childhood sexual abuse

My Lessons

Life has been giving me lots of lessons at the moment. I’m stressed, confused at times and once again in a precarious living situation where someone is triggering me around abuse. Using their power relationship to make demands on me and not respecting me when I say no. I was triggered badly into panic for about 2 weeks, where I couldn’t face going home to my houseshare (I share with the owner of the house). I recognised at that time it wasn’t really her that was the issue, it was that I was being triggered. None the less it was a difficult time. I managed to come out of this, with thankfully some help from a specialist.

I’d turned to my counsellor to ask for help with PTSD, and in the end had to change counsellors as she wasn’t helping me come out of feeling triggered. She was in fact encouraging me to cycle in negative thoughts by reinforcing my thinking on how bad the situation was rather than helping me see ways to cope. So then I went to my doctors to ask for help, which also was competely unfruitful – with a what do you want me to do response. I was distraught, everytime I went home I felt hyperaroused, emotionally stuck in panic and vulnerability.

I explored EMDR and other options, the doctor offered me drugs. These didn’t feel like options to me. EMDR needs a recalling of the trauma (I think) and I can’t so I don’t know how that would work. And for me I felt like drugs to help with the anxiety would treat the symptom but not the cause. I also checked lots of resources on what to do, how to manage flashbacks and so on.

Thankfully where I get my counselling support from, a local charity, they offer complementary therapies. The cranio sacral therapist there helped me to establish a plan for everyday to try and bring my anxiety and trauma responses down. This has been going on for several months now, and although I feel a bit better I’m now really stressed about wanting to move, but feeling trapped as there are few houses available that I can afford.

I’m trying to stay grounded, and incorporate things that help me stay present into the day. The advice from her was:

  • To change my meditation practice, which was eyes shut vipassana to eyes open guided meditation
  • To establish a grounding pleasant morning plan so for example – meditation, then read for a while, or go for a short run, yoga, slow relaxed cup of tea. To try and have three of these. Previously I would wake up, then thoughts would spin for a few hours before I meditated and got up. I also would start work straight after meditation. I’m now trying to also rectify this by not checking emails in the morning until I start work.
  • If I start to feel trapped at home, to go out. Find a place where I feel calm and safe. Change my environment.
  • She gave me a havening CD which is a routine to calm the nervous system. I need to transfer this onto a format I can listen to as I don’t have a CD player. I’m sure there are these types of thing online too.
  • We talked about orientation in the here and now – sight, smell, touch and so on. Bring it back down to now.
  • Establishing how I self-sooth. Is it music, a hot bath, curling up under some blankets etc. Knowing what these are and calling on them when I need to.
  • Establishing a bedtime routine, for example reading before bed no blue screens. Or doing something else relaxing.
  • Also establishing a day to day routine of self care and these elements. Which is currently very difficult as I have few nights at home. I can wake up and meditate though. I can walk if I can’t do sports. I can know where I’ll be that day and incorporate relaxation and time for myself.

It’s about rest and relaxation which is difficult for me as I feel trapped at home, but I’m trying. It keeps creeping back in that to reassure myself I check my calendar to work out how many nights I’m home. Check property sites and try to think up options. Check money. All of these things are to feel in control. Again these things are fine but actually I can verge on OCD when I get triggered, so I think its focusing on self-soothing rather than control. Interestingly loads of other lessons have come up at the same time.

These are:

  • A friend is into astrology and read my charts. She said a lot of my signs are in conflict. On the outside I can seem certain and reasonable but inside is inner turmoil where I lack confidence in my own decisions. That I can in the way I see all ways round a situation create unnecessary obstacles and things to think about.
  • This came up in counselling, and I’ve been talking to my partner about this. I think I need to have more certainty in my decisions based on what I know i.e. I know that I can’t be around judgmental people that make me feel vulnerable all the time (i.e. at home) *even though I know I need to reduce the impact these people have on me
  • I’ve had major issues in my relationship with my boyfriend this week, realising that because he doesn’t have healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress and problems he carries that in our relationships, so I have to resolve issues and  keep perspective, which is unfair all the time. I need this to be more balanced. It is something I’ve been aware of but now I know it clearly.
  • Interestingly another friend said to me: why when you know what’s going to happen do you expect something different…. which wasn’t in relation to my relationship but really struck home. I always hope for something to be different, this was a reality in my abuse. I always hoped it wasn’t going to happen again, but it did. But each time I would try and convince myself that it wouldn’t.
  • I also carry responsibility for resolving issues, in relationships, in this house drama. I need to recognise that it rests on 2 people.
  • I got a massage and got my cards read, it said “breathe, everything you need to heal is inside you”, another was around positive change is coming and that affairs will sort themselves out, and a final one around every person has something to teach us.
  • All things  I tried to do for 2 weeks wouldn’t resolve, I couldn’t move forwards on them. Everything was pointing me in the direction of flexibility and patience. Not rushing to find solutions. This has worked, I have found a house. I am resolving things with my partner, and things are changing

There were also a few other things that went on, and finally I feel like I’m out of the hole. I have had periods of feeling suicidal in this, when things go too much with my partner. When coming home was so difficult for me that such anxiety would build I could feel tension all over my body. I’m trying to ground again, in the midst of relationship issues, a full on role in the election campaign, juggling aspects of my PhD and moving house. I will get there. Positive change is coming. I am a good person, I’m open to change and introspection. I will have more confidence in myself and my decisions. The next few weeks will be hard, but I will get through. I’m going to try and ground myself as many times as I can throughout the day. Using orientation, movement and grounding. My fuzzy head will recover. I can cope.

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