you are able to get enough support and typically, the costs get beyond our capabilities too quickly. Your benefit plan, if you are lucky to have one, might cover you for 6 treatment sessions. And that’s at half of the cost being paid by you out of pocket. How many people can afford that. So, we decrease the sessions, space them out, and that causes it’s own issues. Those gaps in services leave us vulnerable. I remember many times when due to my therapist’s busy schedule and vacations when I had to miss out for a month straight, when you are in crisis, that seems like eternity. That’s when you need the friend you trust and can lean on. That friend can be family, it can be a spouse. For me, it was.
I needed it too. My complex PTSD permitted me from showering/bathing alone due to terror. It was not comfortable. It was not easy. The terror existed regardless. But at least I wasn’t alone. When I had to shut my eyes, I knew there was someone else there. Someone who consistently reassured me that they wouldn’t let anything happen to me. Slowly, you begin to feel safe again.
It’s what you were missing when the trauma occurred. Support. Someone to protect you. Someone who had your back and didn’t let the bad thing happen to begin with. When we we were failed by our caregivers, it created trauma, it left a wound and the way to fix it, is to offer it what you needed originally. If it was protection, remind yourself that in this moment, you are protecting yourself and if you could have been an adult, present in that traumatic moment in your childhood, you would have protected that child (you) then.
The other support that is required is internal. You have to be able to offer a safe space for yourself to heal. Let yourself realize how amazing and capable and strong and wonderful you are. You are as amazing as anyone else. We are all made of exactly the same stuff. In our core, our spirit, we are light and energy. We are connected. The only difference between one life and the next is choices. Once we become adults and have the ability to make our own decisions, we make a choice every moment to be present or numb out, to eat healthy or not, to move or sit, to be kind or snap. We make choices all day, every day, to either be good or not care. We can make a choice, each and every time, to do the best thing for ourselves. Pick the healthiest option.
Instead of flipping through your phone, talk to someone and if you can, face to face. If you’re having a bunch of negative thoughts, say ”Silence.” And then think/say some positive ones instead. Why be mean to yourself? We get enough negativity in our lives in ways we can’t control. So, why live with it in our minds. Stop thinking poorly of yourself. Stop saying mean things. Stop hurting yourself. Why would you be anything but kind and loving to yourself?
Today, when I had a shower I thanked my body. I marvelled at the strength and resiliency that I saw. I didn’t look at myself and think oh yuck, look at that or shame, this. I saw a mom and a warrior and a woman. I saw a body that survived traumas and surgeries and exams and babies and life. I thanked God for me. This person who survived so much and who is kind and compassionate, who is trying to help in anyway she can to ease suffering. When I recovered, I looked in my eyes in the mirror and smiled a big genuine smile. I can now feel bliss. I was so disconnected and so mean to myself. Thinking with such love about myself brings tears to my eyes. Who wouldn’t want to spread that around the world? Follow your bliss 🦋 and lead with love ❤