I had my friend (the one with a similar background in abuse as me) over the other day. Usually it’s me that needs to talk and have someone listen and help. This is something that I feel guiltily about because I don’t want our relationship to be one-sided with me doing all the taking and her doing all the giving. But on this day, she was the one that was in need of help, and for once I got to be there for her.
Without going into a lot of detail, since this is not my story to tell, both her and her child needed a helping hand. And I was able to help her by giving her some of my collected information on the following things:
Talking to a family member who hasn’t been abused and doesn’t always get what is going on with you. Someone who thinks if you just try harder you can do more without realizing that what you are doing now in the very best you can do. I read to her some of my post “Letter to My Family“. I recommended the book “Shock Waves: A Practical Guide to Living with a Loved One’s PTSD”, because let’s face it when you’ve gone through what we’ve been through you most likely have PTSD. It really helps when those around you have a guide to living with the fall out of it. It also helps if they know where you are coming from. I know we all wish and want them to be about to look at us and read our minds and know exactly what to say or do. But they aren’t mind readers, they have no special powers, they won’t know unless we tell them. Sometimes this requires repeating ourselves. Just like when you get poison ivy you have to repeatedly apply calamine lotion for relief, sometimes you have to reapply what you need the other person to hear. That’s why I’m a big fan of the letter. It doesn’t have to be confrontational that way. You can just print it up and leave it for the other person to read and think about.
Suicide was other thing we discussed. I have personal experience with the driving need to end it all. I have a couple of plans on how I do it and everything. I know what it feels like to think that it wouldn’t matter to anything or anyone if you did it. I’ve written a couple of post on it for my “Legacy of Child Abuse” series. I highly recommended the Boggle the Owl site, since reading some of the posts there have gotten me through the bad times. Sometimes something as little as an anonymous person telling you that they care and that it’s going to be ok care help. Sometimes you just need to hear those words even if you are only reading them to yourself.
Then we talk about my all time favor topic (being ironic here) panic attacks and anxiety, and how to deal. I got out my therapy binder, where I keep all the printouts that my therapist gives me. The one that works best for me is “Overcoming Anxiety: 5 Quick Ways to Relieve Anxiety“.
1. Making yourself comfort, and reminding yourself this will pass.
2. Use calming self talk.
3. Acknowledge and accept
4. Distract yourself
5. Use relaxation techniques
Lastly I talked to her about accepting and acknowledge my “others”. Till you do that they can really make you feel insane. I showed her my dress up drawings that each of my others did. And how they had their own Pinterest account where they each had boards and expressed the need to not get angry when they express themselves in ways that we normally would think is weird, insane, shameful, etc. I also showed her my post-it with the rules for living in my body (or house, as my therapist and I call it).
MY HOUSE/BODY RULES:
– No one makes the rules except “A”
– There are no other rules but the ones “I” make
– No one can bring harm to anyone else in the house.
– If you don’t take care of the house or you try to harm it you don’t get to come out.
– If you don’t follow the rules you don’t get to come out.
– You can’t make changes to the house (ex. Haircut, color, etc.) without a majority ruling in favor of the change.
– All decision made by the house have to have a 75% in favor ruling to be done.
When we’d finished talking, and she left; I got to thinking about all I’d said and the wisdom I’d passed on. And it hit me. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do this; I wouldn’t have been able to help this way, because I hadn’t done the work. In the last three years, I have been slowly but surely doing the work and learning what I needed to do this. And while most of the time I feel like I haven’t gone anywhere, that I’m exactly where I was when I started. That’s not true. I’ve posted over 200 post on my blog. Each of them are stepping stones. They maybe baby steps . I have been taking baby steps to getting better. This day helped me to remember how far I’ve come.