In 2014, when I started really taking my healing seriously, I was having a very difficult time coping with my CPTSD due to child abuse and domestic violence. Although these things were in my past, they were still at the forefront of my mind. I was a mess with anxiety attacks, nightmares, and generally was tired of existing in all of the pain I was experiencing. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve found any lasting peace.
I’ve created plans, routines, exercises, followed them, and carried out the treatment plans until completion. I’ve expressed myself, wrote guides for myself, wrote books, wrote this blog, drew, painted, sculpted, ranted on video and social media, found community online, and made video diaries talking about my experiences. From all of those things that have helped me along the way, the main thing that stands out to me is that the results from anything I do are incremental. A fast change would be too overwhelming for me anyway. I am working on accepting that things take practice and change is gradual when it comes to processing trauma. Too much, too soon would be destabilizing meaning I would want to die again.
My daily practices revolve around supporting myself the best way I can to cope with my cptsd symptoms and care for myself. Here is what I am currently doing to help myself get through each day.
I have been having nightmares again lately so I’m doing a grounding exercises as soon as I wake up. Sometimes I still feel like a child or the age I was when my ex husband was hurting me. The pain can seem really fresh and light it is still happening. The method I use is a progressive age grounding.
“Yes, that did happen. I was hurt. I am safe now. The year is 2021. I am 41 years old. I live in New York state.” If I am still laying in bed then I get up and open the curtains, look at the trees, do some stretches, and then I do my morning meditation practice until it’s time to feed my doggos.
My morning meditation is being in the present moment and being very mindful of my thoughts without judgment. I see them there and look but I’m not as intensely connected to the pain as I was before. It is not like dissociation because I am very aware of the feelings and thoughts. Somewhere along the line of my practice, it became easier to focus on my breath again and the thoughts and feelings moved past me. More thoughts and feelings arise and I notice them too, and they pass as I continue to breathe and focus on being present. It’s difficult to really describe but I can help myself slow down and there is less anxiety. The change has been gradual over the past few years but the more I practice, the better I get at being mindful. This in turn helps me make better choices for myself.
It still gets very painful but it’s way less scary now dealing with the flashbacks and other symptoms that would overwhelm my life in the past. I feel like I am somewhere in the middle now instead of the beginning. The middle is like steeping out into the light again after so long in the dark away from everything. I look forward to seeing where I am in a couple years with more practice being compassionate to myself.