On “A Spirit of Healing” this feature was called “Survivor Thursday” as my blogging schedule was slightly different than here on “Just Fooling Around With Bee or The Bee Writes…”. You can find my old posts here.
“Survivor Saturday” is about being a survivor of abuse. My aim is to give information and help find healing paths, but I have no agenda yet. I’ll go with the flow and what will come my way but if you have any questions or suggestions what to write about feel free to contact me (bee.halton(at)gmail.com with subject “Survivor Saturday) :-).
Healing from abuse needs many healing paths and an individual approach
It would be great if healing from abuse would only need a potion and then we would be ok. Do one thing and then all is well. Healing trauma and mental health though don’t work that way in my experience.
Healing trauma is a complex process and even though therapy and medication are helpful, I believe we all have to find our individual way of healing. It is not only done with a tablet and talking to someone if we can get an appointment.
I have to find what makes me feel healed
I like to try out things. I like to do it my way. And I like the feeling of doing something to make my situation better. I do not believe that doctors or therapists have all the answers to my problems. They have some, and they give helpful advice but in the end, I have to find what makes me feel healed and what keeps me in control.
Over the last twenty years, I have developed many ways to deal with my past.
It started with writing poetry. Then, 30 years ago that is, I wasn’t aware I had been abused and how much my mother’s death had changed my life. I just started writing and have done ever since. Not only poetry but mainly diary too. I don’t do that very often nowadays because I express most of my experiences here on my blog, but some things can’t be shared, and then my diary is an excellent way to deal with my past.
I started counselling when I studied
When I was in my twenties, I started studying Social Work and abuse was a huge topic then in German Universities. It made me feel uncomfortable. Something dangerous stirred in the back of my mind, and I remembered strange things that had happened to me. I couldn’t make sense so I asked for help from the professor who offered to counsel for free. We mainly worked on my mothers’ death then, but that dangerous something in the back of my head stayed.
In my practical year as a social worker, I realised I was abused
After University I had to do a practical year, and I did that in a home for people with special needs. One of the staff abused some of the girls and my boss at the time was very aware of the problem of sexual abuse, and she organised and workshop for all staff to learn what sexual abuse is and what it means for survivors as well as how we could deal with it.
That workshop hit home. I had to leave, and I paced our staff room totally scared, anxious not knowing what was going on. When my boss asked what was wrong, I told her I suspect I’ve been abused. So she suggested getting therapy which I did.
Therapy has helped me to find my way
I have had therapy on and off ever since. There are parts that I do not understand, and therapy helps me to get another perspective on it. And since I had EMDR and CBT therapy there is actually a proper change to the better. Tools learned in CBT helps me to stay calm with breathing and finding my safe place inside so I can remain in the here and now when a flashback hits.
No, I doubt they stop. The flashbacks, the memories, the sadness and the anger. I think these are part of me and my life but what therapy does is enabling me to life with them and life a healthy life.
Reading for healing
All through these times, I have read too. Three books that helped me tackle my past from a different perspective are “Women who run with the wolves“, “The Courage to Heal” and “The Artists Way“. Two don’t directly deal with abuse, but they have opened my mind to seeing myself in a different way and using art and writing even more for healing.
Abuse has an impact on your soul, body and mind
One thing you learn on your journey as a survivor is that sexual, and other forms of abuse have a deep impact on your whole life. It has an effect on how you see yourself, how you act in life, work, love and relationships, how you allow yourself to fulfil your needs, interests and wants and how your body works. So you need a holistic approach to many facets of your life to heal.
So reading, in general, not only self-help books but books, in general, has always helped me to escape my troubles but also to face them because novels or biographies so often show how people have faced their challenges and that success is possible.
And an online course I have done this spring has shown me that I am right about the healing effect of reading. Please check out “Literature and Mental Health: Reading for Wellbeing.”
They physical side of healing from abuse
Lately, my approach to healing has become a much more physical one. I have come to realise that one part of PTSD is chronic pain all over your body for no apparent reason or source. So I decided to use essential oils to rub on those parts of my body that hurt. They say that touch is healing, and so far it seems to help.
I know many put something like that down to the placebo effect. However, if your doctor tells you that they can’t do anything for you because there is no reason for your pain and you do something that relieves that pain it doesn’t matter how you call it. It helps me, and I don’t care what people think about it. If my pain gets less that way. Good for me :-).
I do not take allopathic medication but herbs to stay in balance
Medicationwise the only thing that seems to have a good impact on me is St. Johnswort. I drink it as tea which you can get here, but you have to be careful if you take other medication as it washes substances out of your body faster than usual. I do not take anything else so it is fine with me.
Food supplements might help
Another thing that is discussed and questioned by many is food supplements. I have read that taking Vitamin D and Omega 3 before bedtime relaxes you and helps against depression. So far it works for what ever reason.
Some of my problems have to do with iron deficiency so iron supplements are necessary to keep me going and not sleepwalking all the time and as a last one, there is Evening Primrose Oil against breast pain and hormone imbalances.
Don’t forget meditation/mindfulness
One thing I have done for many years is meditation which apparently gets me in a much better state of mind and music does help when my mood gets down.
The Bee’s many ways of healing from abuse
So what do I use in my daily life to keep my mental health in order and to my past and myself as it is and as I am?
- St. Johnswort
- writing (diary, poetry, blogging)
- listening to music
- rubbing hurting body with essential oils
- food supplements
I have found I can’t stop with any of them. Of course, I can’t have therapy all the time because I cannot afford to. But anything besides that I need to use on a regular basis to for it to have a positive and calming effect.
To heal from abuse don’t be shy to try out things
So my suggestion to any survivor out there is: Find many ways of healing. Try out different things and see what works for you. Doctors, Therapists, holistic healers, bloggers and other survivors can tell you a lot of things that might help but in the end, you have to try it out and figure it out what works for you. And don’t just do one thing. In my opinion, you need an approach of many healing paths to tackle different problems that have to do with the healing process. So the more you employ, the better.