Abuse Survivor Blog » Blog Archives

Tag Archives: ptsd toolbox

Abuse Survivors Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Insomnia My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse ptsd Uncategorized

Self Care Sleep Routine – PTSD Toolbox

Published by:

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!

Abuse Survivors Adult Survivors of Child Abuse My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse ptsd

Healing from PTSD Toolbox pt2

Published by:

ptsd toolbox pt2

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.

 

 

 

Abuse Survivors Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Overcoming Sexual Abuse

The Healing From PTSD Toolbox pt1

Published by:

PTSD Toolbox pt1

In the past few years I’ve dedicated my life to healing from PTSD.  I’m doing my best to survive through the healing process. I’ve learned a TON in this time and have built my own “toolbox” for helping myself through this tedious, frustrating, depressing process. I can feel a little part of myself that is healed. Now I want MORE because this little part of me that is healed and it is fucking beautiful. Loving myself and the love of others plus the hard work I’ve done has healed that little part….and it took years.

Below are some of the things in my arsenal/toolbox(sometimes resources are limited and I only have a belt!)

Breathe- Sometimes the simplest things can bring me relief. You know that thing you do when you are on fire, Right? Stop, drop, and roll. My breathing rule is: Breathe, accept, self-care. When I’m anxious, my frontal lobe goes offline and it is more difficult to remember how to take care of myself. Controlling my breathing is my starting point to combating panic attacks, being calmer, and helps me to walk back an anxiety attack. I build off the act of taking care of myself with slower breathing.

Self-care- Love myself has been one of the most difficult things for me to learn. I still struggle with it. I re-learn a lot of things as different phases of healing come over me. I get cranky about the woo-woo stuff but dammit, sometimes the woo-woo works. I could write for literally hours about self-care and I plan too with a book I’m currently writing about healing from PTSD. Self-care can be simple too, like doing things for yourself that you like but it is bigger than that for me. Many times I have to disassociate a bit to think of my body like an animal that needs proper nutrition, exercise, and care. Self-care is vital to my survival. Examples of self-care are meditation, long baths, and stress management activities.

Music- I have a weird relationship with music. I love music but it can also trigger me. I used to tend to avoid it since it triggered emotions I wasn’t ready to deal with. It has also helped to heal me by bringing on those emotions.  Lately, I have been listening to a lot more music instead of being on social media or watching TV. This has greatly improved my mood as well as my productivity throughout the day.

Family/Friends- The support from my family and friends make healing so much more tolerable. Having someone in my corner reminds me to be in my own damn corner too. They are shining examples of how to be there for someone else. My circle is small but that’s really all I can manage right now. It is difficult for me to give a lot right now but they understand that and still love me anyway.

Routines/Checklists- I have notes and checklists to remind me to do things like eat. This is especially useful on days where my anxiety is less manageable. I also have a lot of memory issues due to PTSD so the lists help keep me on track so I don’t forget. There have been days where I can’t help myself from dissociating away from the pain. On those days, it helps to have reminders on what to do next while getting through my brain trying to process the latest bit of uncovered hell. The 7 hells! (ok, I’m getting carried away,lol) I also use reminder on my phone to help if I forget to look at the damn list. My bedtime routine is designed to set myself up for a successful night’s sleep.

Therapy- Therapy is a great tool to help guide you if you are having trouble. It is also comforting to speak to someone. I’m a talking and verbalizing my feeling and memories helps me to process them. A good therapist can help add to the toolbox of useful things to help cope with the symptoms of PTSD. There are many thing I still do not talk about with anyone but a therapist and myself.

Entertainment- With all the tools, entertainment can be an escape, if only for a short time. Many people love to bash entertainers but I love them. They are the givers of welcome distraction. Without them, billions would be more depressed. Since I wasn’t allowed to cry, I laugh more. Laughing does similar things to the brain as crying. Entertainment is how many relief stress. I have created entertainment that has helped to relief my stress too. It works in all kinds of wonderful ways.

There is more! Wow, I just realized that I have a pretty extensive toolbox of things to help me. Since this blog post is such a long one already, I’ll save some more tools for another post. If you want to share what has helped you to heal, please do!