First, thank you for reading my blog and all the positive responses to my blog post: Healing from PTSD Toolbox pt1 Here is part 2!
Low Stress Lifestyle– I used to be a workaholic and I still love being productive but I had to step off the hamster wheel. I also moved to a much quieter and safer neighborhood, closer to family. I moved twice actually which is actually really stressful but in a good, moving forward sort of way. I work from home and support myself completely from my endeavors online. I don’t have a boss looming over me and can work at my own pace. Since my symptoms have really only allowed for barely part time hours for working, I’ve found creative ways to work smarter and not harder. I’m furthering my low stress lifestyle in more ways that I will elaborate in future blog posts.
Isolation– I could also call it alone time. I call it isolation because at a certain point alone time can be a bad thing. Spending too much time along can de-socialize you and increase anxiety when around people. I use isolation to focus on myself and my healing. I tend to worry about the needs and wants of others over my own. I forget that I have needs too. This is not good and not how to take care of myself. To start learning to focus on myself I have been spending a lot of time alone.
“Fuck It”- This is what I say when I’m being resistant to things that are actually good for me. I also say it when trying something new. I have a lot of self doubt and fear that I deal with. I say “Fuck it” and do it anyway. It is more of an adventurous mentality than a tool. It allows me to step out of my comfort zone. I have found most of the things I was really resistant to are very helpful! This is also how I have gotten out of really horrible unhealthy relationships(FUCK THIS!).
Compassion– This one was and is still difficult for me. I used to be very hard on myself about pretty much anything. I also had very high expectations and also extreme harsh punishments if I failed or stumbled. Compassion allows me to see myself as a human and not some super machine that doesn’t need any creature comforts, rest, food, love ect. Compassion for myself sometimes requires that I dissociate a bit to take a step back. It helps my analytical side to see me as someone who has been through a lot and ANYONE going through this has a hard time of it. When I see myself as a suffering human and not what “they” told me I was. Expressing compassion for others is also part of this tool. When I’m feeling really low and hopeless I reach out and try to be there for someone else. Not forgetting myself but offering compassion and support can be a healing experience. I show myself by example the kind of people I need in my life.
Monitoring My Self Talk– This goes along with compassion but it is all focused on that little voice in my head. The stream of conscious thought. Early on, I had adopted the voice and extreme criticism of those who had abused me. I mentally abused myself for decades before I realized that that voice in my head wasn’t me. It was a lingering shadow of what had happened, like a broken record of bullshit! I still catch myself doing it sometimes but I’m doing much better at not talking to myself like “they” did. I painstakingly go through my head and work out what is the bullshit left over from abuse and what is actually me. I’m still sorting it out daily. Here’s a useful tip, the YOU part doesn’t think you suck.
Anger– Yes, ANGER! Anger is good, it means I am alive and still fighting. It is a powerful driving force and I used to be terrified of it. I was afraid to allow myself to be angry. I thought I would lose control and hurt someone. I used to get punished for being angry and there were times when I was on the receiving end of violence for even mentioning it. Now I am better at accepting it and even using its boundless energy to refocus on constructive activities. And really, with the things that have happened, why wouldn’t I be angry? Anger is a vital part of healing from PTSD.
Writing– Writing down my feelings, plans, and lists all help me to organize my thoughts and sort things out. Writing also helps me to express things that I may not be able to say out loud yet. I use writing to talk to myself. I write to the little girl that was hurt and let myself write back to my adult self as her. I was resistant to this at first but it has greatly helped me in getting in touch with feelings and memories that are still locked away. Writing has a weird thrilling sensation when I talk about the abuse I have suffered. The act of expressing myself and talking about the abuse feels like I am going to get hurt at 1st. My mind has connected talking about abuse with danger. That’s where the “fuck it” tool comes back into play. Yes, it is scary, do it anyway.
But wait, there’s more! There is actually more in my toolbox to help me with healing from PTSD and I am adding new things all the time. I am very passionate about surviving and sharing what helps me. The way I see it is every person is unique in what will be helpful. Somethings are only helpful some of the time. It can be very confusing to know what to do. This blog has become a resource for myself when I am suffering to refer back to. Thank you for reading and I hope that some of the tools I use can be useful to you. Again, please feel fee to comment below and add any tools that you use to helped you.