Recovery to me is breaking down that definition into bite size pieces, and working through each one, and not necessarily coming to a place of recovered, as I believe it is a continuing ongoing work in progress, and what ever life presents our recovery will either move with us or stay put, or not even progress, it’s an ongoing process.
I’ve learnt that for all the years I went through the abuse, how can I expect that recovery to be completed in any set time scale. So, what do you do with all the impact that the abuse has presented itself, how do you start that engine and move forward in your recovery? You gather all the tools you can and with each tool you will be able to use them and process and lead a life that is suited to you and your well being. What are these tools you may ask yourself? To start with the first tool the one that is paramount to your recovery is YOU.
I can only talk about my recovery and the tools I have gathered. A treasure chest of different tools depending on the situation at any particular time. Here are just a few.
1. During the early days of my healing I had to take part in two modules of DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) one of which is Mindfulness-this is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. It takes in any given moment your mind to a place that’s real that’s now and detracts from that trigger that dark thought memory. The beauty is it can be done any where at anytime and without anyone knowing except yourself plus it’s free.
2. Grounding....when you’re experiencing a trigger that sends you back in time to a place of terror of fear you can use grounding to bring yourself back into the here and now. It’s about noticing your feet on the ground about your surroundings and knowing you are safe.
3. Having a safe place. Somewhere you can go and just breathe and feel safe from your own thoughts and triggers.
4. A memory box chest fill of all those things that make you smile make you laugh make you feel safe and calm. It could be anything from pictures from Knick knacks collected from the written word from a texture from anything that brings joy. Something you can pull out at those impact trigger moments.
5. Taking up a craft a task that takes your concentration elsewhere and in doing so creates joy. For me this is a couple of things photography and gardening.
6. A go to support whether that be a professional, a friend, social media, help line. I can say from my recovery that I often have that niggling negative voice (my abusers) telling me constantly that I am a nothing and so I then find myself reaching out and getting that affirmation from others that I'm not. I thank those I go to....You know who you are.
7. Physical activity. My escape back then especially at school was sport it meant I could stay longer at school. I happen to be pretty good so netball team tennis athletics rounder’s I was there. I gained a love of Table Tennis. It’s only in the last year I have taken it up again competitively. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain. that reduce your perception of pain. This tool is better than any prescribed drug... Physical activity can mean just as simple as taking a walk. Going up and down stairs, dancing. It doesn’t have to be a sport.
8. The written word is a priceless tool. To be able release those words of hurt of emotion of feelings, onto paper, to then do with what you want, keep share throw.. your choice
9. One tool recently gained from someone else is to write affirmations or quotes or something to remind yourself your awesome to help disintegrate those negatives on post its keep it with you in your bag around your house etc. Next to your bed.
10. This next tool gives me most joy as it shows how you can, as a survivor in recovery, empower and give hope to others by using my voice.....raising awareness..by sharing my lived experience and how you can forge a life after abuse. Yes it’s not straightforward but it is precious this living malarkey and so are YOU.
These tools are ones you keep in the garage and bring out as and when. They are always there...........
Today I have talked about tools but remember that first step is the most important a trip to GP or to a peer to peer support group where they can sign post you, if necessary to agencies that can further help you. As we know that’s not always available and so having those tools in the garage could help that moment of impact that trigger.............
If you have a bespoke piece of furniture jewellery it would cost a fortune. It is the same with recovery each persons recovery is bespoke that's how valuable it is that's how valuable
It's strange how a few short seconds can lead you in a whole new direction,
It alters how you think and act and see your own reflection.
From a single moment on, my life was forever changed,
Like everything I previously knew had suddenly been rearranged.
Standing there in the night, so scared, so exposed.
I was covered by a veil of darkness, like satin petals of a rose.
The glowing moon looked down at me, peaking through a massive blanket of stars.
I could touch it; it seemed so close, but it was really oh so far.