October202014

(Source: psych2go, via fullbodiedlovin)

8PM
“Ask yourself what is really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.” B. Scott (via quoteessential)

(via theroadtorecoveryy)

8PM

To everyone struggling with body acceptance

beutifulmagazine:

surfergirlsam:

Do you know what Susan B. Anthony weighed? Or Rosa Parks? How about Marlyin Monroe? Frank Sinatra? Marie Antionette? Elizabeth I?
My point is that most of the people in history that have made a difference or have been remembered for their actions are not judged by their bodies, but by their accomplishments.
Let it go, and focus on making the world what you want it to be.

YES. Right on!

October162014
“Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.” Eric Thomas (via perfect)

(Source: natural-lifters, via theroadtorecoveryy)

3PM
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)

3PM
inkmurder:

Good things to list

inkmurder:

Good things to list

(via theroadtorecoveryy)

October102014
selfcareafterrape:

[Image Description: Getting Over Triggers: An Incomplete Guide]
Disclaimer:
Not all triggers can be gotten over and even if a trigger can be gotten over, doesn’t particularly mean it should. It is entirely up to the survivor to choose which triggers to try and get over, and whether or not they want to get over them at all.
Sometimes when people get over a trigger- they will still be sensitive to it in the case of relapse or more stress. 
First Step: Identifying Triggers
Triggers kind of fall in two areas. We have our super general triggers that can often be identified by a quick HALT check. (The halt system suggests that when stressed we ask ourselves ‘Am I a. Hungry b. Angry c. Lonely or d. Tired?’ ) These are things that aren’t necessarily ‘PTSD’ triggers- so much as they lower our threshold in general. You want to still be aware of these for that very reason. 
Then we have our more specific PTSD/trauma triggers.
It can be a feeling. For instance- survivors of childhood trauma often struggle with anything that makes them feel small.
It can be a visual thing. Whether it be something your attacker wore, something that you watched a lot during your trauma period, people that look kind of like the assailant. 
It can be an auditory thing. A sound, a name. 
It can be a smell. Smells are actually extremely strong triggers usually.
It can be a touch.
Triggers are things that cause an uptick in symptoms. Whether they cause panic attacks, flashbacks, or a return to behaviors such as self harm or disordered eating.
Step Two: Learning how to Self-Soothe/Ground
Self Soothing/Grounding behaviors are a dime a dozen, it’s all a matter of finding a good handful that work for you.
It’s extremely important that you find a system that works for you before trying to handle a trigger. 
There isn’t enough room on a post to go over every possible self-soothing/grounding behavior but I’m going to list some. Do some exploration on your own to find something that works or you.
1. Get an ‘oh shit’ box, or a grounding bag, or whatever you want to call it. A place where you physically keep  things that help you. Kind notes from friends. A color book. Play Dough. You’ll want things that cover all the sensory experiences.
2. Proper breathing exercises. These don’t work for everyone- but they do have a higher success rate when done correctly. 
3. Cold oranges. Oranges kept in the fridge and then peeled help a lot of people ‘come down’ from triggered states. It’s a sensory thing- both touch and focus and smell.
4. Keeping a grounding object. Whether it be a spinner ring, a necklace, a rock you keep in your pocket. Something you touch often and use as a ‘I am here and this is now’
5. Essential oils can really help.
6. Journaling or Art.
7. Going back to a safe place. Whether this be a physical place or a ‘place’ in your mind.
8. Counting down from 100 by 7’s. Or other things like that require you to focus.
9. Having a playlist specifically for these times. I find that having them set from sort of… high energy.angry. music to slowly going down to more calm helps me personally.
10. Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
But really, self soothing/grounding things… there are hundreds upon hundreds of options.  It’s just a matter of looking around and finding what works for you. You’ll want to find multiple. These are not cure alls by themselves- they are skills to layer upon one another.
Step Three: Define Your Triggers
In step one- you identified your triggers, now I want you to better define them. 
For instance- if touch sets you off- is it all touch? or is touch to a certain area of your body? or by people you don’t know? or when you don’ t have forewarning
This will help you understand where to start.
Step Four: Create an Action Plan and act on it.
Now you’re going to use all the information from steps three and two, as well as figuring out what skills and people you have in your life that would be willing to help.
Know what coping skills/self soothing/grounding things you will turn to.
Figure out how you’re going to start. Start small. For instance- if you have a touch trigger then you might want to start by making sure you’re as completely relaxed and in as safe an environment as possible- and then having someone you trust touch you.
Remind yourself that you are safe, that you know who is doing it, and that you’re going to be okay. Once again- start out small. Only do it for a few minutes at first- if that.
If a place is triggering, having a friend come with you and working yourself up to staying longer times. Knowing that this time? You can leave as soon as you need to. You are in control. Notice how you feel- notice the racing heart or the nausea or whatever it is- don’t shame yourself for feeling this way. Just know that it won’t be forever.
You’re going to want to make new associations as well. In over simplified terms- a trigger is basically when we see/feel/hear/whatever A and the synaptic connection immediately jumps to the trauma. What you want to do is make new synaptic connections so that it is no longer the first place you unconsciously jump to- and strengthen them regularly.  
You’re going to want to slowly work yourself up to handling more and more. It is a slow process, and it often involves a lot of agitation. Don’t push yourself too hard too fast. It’s better to spend awhile working on five minutes at a time until five minutes doesn’t bother you- than to jump in and push yourself into a relapse.
Step Five: Self Care and Processing.
Make sure that you self-soothe before and after you do things and to spend time processing what happened and how it makes you feel. When you start to tackle triggers things will usually come up. It will probably help to keep a journal regarding this process. Talk about how it makes you feel, whether physically or emotionally. Talk about what seems to work and what seems to not. You may notice patterns this way too. 
Don’t beat yourself up for not doing perfectly or still getting upset. Instead celebrate the successes and that you are now in control. You can end the trigger sensation when you want to. You can self soothe now. You have the power.
There will a guide regarding ways to handle names specifically sometime in the future. 

selfcareafterrape:

[Image Description: Getting Over Triggers: An Incomplete Guide]

Disclaimer:

Not all triggers can be gotten over and even if a trigger can be gotten over, doesn’t particularly mean it should. It is entirely up to the survivor to choose which triggers to try and get over, and whether or not they want to get over them at all.

Sometimes when people get over a trigger- they will still be sensitive to it in the case of relapse or more stress. 

First Step: Identifying Triggers

Triggers kind of fall in two areas. We have our super general triggers that can often be identified by a quick HALT check. (The halt system suggests that when stressed we ask ourselves ‘Am I a. Hungry b. Angry c. Lonely or d. Tired?’ ) These are things that aren’t necessarily ‘PTSD’ triggers- so much as they lower our threshold in general. You want to still be aware of these for that very reason. 

Then we have our more specific PTSD/trauma triggers.

It can be a feeling. For instance- survivors of childhood trauma often struggle with anything that makes them feel small.

It can be a visual thing. Whether it be something your attacker wore, something that you watched a lot during your trauma period, people that look kind of like the assailant. 

It can be an auditory thing. A sound, a name. 

It can be a smell. Smells are actually extremely strong triggers usually.

It can be a touch.

Triggers are things that cause an uptick in symptoms. Whether they cause panic attacks, flashbacks, or a return to behaviors such as self harm or disordered eating.

Step Two: Learning how to Self-Soothe/Ground

Self Soothing/Grounding behaviors are a dime a dozen, it’s all a matter of finding a good handful that work for you.

It’s extremely important that you find a system that works for you before trying to handle a trigger. 

There isn’t enough room on a post to go over every possible self-soothing/grounding behavior but I’m going to list some. Do some exploration on your own to find something that works or you.

1. Get an ‘oh shit’ box, or a grounding bag, or whatever you want to call it. A place where you physically keep  things that help you. Kind notes from friends. A color book. Play Dough. You’ll want things that cover all the sensory experiences.

2. Proper breathing exercises. These don’t work for everyone- but they do have a higher success rate when done correctly. 

3. Cold oranges. Oranges kept in the fridge and then peeled help a lot of people ‘come down’ from triggered states. It’s a sensory thing- both touch and focus and smell.

4. Keeping a grounding object. Whether it be a spinner ring, a necklace, a rock you keep in your pocket. Something you touch often and use as a ‘I am here and this is now’

5. Essential oils can really help.

6. Journaling or Art.

7. Going back to a safe place. Whether this be a physical place or a ‘place’ in your mind.

8. Counting down from 100 by 7’s. Or other things like that require you to focus.

9. Having a playlist specifically for these times. I find that having them set from sort of… high energy.angry. music to slowly going down to more calm helps me personally.

10. Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

But really, self soothing/grounding things… there are hundreds upon hundreds of options.  It’s just a matter of looking around and finding what works for you. You’ll want to find multiple. These are not cure alls by themselves- they are skills to layer upon one another.

Step Three: Define Your Triggers

In step one- you identified your triggers, now I want you to better define them. 

For instance- if touch sets you off- is it all touch? or is touch to a certain area of your body? or by people you don’t know? or when you don’ t have forewarning

This will help you understand where to start.

Step Four: Create an Action Plan and act on it.

Now you’re going to use all the information from steps three and two, as well as figuring out what skills and people you have in your life that would be willing to help.

Know what coping skills/self soothing/grounding things you will turn to.

Figure out how you’re going to start. Start small. For instance- if you have a touch trigger then you might want to start by making sure you’re as completely relaxed and in as safe an environment as possible- and then having someone you trust touch you.

Remind yourself that you are safe, that you know who is doing it, and that you’re going to be okay. Once again- start out small. Only do it for a few minutes at first- if that.

If a place is triggering, having a friend come with you and working yourself up to staying longer times. Knowing that this time? You can leave as soon as you need to. You are in control. Notice how you feel- notice the racing heart or the nausea or whatever it is- don’t shame yourself for feeling this way. Just know that it won’t be forever.

You’re going to want to make new associations as well. In over simplified terms- a trigger is basically when we see/feel/hear/whatever A and the synaptic connection immediately jumps to the trauma. What you want to do is make new synaptic connections so that it is no longer the first place you unconsciously jump to- and strengthen them regularly.  

You’re going to want to slowly work yourself up to handling more and more. It is a slow process, and it often involves a lot of agitation. Don’t push yourself too hard too fast. It’s better to spend awhile working on five minutes at a time until five minutes doesn’t bother you- than to jump in and push yourself into a relapse.

Step Five: Self Care and Processing.

Make sure that you self-soothe before and after you do things and to spend time processing what happened and how it makes you feel. When you start to tackle triggers things will usually come up. It will probably help to keep a journal regarding this process. Talk about how it makes you feel, whether physically or emotionally. Talk about what seems to work and what seems to not. You may notice patterns this way too. 

Don’t beat yourself up for not doing perfectly or still getting upset. Instead celebrate the successes and that you are now in control. You can end the trigger sensation when you want to. You can self soothe now. You have the power.

There will a guide regarding ways to handle names specifically sometime in the future. 

(via fullbodiedlovin)

8PM
“Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; But eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, Stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.” Iyanla Vanzan (via psych-facts)

(via fullbodiedlovin)

8PM
No means No. #NoMore

No means No. #NoMore

(via recovery-reality-revitalize)

October12014
“Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.” Katherine Henson (via seafoamxsiren)

(Source: wordsnquotes, via communiquesfromm)

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