September162014
“…. When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” Ram Dass, Self Judgement  (via fuckyeahyoga)

(via thoughtsandwhatnots-js)

September92014
tattooablequotes:

Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.

tattooablequotes:

Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.

(Source: pinterest.com, via dontrape)

5PM
selfcareafterrape:

[Image Description: ‘Talking about Trauma (to others)’ ]
Before Hand:
Telling others about our traumas can be scary. In this post we talked about different ways to talk about trauma but not about how to talk to others about it. Make sure you take some time to amp yourself for telling them, and also to prepare for what happens if things go wrong. There is always a chance that someone will say something victim blaming or be invalidating- and it’s extremely important that you know how you’ll respond and how you’ll take care of yourself after wards if that’s the case. Consider writing down the possible bad responses on a piece of paper/in a document- and writing out what you’ll say in turn. Or if you have a close friend who already knows- see if they’re willing to role play with you both good and negative outcomes.
When considering coming out about what happened- there are a few things you want to look at.
The Who:
Who do you want to tell? 
Your parents? Your teachers? Your boss? Friends? Other family? A mentor? A therapist? A doctor?
Talking to each of these people is a slightly different experience.  Even if you do decide to talk to everyone about it- you might approach them in different ways and tell them different details. That’s okay.
The How:
How are you going to tell them?
In an email? In a text message? By bringing them to an event where you speak? In a one on one conversation? In a small group? In a note/letter?
Different ways have different pro’s and con’s.  For instance telling in an email/text message/letter means you don’t have to be there when they read this. This can feel very impersonal to the person receiving the information- but your first concern should be you. If you leave it like that- you can also leave other materials that might help them understand how to help you better/that you want them to understand before they speak to you. This can held stunt some of the impulsive ‘but how do you know/what were you wearing’ and other such comments that people seem so fond of making.
The When:
Sometimes what happened just comes stumbling out but it’s usually better to have some sort of plan. The when can be very important when it comes to the responses that you receive from whoever you’re telling.
In general it’s better to not tell someone if you’re in the middle of a fight or if you know that they’re extremely stressed out. Sometimes there is no other option- and that’s okay, but in general.. neutral times are best to talk about this.
Also, privacy is a thing you might want to account for. Somewhere where you don’t have to worry about other’s overhearing and also that it’s quiet enough that the person you’re communicating with will hear you.
The What:
What do you want to tell them? How much detail do you want to go into? Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. You are allowed to say ‘I am telling you this much but I don’t feel comfortable answering questions about it’ or clearly outlining what you are willing to talk about. What you tell is up to you. Be firm if they try to cross the boundary ‘Look, I don’t want to tell you that. This is hard for me as is and you are being disrespectful by pressing the matter’.
Decide before hand what you need them to know. Do they need to know details? Do they need to know that this is why you’re doing xyz? 
The Why:
What do you hope to gain by telling them?
For a doctor- it might be that you’re asking them to be slow with you and understand that you’ve been through trauma.
For a friend- you may be telling them because you need someone to tell- or you might be doing it because you need a change in their behavior.
If so, consider having resources already on hand that you can show them that will help them work with you to make the relationship a healthier place for the both of you. Consider looking through the fos tag or finding articles/blog posts for other individuals.
After the fact:
Take time to reflect and participate in some self-care. Even if everything went amazing, chances are you’re feeling a little drained. Take the time to congratulate yourself for having the courage to speak out- even if it didn’t go the best. By taking time to take care of ourselves afterwards- we increase the chances that we’ll be willing to do it again in the future.
Take care of yourselves today, okay?

selfcareafterrape:

[Image Description: ‘Talking about Trauma (to others)’ ]

Before Hand:

Telling others about our traumas can be scary. In this post we talked about different ways to talk about trauma but not about how to talk to others about it. Make sure you take some time to amp yourself for telling them, and also to prepare for what happens if things go wrong. There is always a chance that someone will say something victim blaming or be invalidating- and it’s extremely important that you know how you’ll respond and how you’ll take care of yourself after wards if that’s the case. Consider writing down the possible bad responses on a piece of paper/in a document- and writing out what you’ll say in turn. Or if you have a close friend who already knows- see if they’re willing to role play with you both good and negative outcomes.

When considering coming out about what happened- there are a few things you want to look at.

The Who:

Who do you want to tell? 

Your parents? Your teachers? Your boss? Friends? Other family? A mentor? A therapist? A doctor?

Talking to each of these people is a slightly different experience.  Even if you do decide to talk to everyone about it- you might approach them in different ways and tell them different details. That’s okay.

The How:

How are you going to tell them?

In an email? In a text message? By bringing them to an event where you speak? In a one on one conversation? In a small group? In a note/letter?

Different ways have different pro’s and con’s.  For instance telling in an email/text message/letter means you don’t have to be there when they read this. This can feel very impersonal to the person receiving the information- but your first concern should be you. If you leave it like that- you can also leave other materials that might help them understand how to help you better/that you want them to understand before they speak to you. This can held stunt some of the impulsive ‘but how do you know/what were you wearing’ and other such comments that people seem so fond of making.

The When:

Sometimes what happened just comes stumbling out but it’s usually better to have some sort of plan. The when can be very important when it comes to the responses that you receive from whoever you’re telling.

In general it’s better to not tell someone if you’re in the middle of a fight or if you know that they’re extremely stressed out. Sometimes there is no other option- and that’s okay, but in general.. neutral times are best to talk about this.

Also, privacy is a thing you might want to account for. Somewhere where you don’t have to worry about other’s overhearing and also that it’s quiet enough that the person you’re communicating with will hear you.

The What:

What do you want to tell them? How much detail do you want to go into? Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. You are allowed to say ‘I am telling you this much but I don’t feel comfortable answering questions about it’ or clearly outlining what you are willing to talk about. What you tell is up to you. Be firm if they try to cross the boundary ‘Look, I don’t want to tell you that. This is hard for me as is and you are being disrespectful by pressing the matter’.

Decide before hand what you need them to know. Do they need to know details? Do they need to know that this is why you’re doing xyz? 

The Why:

What do you hope to gain by telling them?

For a doctor- it might be that you’re asking them to be slow with you and understand that you’ve been through trauma.

For a friend- you may be telling them because you need someone to tell- or you might be doing it because you need a change in their behavior.

If so, consider having resources already on hand that you can show them that will help them work with you to make the relationship a healthier place for the both of you. Consider looking through the fos tag or finding articles/blog posts for other individuals.

After the fact:

Take time to reflect and participate in some self-care. Even if everything went amazing, chances are you’re feeling a little drained. Take the time to congratulate yourself for having the courage to speak out- even if it didn’t go the best. By taking time to take care of ourselves afterwards- we increase the chances that we’ll be willing to do it again in the future.

Take care of yourselves today, okay?

(via selfcareafterrape)

September52014
“I am happy when I eat fresh fruit, when I burst out laughing, when I discover a new song, when I finish a good book, when I wake up and feel relaxed. I’m glad to have friends, family, a home, food when I’m hungry, hot water when I shower. I love being able to live and see the seasons change, to have gifts at Christmas and at my birthday, to travel sometimes, to have a good education and a great access to culture. I’m flattered when people compliment me, when peole smile at me, when people are polite to me. There are so many things that make life so simple and easy and I will always think about them more than all the bad things that will happen to me. I do not have time to be sad every day and ungrateful; I have every reason in the world to be happy.” A few reasons why I’ll always prefer living by elsablt  (via solacity)

(via recovery-reality-revitalize)

8PM
8PM

lucysweatslove:

Making an “Alternatives” Jar


For anybody with issues with binge eating, purging, and/or self-harm (or any other type of urge), an “alternatives” jar is a good project! It is a jar filled with popsicle sticks that have things written on them that you can do when your urge hits, as an alternative to the urge.

You need:

  1. A glass jar (I used a small 8 oz old jar that I had left from a jar of jam- you can get these for $1 in some places with the jam)
  2. Popsicle sticks (I used 70 regular-sized ones from a pack of 1,000 craft sticks that I bought for $5)
  3. Markers (I used Bic Mark-It Permanent Markers, but any other marker should work, even dollar-store markers)
  4. Paints, as many colors as you want (I used Apple Barrel brand acrylic paints, which run for $0.50-$0.57 per 2 oz container at Wal Mart). 
  5. Paint brushes to use for the paints (I used Plaid brand sponge brushes, which I got for $1 for 4, and a pack of 24 different brushes which were $5 each)
  6. Ribbons and washi (decorative/paper) tape ($0.50-$3.50 per roll, however you want)

Items 4-6 are optional! You can use as much or as little paint as you want. You should only need one bottle if you are doing one color; however, you may want more!

Instructions:

  1. Gather your materials :) (not too hard!)
  2. Decide how many sticks your jar will hold. Mine held 70 craft sticks; some can hold more!
  3. Decide how many colors you want to use, and if you want the colors to mean anything.
  4. Paint the craft sticks!! Do this on a surface easily cleaned, thrown away, or that you don’t mind getting messy! I used a lid from a plastic tote. You can either put the paints on a palette (if you have one), or dab it onto the sponge brushes and then paint.
  5. Let your painted sticks dry.
  6. While you are letting them dry, you can decorate your jar. Some permanent markers work on glass; others don’t. You can try them though! Acrylic paints don’t always work on glass, also. I used washi tape and ribbons, using a hot glue gun to attach the ribbons to the jar. The tape and ribbons can be removed from the jar if I so choose (so that way I can re-use the jar or re-decorate if I want to)
  7. Once the sticks dry, write on them!!

Ideas for how to use color:

You can see that I used 7 colors, each with 10 sticks. Colors can be used to denote:

  1. Type of urge (especially useful if you have multiple types)
  2. Type of emotion behind the urge or activity (feeling sad, guilty, angry, lonely, wanting sensation, etc)
  3. Amount of time the activity takes (5 min, 10 min, 15 min, 30 min, 1 hr, over 1 hr)
  4. Amount of money you’d have to invest (ie, totally free things, things you can spend $1 on, things you’d have to spend $5 on, etc)

How to use:

  1. When your urge hits, pick a color or colors to represent what you need. For example: red for me are things to get anger out, so if I’m wanting to purge because I am angry, I will choose the red sticks.
  2. Pick one stick of that color. Do that activity, and put the stick to the side. If, after you’re done with the activity, the urge is still there, pick another stick.
  3. Keep choosing sticks until the urge is gone (or you have other things you have to do)
  4. If the urge hasn’t gone away, but you are done with your sticks: choose another color and keep going.

Ideas for what to write on your sticks

  1. 101 things to do besides binge
  2. More binge alternatives
  3. Alternatives to binge eating/purging
  4. Alternatives to self-harm
  5. More alternatives to self-harm

Idea based off of: Coping Bank and Binge Jar

(via theroadtorecoveryy)

September22014
August312014
8PM
selfcareafterrape:

I get a lot of questions about the two sides of the feelings coin.
Either ‘I don’t feel anything, how do I go about doing this again.’ or ‘I FEEL EVERYTHING SO MUCH HOW DO I MAKE IT STOP’.
Both of them are a question about learning how to feel again- usually in appropriate amounts. And the advice is pretty much the same for either side of the coin.
1. Check in with yourself regularly.
Right now, how do you feel? Are you tired? Are you hungry? Are you in pain? All of these things could contribute to how we feel emotionally.  Some people, especially survivors of childhood abuse, have learned to turn off their emotions when they are in physical pain. They learned to ‘turn off’ physical needs because it wasn’t safe to need them and because they learned early on that they would be denied if they did speak out.
Checking in and recognizing both our physical needs and how we feel allows us to address these things early on before they either get locked down and tucked away- or bubble out in a way you’d prefer they not.
If you aren’t used to checking in with yourself, make it a habit and decide on what should trigger it. Do you want to check in with yourself every time your phone buzzes? Every time you fiddle with that necklace you wear? You enter a new room? It may feel odd to consciously check into your emotions all the time- but it will enable you to start doing it subconsciously.
2. Increase your emotional vocab.
A common problem is that people don’t know what to call what they feel and that makes it easier to feel out of control.
Experiment. Find what works for you.
Some people use code words to deal with their feelings. I talked before about a friendship in which ‘Turtles’ was a word that kind of represented bad feelings. This was nice in terms of talking about emotions- because as a survivor of childhood not goodness… I still struggle with connecting to my emotions sometimes. Being able to say ‘The turtles are acting up’ instead of ‘I am feeling triggered/agitated/angry’ allowed me to acknowledge the feelings but also give me a safe distance.
Others make up new words. Which is kind of like codewords- but the word doesn’t exist in the first place. Consider people saying that they feel ‘Hangry’, a mixture of hungry and angry. Or I used to say I was ‘Fucktional’ which meant I wasn’t doing well but I could handle what was going on. Smash together words, take things out- do whatever works for you.
Or there are things like this chart, which gives a lot of different emotion words- as well as where they typically fall in intensity.
Having words to describe what we feel helps us better cope with them.
3. Visualize.
This is one that really works for visual learners. As a teen whenever I had a break down, I imagined a shattered bottle. I mentally put back together the bottle in my head, put everything back inside of it- and stoppered it up. I don’t advise stoppering up your emotions anymore, but as someone who was ricocheting between two abusive situations- it was one of the ways I survived.
Now when I’m in a place where I feel like breaking down, but it isn’t safe yet- I mentally envision putting my emotions into a box with a lock and putting them under a bed. I promise myself that I’ll come back to them later when it’s safe to do so.
I know someone who envisions her anxiety like a hurricane. Whenever she gets really anxious she allows herself to recognize the hurricane, and then envisions it slowly calming down and pass over. This enables her to calm down panic attacks before they happen.
I know someone else who imagines her anger as a fuzzy monster. She has a policy that she is allowed to be angry and that anger can be productive- but that she needs to be aware that a lot of people are afraid of anger, and sometimes rightfully so. She uses her imagery to remind herself of that- and to remind her to keep it on a leash and never take it out on innocent bystanders.
An older woman I once talked to told me that happiness and contentness grow in gardens. That happiness is bright flowers and contentness is sprawling vines. Both are beautiful, but contentness a little easier to grow and tends to stick around longer. They require work to keep around, but sometimes, even with no effort at all, they will pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes people get annoyed when all they have is greens and their flowers don’t grow, but it’s important to recognize that the greens are good too and that seasons come and go and that the flowers will come back with a bit of hard work and a bit of good luck.
4. Create plans of action.
What will you do when you’re sad?
What will you do when you’re angry?
What is a good way to celebrate being happy?
What will you do when you’re scared?
Taking time to problem solve and know what will happen, can make it easier to manage emotions in the future. Instead of blocking them out, honor that they are there and respond in turn. If you’re scared, there probably is a reason- even if it is only ‘it reminds me of the part’. Remind yourself that you aren’t in the past, and take a second to consciously go over why you’re safe now. When you’re angry, find constructive ways to deal with that. Make art. Talk it out.  Find something to do to get rid of the excess energy.
5. Give yourself time to feel things.
When I was first learning to cry, the only time I cried was at poetry readings. I could feel sadness and I could cry over other people’s pain, but not so much my own. Doing things like attending open mics, or watching movies that make you cry, is often a first step for those who have spent time ignoring their emotions.
For those struggling to get angry at those that hurt them, find it gets a little bit easier when they connect with others and get angry at someone else’s situation first.
Make a specified time where you can feel things. It may be daily or weekly or monthly. It could just be fifteen minutes a day or going to an event each month or a few hours on the weekend. Find something that works for you.
Allow yourself time to get angry. To get sad. To cry. To hurt. To feel.
and yes, often times in the beginning, it’s a lot of negative emotions. But we’ve been bottling this negative emotions up for years. They need to be released. Once they’ve been dealt with, or at the least, the brain recognizes that you’ll take time to deal with them regularly, it becomes a lot safer and easier for the more positive emotions to come up.
Respect your emotions because they are a part of you. And you, you are wonderful. You don’t need to be fixed, you just need some more tools so that you can show off a better version of yourself and so that you can spend more time feeling good about who you are.
6. Take time to self-soothe after letting off excess bad emotions.
Some people feel better right after they cry or make art or talk about what happened.
For a lot of us though, it releases the pressure but we still feel shaky. And sometimes we use this as a reason not to deal with emotions in the future. It’s important to set time aside to feel, but it’s also important to take care of ourselves afterward. Especially in the beginning.

selfcareafterrape:

I get a lot of questions about the two sides of the feelings coin.

Either ‘I don’t feel anything, how do I go about doing this again.’ or ‘I FEEL EVERYTHING SO MUCH HOW DO I MAKE IT STOP’.

Both of them are a question about learning how to feel again- usually in appropriate amounts. And the advice is pretty much the same for either side of the coin.

1. Check in with yourself regularly.

Right now, how do you feel? Are you tired? Are you hungry? Are you in pain? All of these things could contribute to how we feel emotionally.  Some people, especially survivors of childhood abuse, have learned to turn off their emotions when they are in physical pain. They learned to ‘turn off’ physical needs because it wasn’t safe to need them and because they learned early on that they would be denied if they did speak out.

Checking in and recognizing both our physical needs and how we feel allows us to address these things early on before they either get locked down and tucked away- or bubble out in a way you’d prefer they not.

If you aren’t used to checking in with yourself, make it a habit and decide on what should trigger it. Do you want to check in with yourself every time your phone buzzes? Every time you fiddle with that necklace you wear? You enter a new room? It may feel odd to consciously check into your emotions all the time- but it will enable you to start doing it subconsciously.

2. Increase your emotional vocab.

A common problem is that people don’t know what to call what they feel and that makes it easier to feel out of control.

Experiment. Find what works for you.

Some people use code words to deal with their feelings. I talked before about a friendship in which ‘Turtles’ was a word that kind of represented bad feelings. This was nice in terms of talking about emotions- because as a survivor of childhood not goodness… I still struggle with connecting to my emotions sometimes. Being able to say ‘The turtles are acting up’ instead of ‘I am feeling triggered/agitated/angry’ allowed me to acknowledge the feelings but also give me a safe distance.

Others make up new words. Which is kind of like codewords- but the word doesn’t exist in the first place. Consider people saying that they feel ‘Hangry’, a mixture of hungry and angry. Or I used to say I was ‘Fucktional’ which meant I wasn’t doing well but I could handle what was going on. Smash together words, take things out- do whatever works for you.

Or there are things like this chart, which gives a lot of different emotion words- as well as where they typically fall in intensity.

Having words to describe what we feel helps us better cope with them.

3. Visualize.

This is one that really works for visual learners. As a teen whenever I had a break down, I imagined a shattered bottle. I mentally put back together the bottle in my head, put everything back inside of it- and stoppered it up. I don’t advise stoppering up your emotions anymore, but as someone who was ricocheting between two abusive situations- it was one of the ways I survived.

Now when I’m in a place where I feel like breaking down, but it isn’t safe yet- I mentally envision putting my emotions into a box with a lock and putting them under a bed. I promise myself that I’ll come back to them later when it’s safe to do so.

I know someone who envisions her anxiety like a hurricane. Whenever she gets really anxious she allows herself to recognize the hurricane, and then envisions it slowly calming down and pass over. This enables her to calm down panic attacks before they happen.

I know someone else who imagines her anger as a fuzzy monster. She has a policy that she is allowed to be angry and that anger can be productive- but that she needs to be aware that a lot of people are afraid of anger, and sometimes rightfully so. She uses her imagery to remind herself of that- and to remind her to keep it on a leash and never take it out on innocent bystanders.

An older woman I once talked to told me that happiness and contentness grow in gardens. That happiness is bright flowers and contentness is sprawling vines. Both are beautiful, but contentness a little easier to grow and tends to stick around longer. They require work to keep around, but sometimes, even with no effort at all, they will pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes people get annoyed when all they have is greens and their flowers don’t grow, but it’s important to recognize that the greens are good too and that seasons come and go and that the flowers will come back with a bit of hard work and a bit of good luck.

4. Create plans of action.

What will you do when you’re sad?

What will you do when you’re angry?

What is a good way to celebrate being happy?

What will you do when you’re scared?

Taking time to problem solve and know what will happen, can make it easier to manage emotions in the future. Instead of blocking them out, honor that they are there and respond in turn. If you’re scared, there probably is a reason- even if it is only ‘it reminds me of the part’. Remind yourself that you aren’t in the past, and take a second to consciously go over why you’re safe now. When you’re angry, find constructive ways to deal with that. Make art. Talk it out.  Find something to do to get rid of the excess energy.

5. Give yourself time to feel things.

When I was first learning to cry, the only time I cried was at poetry readings. I could feel sadness and I could cry over other people’s pain, but not so much my own. Doing things like attending open mics, or watching movies that make you cry, is often a first step for those who have spent time ignoring their emotions.

For those struggling to get angry at those that hurt them, find it gets a little bit easier when they connect with others and get angry at someone else’s situation first.

Make a specified time where you can feel things. It may be daily or weekly or monthly. It could just be fifteen minutes a day or going to an event each month or a few hours on the weekend. Find something that works for you.

Allow yourself time to get angry. To get sad. To cry. To hurt. To feel.

and yes, often times in the beginning, it’s a lot of negative emotions. But we’ve been bottling this negative emotions up for years. They need to be released. Once they’ve been dealt with, or at the least, the brain recognizes that you’ll take time to deal with them regularly, it becomes a lot safer and easier for the more positive emotions to come up.

Respect your emotions because they are a part of you. And you, you are wonderful. You don’t need to be fixed, you just need some more tools so that you can show off a better version of yourself and so that you can spend more time feeling good about who you are.

6. Take time to self-soothe after letting off excess bad emotions.

Some people feel better right after they cry or make art or talk about what happened.

For a lot of us though, it releases the pressure but we still feel shaky. And sometimes we use this as a reason not to deal with emotions in the future. It’s important to set time aside to feel, but it’s also important to take care of ourselves afterward. Especially in the beginning.

(via selfcareafterrape)

August282014
“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” Your Best Life Now (Joel Osteen)

(Source: wordsthat-speak, via theroadtorecoveryy)

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