What do you do before you go on a journey?…You prepare. Preparing to journey through life with childhood trauma and Cptsd requires reliable resources. Throughout my practice and training, I have learned that it is vitally important to provide and help clients access reliable resources that can be called upon to assist clients in their daily lives. Resources that can support a traumatized person’s ability to live and function in life with a greater sense of stability, safety, and control. Know what to do when physical sensations, waves of emotions, implicit and explicit memories show up at inopportune moments. These resources will also compliment your healing journey to ensure that the risk of re-traumatization is greatly reduced.

It is important to have tools you can rely on to help you regain a grounded feeling, that build states and help to hardwire new neural pathways to help your system reduce the gripping effects of overwhelm. These pathways were embedded in your nervous system and laid down by traumatic events. Sometimes our systems become over sensitized and we operate from a constant place of hyperarousal, we eventually burn out and feel exhausted. It is important to learn and know how to recognize changes in our states that lead to instability. Learning to self-regulate, up-regulate, and down-regulate depending on your needs in the moment and on any given day.

Resources can mean many different things depending on your needs how trauma affected you and where your interests lie. Sometimes if we have suffered trauma our ability to connect with and establish resources and even how to help ourselves can feel greatly diminished and may feel very limited.

With a lack of genuine care and attention with abuse and neglect, children and adults have grown up with a strong sense of not being cared for, or feeling cared about. This can leave you with a lack of awareness of how much you continue to neglect and care for yourself and your own needs. You may lack the ability to know what you actually enjoy doing, this may have never been explored before. For years you may have unknowingly pleasing others as a way of feeling safe, accepted, and protected without realizing your own continued self-neglect. You may not have known any different and just thought that this is how life is. I know I did, I understood it as almost a sin and selfish, to put my needs first, I didn’t even know I had needs. I grew up believing love was supposed to hurt and that I was supposed to give everything I had away, whether that meant my time, my money, my needs, I believed as an adult that I was not entitled to my feelings and emotions and what was acceptable ways to keep my opinion to myself. I believed I was supposed to be a servant to all. My childhood taught me how to deplete and exhaust my resources rather than build and nurture them.

So today let us start talking about building resources that nourish, ground, support, and excite you, in childlike ways. We build a respectful alliance with ourselves and begin to move into possibilities of feeling like we can shift out of survival mode even for brief moments at a time.

When we begin to invite ourselves back home to reconnect with the spirit of who we are it is important to be patient and approach these steps with flexibility and an open mind. Training may be needed to help you start authentically choosing for yourself. Can we explore the thoughts of truly knowing in the heart of your own heart, that it is ok for us to care for and about ourselves? It is also ok for us to have our own interests and hobbies and tastes and styles. It is ok for us to say the words Yes, I like…. and, No. I don’t like…. It is ok for us to have our own feelings about things and to express those feelings.

If you found that any of these statements caused your heart rate to increase and maybe you began to feel constriction or tightness in your body, this is a normal reaction for a survivor of trauma. Maybe the inner critic has raised its head and is trying to tell you, this is a waste of time and stop reading. This is a normal reaction also for people with CPTSD and childhood trauma. Allow yourself to claim this time and continue reading.

Part of healing is finding out who ‘you’ are and a great place to start it by connecting with ‘Creative’ resources which is something that helps you feel alive and nourished right now. When we suffer from CPTSD our spark to be creative is crushed and sometimes even dreaming stops. Been creative is a natural part of childhood growth, in healthy families and childhood relationships this is nurtured. It is never too late to foster your creativity and value this resource as an important part of your growth and reconnection with yourself and your inner child.

Some examples of creative resources are writing, blogging, poetry, drawing, pottery, playing music, singing, dancing, gardening, cooking, journaling, knitting, sewing, nature walks, painting, carving, woodwork, building robots, playing a game or sport. Anything that requires the use of your imagination and creative exploration is a resource that can help you feel nourished.

At a subconscious level, you are telling yourself, ‘I see you’, ‘I hear you’, and ‘I am here and worth taking care of’. These choices are specific to you as an individual, something that helps you express yourself. It can be as messy, sloppy, scattered, and imperfect as you like. If we are not sure what you are drawn to, don’t worry this is normal following abuse also. It means our natural inquisitiveness and creativity were never nurtured or allowed to form or possibly squashed. Keep exploring and remember, patients and an honest effort, without criticism or judgment.

Love to all

Roseanne 

Part II can be found here.

 

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