I was sexually abused from birth and forced to participate in child pornography by my parents. I witnessed murder and violence. As a result I struggle with PTSD and a Dissociative Identity Disorder. Keep in mind, dissociation also saved me by blocking these real occurences until I was able to handle them. Now as an adult I am struggling to process those horrible memories. It took the passing of many years to have the strength and wisdom to face what happened to me. Many days I am upset and anxious from dealing with difficulties in the present and images from the past.
When I am feeling anxious and shaky sometimes I just don’t know what to do, and other times I manage to calm myself with books, television or movies. Occasionally food works, but it is not a healthy way of dealing with stress. I realize that every one will have different things that calm and center them, but I thought I would share some of what works for me.
The Last of the Summer Wine This is about older men reliving the part of their childhoods that they missed. It is a sweet and silly comedy, and the characters are endearing.
Murder She Wrote I am usually distracted from my problems trying to figure out who did it. The victims never look like they were murdered. It helps.
Seinfeld These people have nothing going on in their lives except their relationships with each other. It is fun to watch the non-sensical adventures they get into to give themselves something to do.
Books to be read or listened to:
Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm Don’t know why these soothe, they just do.
Karen Hesse‘s ” A Time of Angels” This is a girl’s story of the flu epidemic in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. There is a lot of sadness and also plenty of decent, ordinary people who help the main character through her difficult ordeal.
Star Treks 2,4, and 6. I think SciFi and fantasy helps get my mind out of wordly surroundings.
I also like to burn lavender incense and take a warm shower or bath. Sometimes I take walk to observe nature and I experience some peace.
Ok, I do bake homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Music helps too, but I think that is totally subjective.
It is important for anyone recovering from trauma to be gentle with themselves, because this is extremely difficult work, and it drains tremendous energy from the mind and the body.
Below is a diagram from Time magazine that shows what happens in the body during a traumatic memory. I have felt crazy for a long time, so it is a comfort to know that what I feel is based in reality. If you can’t read the diagram, please copy and enlarge it.