More than 70% of people with PTSD have trouble sleeping. I have had trouble sleeping my whole life. Over time I have developed a self care sleep routine that helps me to get to sleep. Not having enough quality rest makes my life much more difficult in terms of coping with my PTSD symptoms. I wrote down what to do to wind down and then systematically tweaked that list.
My Bedtime Routine:
At 8pm-9pm the tv and/or computer goes off. (I still post a Gnite pic and look at animals on Instagram for a few minutes after I lay down sometimes.)
I check the alarm and the door locks.
Lights off and light a candle. Listen to music and write or listen to an audio book for about an hour.
Brush teeth and put on pj’s while listening to music or an audio book.
Hop in bed, cuddle the pups.
Turn on the fake fireplace.
Turn on an audio book with a soothing voice.
BAM! I’m usually out before the 60 minute timer on audible stops the book.
Many people do this naturally and don’t even think about it. I needed a bit more help due to being stuck in fight or flight mode most of the time. It helps me to wind down and give my brain signals that I am safe and it’s time for sleep. I used to keep this little list on an index card so I wouldn’t forget anything or if I got off track I could refer back to it. It takes some discipline to get into a routine. I also used sleeping pills for the 1st week of this routine and now I’m going to sleep on my own. Loving myself has a lot to do with making sure I do this routine every night. Even if I fail at everything else that day to take care of myself and manage my PTSD symptoms, I make sure that I do this routine. I am going to use what I learned to create this routine to create other self care and helpful routines to help myself.
If you also are having trouble getting to sleep feel free to try out the self care sleep routine above. Add in your own stuff and subtract what doesn’t work for you. For an example you might shower or take a long bath before bed, meditate, write in a journal, do some stretches or yoga. If you know someone that may benefit from a self care bed time routine, please pass this idea along!
I had to take a break from this blog for a little while. I needed time to not share. I wasn’t expecting such an outpouring of love and respect after I shared how I was struggling with PTSD, depression, and insomnia and had been for a long time due to being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and partner rape. I was completely overwhelmed. After being silent for so long and trying for so many years to hide what was going on in my brain…EVERYONE KNEW. I had tried to sych myself up for that realization for about a month before I ever released anything. Nothing prepared me for how terrifying it was. Thinking about it now has me tightening up muscles as I type this. It was scary because my 3 year old child self that vehemently loved her family held secrets to protect that family. The connection in my brain was to tell was death. It is unreasonable now as an adult but it was programmed into me at such a young age and reinforced with violence. I know some people may think it sounds silly but it felt like that jump off a very tall cliff without knowing what was at the bottom. Would I land safely into water or would I break into pieces after hitting the hard ground? Then I realized that I was also on the ground but maybe in not so many pieces. I came out of the seemingly death-defying event in my life more whole then before I shared my truth.
People started to write blog posts about me, fans came out in droves to send me virtual hugs, there were videos made, and I was just completely overwhelmed, honored…and sometimes suspicious. Yes, I know, people show me kindness and love and I look at them with a side eye. You see, I’ve known that people can be evil and manipulative for a long time and generally the sharks come out when they smell any perceived weakness. It wasn’t like that though. I only had to block a few people. Mostly, people were just kind to me. I felt stronger as I shared more and I began to feel like less of a burden. I felt loved and that I was ok. I mean really OK now. I was safe now. This realization that I an safe now has been pretty shocking. So shocking in fact that I really had to just sit in that feeling and quietly enjoy it.
I decided I needed to continue to work on my relationship with myself. When you go through an abusive time in you life especially if its more than once there can be some really wicked negative thoughts about self worth going on. It can be almost if that abusive person is still there, talking to you, telling you awful things. Like some dame annoying little mini troll bastard just hanging out in one’s mind, just a bitching. So, I’ve been working on that and through treating myself better I’m feeling better. I’m learning to accept myself better and just go with some of the effects of child abuse in my adult life…like sleep. Whoa, that is fucked, let me tell you. I have never been a day person. I was up at night as a baby and have never taken naps unless I’m sick. I’m still not napping but get this, I’m waking up at like 5-6am. I’m up for the day sometimes before the sun and not pissed(seriously). I get to see the sunrise a couple days a week. I’m just feeling BETTER.
I am so grateful to each and every person that send me a message, an email, a tweet, a fave, like, RT, and every other way that they reached out and put a supportive hand on my shoulder. They literally helped to lift me up out of a really dark place. If you are one of those people, then thank you. You are an amazing human being. It does matter that you care, are supportive, and wish people well. It matters that you share that. It mattered so much to me and still does. Thank you!
I recently read a book called “How To Live in the Present Moment” by Matt Morris with Kindle Unlimited that really helped me. It gave me some pointers on living in the present moment and for me that is not always an easy task. One of my symptoms of PTSD is that I have flashbacks to past events and there were some helpful tips to bring myself more to the present. Its kind of like ground yourself. I remind myself to feel the earth beneath your feet, think about where I am now, and get myself back into NOW because NOW is awesome. It really helped to curb the feelings of fear that come along with my flashbacks or at least take the edge off so I can process them in a healthier way.
Why is NOW so awesome? Because now I am not being abused. I still live with the repercussions of those life events of my childhood and 1st marriage but I’m handling things better than I ever have. In making progress with healing and loving myself again I’ve gotten closer to my true self. I’ve been second guessing myself and trusting myself more. I haven’t been asking permission or felt as lost. This is also due to lots of therapy in the past few months that have really helped me to find peace. And there is a lot more dorky dancing around the house as I go about my day.
This book has also helped in being more patient with myself. It seems the author has written this book in the spirit of compassion and I’m thankful for that. I have a habit of being REALLY hard on myself about everything and it helped to put things more in perspective. I don’t need to be perfect to be happy with myself anymore. Not only is it not possible to hold myself to those high expectations but its a bit silly. I will also never be that great in the court of public opinion and that makes me happy now. The last thing I want to to be “perfect” or “accepted” in the court of public opinion, no fun in that! HAHA! Trying to please others is a trap. Besides, if I actually give any time to seeing whose those people are like spouting out criticisms, I’d see that they don’t really have their shit together either behind the facade. Do I take the time to do so? No, I have better things to do that are much more fun…like dancing in my office chair to one of my favorite Pandora channels and writing.
Life is random and beautiful and chaotic. There are dark times, time of love/light, and everything in between. I’m learning to go with it and make the best of myself instead of dwelling on things I really have no control over. I realize that I don’t want that kind of control anyway. Its not my problem. I like me and that’s all that really matters today. Today is a great day as is every day that I continue to care about myself. It can be difficult as an abuse survivor to feel good about myself but I do. Typing that out or writing that still brings tears to my eyes because its a truth I wouldn’t believe before.
Reading books like these along with therapy helps to reinforce to myself that being gentle with myself holds more peace of mind and results than being a hard-ass with unrealistic expectations. The more I get to know myself the more I like myself. Its helping me to reprogram my inner self talk with MY words instead of things my abusers had told me. I learned through therapy that the things they said to put me down were likely projections of what they actually think of themselves. That’s not really what I think of myself or how I describe myself anymore. I’m also thankful to not have those negative people in my life anymore. I deserve better and I’m not going to settle for less. I’m not afraid of losing people in my life like I used to. Sometimes people come in and out of my life and that’s ok. I don’t always feel the same as others to me but that doesn’t mean I owe them something for having feelings for me or showing me kindness. Kindness doesn’t keep a tally sheet and I don’t either. I don’t have to do things that make me uncomfortable to keep people in my life. I will be myself and if they expect more, want more, or want me to change, they can exit stage left.
Being myself means caring for myself and family, lifting others up when I can, being creative, silly, trusting myself, stop thinking in a binary way, and doings things that bring me joy and can get me out of my comfort zone to learn and grow into a better person than I am right now. I’m passionate about everything I just listed. It really means a lot to me and really, it always has in one way or another even in the darkest of times. I was still in there, deep in the recesses of my mind, waiting, lying dormant, and now I feel more free.
I’m going to be reading more of these books about less stress, mindfulness, and living in the present moment. I’ll share what was helpful and I’ll list the links to get them yourself if you are interested in reading them, too. I already have my eye on the next book to read which is “Mindfulness: Mindfullness for Beginners” by Yesenia Chavan
One of the most difficult feeling for me to have are feelings of hopelessness. I really dislike feeling this way and have found its definitely something I give myself a hard time about when I’m feeling it. This compounds the problem and then I feel even more hopelessness, BLARGH! So one of the big things I have been making a conscious effort to change to to be more accepting of myself. I’ve talked about this before and I really wish the changes could be overnight but they aren’t. It takes a lot of work for me to treat myself well.
Luckily, feeling hopelessness is not perpetual and it does pass. I have to stop interrogating myself with “WHY?” and start being kind to myself like I am someone else. How would I treat someone who was having these feelings? If one of my family members or a friend said they felt this way would I ask them 20 questions and beat them down? NO. I don’t need to do this to myself then. This reaction of self-hate is obviously a learned reaction and a repeat of how I was treated in my past when I wasn’t happy.I don’t always realize that I’m being so hard on myself until I start to feel even worse, and sometimes I catch it right away.
After that feeling lifted I can really see a difference. It surprised me when I was putting the footage together for the video diary the other day. I can only describe this feeling lifting as similar to when a headache lets up and you aren’t in pain. It is exhausting in the same way for me too. Coping with feeling hopelessness is more like a battle. One thing that has helped me is to just be kind to myself during that time period. I read, sculpt, write in my journal. I tell myself positive things, like a real inventory of that things that I am proud of, the positive people in my life. I call a friend or family member and the support can be just what I needed. What helps seems to change just as the emotions do which is frustrating. Nothing linear, point a to point b. The control freak in me likes to stomp its feet about this as with most emotional things I have to accept that I can not change them but only change how I react to them. I am trying to live more in the moment and enjoy my surroundings and the environment that I can control, right now.
The feeling of hopelessness is common in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I mentioned earlier that I am trying to live more in the moment. There are tons of articles, and blog posts about this but I recently started reading a book that has some great straight talk about living in the present moment and I found it to be comforting. Its called: How To Live In The Present Moment, written by Matt Morris.
New abuse survivor video diary for Jan. 22, 2015. The day started out rough again but then there was a great thing that happened. The memories lifted and my day became brighter. I felt stronger and happier. Although processing these memories from my past childhood sexual abuse and my 1st marriage are difficult, its not something I allowed myself to do. That mode of thinking I wasn’t supposed to cry and I was just supposed to be silent about my pain was very unhealthy for me. It hurt me more to try to do what society said I was supposed to do. I listen to myself more now and its really paying off.
I’ve learned that even if I am having a hard time that it will pass. My days aren’t all bad memories and when it happens I need to just sit with them and feel them. Let them integrate themselves and love myself in the process. I love myself by cooking myself great meals, listening to piano music, and not being hard on myself. These things that happened to me did happen. I have the time and opportunity now to heal myself, be kind to myself, and spend time with the people who love me for me…even the parts that I don’t like, they love them too.
It has not been easy but I’m learning what a valuable tool crying can be to help to cleanse myself and process those memories that have haunted me for years. They are starting to integrate now.
Healing is not what I thought it was. So much misinformation about what healing and forgiveness actually is or what it looks like. Kinda pisses me off really, societies lies and all the shame being thrown around when its really not needed. I am not ashamed of what happened to be and my life will continue to get better, even if some days are rough.
The mental pain caused from the abuse seems worse than the actual abuse now. The lingering effects are challenging but really, I rarely back down from any challenge. I feel things changing like my perspective and that’s the best thing out of all of this. Life is much better than it was, bad days or not, are better than bad weeks or months.
There is starting to be some backlash now(I expected it much earlier) for coming out with my experience but that’s ok. Our culture promotes suffering in silence. Feels a bit rebellious now that the negative comments are starting. I’m sure like before, they will continue and are just part of the internet experience. I invited them to go for it in a comment on my last video diary.
Fear keeps people for standing up for themselves, for what’s right, and from sharing their pain with others. I have been through and survived way worse treatment than a few abuse words on a computer screen. The important people in my life are drowning out and hateful talk that many times, doesn’t make any sense. Anger tend to not make sense but the source of it is pain.
Because I know that anger is a result of fear or pain, I feel a sense of compassion for the people who are now up in arms about my vids. Its ok, it doesn’t want to make me stop helping myself with my video diaries. In fact, it strengthens my resolve to continue.
I’m not surprised that things were twisted. They concentrated on deflecting from the fact that I am an abuse survivor going through a rough time to focus on the fact that I have a wishlist. Yes, I’ve had it for years and I have a lot of fun with it as well as my viewers since I open the gifts on cam. I put the links on all the videos but they want to focus on that as if it somehow discredits me. It doesn’t.
I’ve encountered negativity to most everything I have every done or talked about doing. Since I am in the adult industry, I have received tons of hateful comments and hatemail. Its nothing new and its like a repeat of the things said when I was in my mid twenties and more into the mainstream adult videos I was being hired to do.
The survivors and others struggling with similar circumstances with me have been so uplifting. I have received tons of emails and messages thanking me for sharing this with others and they’ve said its helping them. I didn’t expect that and it is really driving me to continue on and share even more. Those are the important people. They helped me not feel alone with my pain and in sharing it, there is healing there. Its amazing and my heart soars with those emotions that are overshadowing any attempt to get me upset or shame me.
Thank you for the compliments, emails, and messages sharing your experiences with me and your words of encouragement. They mean a lot to me and I hope I can offer that back in some way.
This is a video diary for January 21st, 2015. It wasn’t posted until now because I was having such a hard time that I couldn’t re-watch the video diaries for editing and writing descriptions until today.I am still recording lots of videos as well as video diaries every day. I am feeling better but the next few vlog posts will definitely be hard to watch. I’m working through some really awful memories. They are so awful that I’m having a hard time voicing them. I’m still not sure if I want to share them.
A big part of my wants to protect others from my pain, from the inconvenience of it, and this feeling goes back to my early childhood of enduring repeated horrific abuse to “protect” and “save” my family. This is extended now “need to protect” and “fear of losing people” has extended toward my friends and even strangers. This is something used by many abusers to keep their victims quiet. I’m afraid if I talk about the abuse I will lose people in my life. I’m afraid that if they are not happy with me and I am not happy, they will disappear. This way of thinking was really drilled home from a few abusive relationships in my adulthood.
I feel like I need to warn others about me because its not all fucking glitter and rainbows so maybe I won’t be punished later for disappointing them if maybe they know in advance. Maybe I can lower their expectations enough to accept me. The act of talking about my abuse actually feels rebellious and like I may in some way have to pay for it later with some sort of abuse. These are not rational thoughts but they do make sense as to why I feel these things. how else would I feel given my history. I am really trying to relearn in order to find some more peace in my life. I don’t know if other survivors of child abuse feel this way but the mix of fear and relief at the same time is pretty confusing
Finding more peace in my life means to cut down on stress, no rat race, and to allow new people in my life at my own pace. I am trying to accept myself as my family has accepted me and told me a lot over the past few months. They have totally stepped up and are right there for me. They always do this but I need to just ask for some help, or an ear to listen. I am not a religious person but there is no other way to describe the feeling when I think of them other than I am blessed.
I am also blessed by your kindness and support. Please know that I see everything you send to me, your compliments, comments, and suggestions. I am trying to catch up on emails and comments on social media but sometimes social media such an unhappy place that I tend to avoid it. The more I have been not online and involved in social media, the happier I am. Less input at this stage of my healing is best for me. I’m not ignoring you at all. I see you, and your kindness. Thank you for showing me this side of yourself after I showed you my side of myself that is in pain. It means so much to me and I have happy tears in my eyes as I’m typing this.
Some days are still really difficult and the emotions you are seeing are raw. I tend to express myself with language that may be scary or perceived as intent. I am just talking, processing through emotions, and expressing myself. I felt like I wanted to end my life in August but that is not what I want now. If I get those thoughts and they stick around, I will definitely be calling a friend, family member, or my therapist. Sometimes, it may seem like the best thing to do is try and swoop in and help but you are all already doing that. You are doing the best thing. You are listening, you are supportive. I couldn’t ask for more. 🙂
This is my abuse survivor vlog for January 20th, 2015. I was feeling pain and sadness and today its sadness and anger. I’m angry at the injustice and that people get away with abusing others. I’m angry that out society seems to foster these abusive behaviors and encourage victim blaming. This is a step forward for me and the anger helps me process. It may not seem like a step in the right direction to be angry but it helps me to accept things that have happened. There is a cycle of grief that I experiences. Pain, sadness, anger, growth(integrating the feelings and thoughts into myself.
I slept horribly last night and my dreams were of time spent with abusive people. People that told me to trust them and then they started to lie and manipulate as soon as they received an inch, they look a mile. I spent my night with assholes. That was very unpleasant. Today my thoughts tun to vengeance and I have some interesting conversations with myself as 1 side is absolutely certain that causing those people pain would somehow improve my life. It won’t, I know better. So the other side tries to explain this to the vengeful side and they go back and forth. In the end my willpower wins out and no one is hurt, no one is looked up online, and I move onto other things until the vengeful side renews the argument once again. They aren’t worth my time, I am. So I do things for me, for my wounded side that is angry and gnashing its teeth and foaming at the mouth a little.
Instead of giving into the side of myself that can become abusive, I choose to be strong instead. I love myself and treat myself like a wounded animal. I’m cautious and loving. I am not afraid of this side of me but I treat it with respect so that it does not bite me. At any point I could turn the wrath onto myself. This part of me needs love in order to be able to feel safe again and rest. The conflict inside can be exhausting and confusing but as long as I keep being understanding and let myself be whatever it is I feel like being(aside from the all out unacceptable behavior that I am better than), I will get through this part of this cycle.
I’m planning on doing some more informational type blog posts and videos. Yes, there is a tone of websites that state effects of child abuse and statistics but sometimes when I read something, I don’t always connect with the author. Sometimes things need to be a certain way for me to grasp the content of the information better. I think this may also be the case with others. There are many ways to learn and many ways to talk about the information. Some of those posts can be a little dry but in my typical weirdo fashion, I will add my own input, opinions, and how I see what I’ve learned. I will still be doing the daily vlogs as well as the informational post. Information is awesome, awareness is awesome, ignorance is not bliss and no excuse. The world needs this information and the more people that share it and talk about it the better.
Breathing helps me a lot with my PTSD due to childhood sexual abuse and partner rape. I feel more grounded and the increased oxygen seems to help too. I’m having a really rough time in the video diary. I was doing great but today I feel nervous and anxious. Flashbacks are really getting to me and you can even see this happen in the video. I stop breathing, close my eyes or look off into no where(they call it the thousand yard stare, sometimes). This video is being filmed at the height of my anxiety and the worst part of my day.
After I filmed this video I did feel better and was exhausted. I still had a rough time but it was less because I voiced what was going on. I found that it helped me to further ground myself and stay in the present. Other things that can help me to ground myself are a hot back, walking outside, putting my feet on the ground, and of course, giving Buster a hug.
I hope with letting myself feel more, allowing myself to cry, and more therapy I can make it through these days feeling better and have more and more good days instead of the heartbreaking days like today. I joined Pandys.org today and I’m just waiting for approval of my account. I think being in touch with more survivors like myself will be a great help to me.
Video blog from me, Sarah, an abuse survivor and its another great day today! You also get to see more of my furry family including some playtime with Buster. He has really been helpful to me when I’m having bad days. As many adult survivors of child abuse know, having a dog can be a great source of love and comfort. Check out Buster in the video above.
It was the perfect day. I believe there are many ways that they can be perfect so there isn’t just one perfect day. Yesterday was definitely one of those days. What made it so perfect? The anxiety that I’ve been feeling for the past several weeks, all of the sudden, lifted. I wasn’t worried, I was having flashbacks, and I wasn’t feeling that stress that comes along with anxiety. It’s kind of like when you have a really bad headache and then that pain finally goes away.
I also got a lot done with my blogs and websites that I’ve been working on. The advice I’ve received in the lessons from the Click Bank University course that I’m taking have been paying off and web traffic is starting to increase. I’m getting a better understanding of what I should be doing to help myself transition from my current career into a new one.
I’m starting to feel more confident in myself and my abilities. Being an abuse survivor and an adult survivor of child abuse can be tough in this regard because it made me feel like I was being treated with abuse because I was not a good person. It’s very difficult to get out of that mindset. I still have trouble sometimes but I feel like I’m really making progress in feeling like that I CAN accomplish the goals and dreams that I want to. I’ve been holding myself back for too long.
I see a lot of other people holding themselves back as well. I try to do my best to encourage others to follow their dreams and get out of their own way too. Anything is possible and if I really wanted I can make it happen. What I want for my life now is peace. Yesterday was a very peaceful day and I’m grateful.
I’ve read that sitting with being grateful every day can improve your outlook on life. I’ve been trying to do think about what I am grateful for every day and to tell others that I am grateful for them. It was a little strange to do it first but now it’s pretty natural and I think it is really given me a more positive perspective on my life.
In the video above is the result of anxiety lifting in me feeling much much better. That’s why it was a perfect day. I was in pain anymore. Other days might get hard and I might feel that pain again. Even remembering past days of pain bring tears to my eyes but I’m doing better. I’m getting better. So if you haven’t watched the goofy video already check out my crazy hair!