It turns out that no one is coming to save you but you. In order to help yourself you will needs lot of things to help you on your healing journey. There are tons of resources, treatments, medications, ect out there and you really have to just find what works best for you. Below is what I have found that helps me so far. I had many of these skills but there were not as developed as they are now. Don’t be afraid to change things if they aren’t working because there will be many times when things you thought you had figured out either stop working or stop working as well. This is a sign of change and forward movement in yourself.
Below is a list of some of the things I am working on Healing for me is not about a certain treatment program, therapy, or medication. I have to hit it from all sides and deploy as much as I can to help myself through the pain. This is no one miracle thing. It’s a daily practice of caring about myself and walking the path to helping myself not suffer so much. It’s not all about self soothing though, change is difficult.
Healing is terrifying to the core. Change is difficult, cumbersome, and it feels like I have no idea what I am doing most of the time. In order to practice bravery, acknowledge that yes, this is scary AND I am going to do it anyway. Do not stop at being scared. Move. It as scary and what are you going to do now? Take a deep breath and take a step forward. Then do it again. I lean into the fear and have a conversation with those feelings. More on that later….
You cannot change what you do not see. This takes practice being present with yourself. Many times it sucks, especially when you are struggling. Self awareness that I am a person that is suffering and being able to see myself in this way has helped me to have more compassion. I’m able to track things and and notice when I need some extra help. My autopilot is rooted in abuse cycles so I practice a lot of grounding in the present moment.
Most of what I know comes from many hours spent reading books. I also had the benefit of a day program where they taught me about DBT skills. This has been very valuable and it continues to help me every day. I now have the knowledge of experience that comes with actively healing for 7 years full time. This take as long as they take and that includes learning new skills. Be patient with yourself. There is always more to learn along the journey but you don’t have to learn it all at once. Overwhelm is a real thing!
There will be times when you want to give up. Maybe you relapse. It can feel like all the progress is lost when things get difficult but this is not the case. You will need your willpower to keep going. You will also need it to form new habits and change away from the old habits and patterns. It’s easier to do what you have always done but if you want more, you have to grow. Example is putting myself 1st. It’s difficult and can be painful due to some old abusive messages I latched onto. The difficult thing is to keep talking to myself through the pain and help myself to somewhere else.
My self talk was complete garbage for decades. Over the past few years I have been able to use my self awareness to step back and see what I was doing to myself. The inner critic is still there but now there is a counselor that also speaks. This part is like a therapist in my head and provides a lot of self compassion. I’m not sure how to explain how I created this part but I slowed down and just made myself practice writing out responses back and forth from the troll to the counselor. It was very difficult at 1st and I wasn’t able to get very far. Now I can talk to myself about a lot of different things to help get through pain, a scary situation, confusion, to ground myself. This inner voice is calm and has access to helpful info now even when I am having moderate anxiety or the start of a panic attack.
I know EWWWWWWWWWWW! Not people! Yes, we need other people to survive. No one is an actual lone wolf. We are hairless apelike creatures with big brains and a lot of anxiety about life. Wolves need a pack too. As annoying as other humans are it’s worth finding “your people” that are worth being around. This also means supporting yourself. If you tear yourself down and tell yourself you can’t, then you probably won’t.
Sometimes you have to say FUCK IT, this isn’t working and change things. I have to say fuck it about relationships that are harming me and detach. I have to say fuck it about abusive talk and treatment. This one can be difficult because it is not easy for me to detach. Detachment is less time focusing, less time spent, and lots of distraction. Detaching could be detaching from the idea that I have to be a certain way for people to like me. Fuck it, fuck that, and fuck them too.
I was angry with myself for not being able to cope without medication. I wouldn’t shame anyone else about their medication or needing it though. Again, old programing I am working on altering if not changing completely. Messages of shame can stay with me a long time.
There is probably a lot more but that’s all I can think of for now. For now, I wake up, show up, do my best. Repeat.