January 2nd, 2007
x posted from my journal
TWO posts in one day?
Ok a little thing before I get right down to it.
This one is on Andrew, I do not need help as much as I need to,..I guess understand this. Things are changing, but not for worse at all. Its the exact opposite.
I trust him to figure this out. But I guess I need help to see both sides of it, mine and his, from an unbiased point of veiw.
Help me out guys? Any comments at all would be nice.
It seems our positions have changed. When he first met me, I was a mess. I was struggling to stay alive, though he is not exactly at that low of a point, he is struggling and I can see that.
He was so strong for me. He helped me so much I cant even explain. Im alive becuase of him.
But now its like we have opposite roles.
I do feel unattractive with this short hair, now that it's growing back. And hell, it's too cold not to wear layers...after all, it is winter.
I don't want to be touched sexually, not by anyone...except for her. A girl named Onyinye. We went to college together. We were--are--friends. She is not my girl, it's never going to happen...but...I don't know. Even then, sex is a chore.
I got mad at one of my friends, who is a natural flirt. I feel like like I don't even get a second look from the men we encounter, while they bend over backwards to talk to her, get her number, take her on dates. Damn, I feel ignored. She says she doesn't do anything in particular, and considers it all empty and meaningless. Two women, two friends, on opposite poles in their dealings with relationships...
It doesn't help that my last relationship ended because of the threat of violence...among other things. I just want to be safe. And loved.
Perhaps this post is confused and disjointed. Perhaps no one understands what is on my mind.
However, often the very skills that can keep us safe from or more prepared for abuse can be debilitating to us when we are recovering. Hypervigilance - a near constant state of alert - is a symptom of PTSD that can help us to stay safe, but that can often exhaust us in our everyday situations. Many survival skills we learn when in an abusive situation are often out-of-place in an everyday setting, especially once we are away from our abusers.
Oftentimes, our brains overcompensate - putting us on high alert *all the time* - in an effort to keep ourselves safe. However, since that also means a high stress level, such survival skills can drain us enough that we have chronic aches and pains, nightmares and flashbacks, and oftentimes we are more susceptible to illnesses like a cold or flu.
Since our brain registers those survival skills as necessary for safety, they are often the hardest to unlearn. It can take quite a bit of focused work to re-train our brains when it's appropriate to use such skills, and when it's not appropriate, in order to feel a relief from our PTSD symptoms. Often, we need to be able to find a middle ground between our using all of our survival skills all the time and using no survival skills beyond the basics (the basics being to eat, drink, sleep, breathe, etc)
So this week we'll talk about identifying some of your survival skills, acknowledging why they're there, and forming ideas on how to re-train them to be advantageous to you instead of a hindrance.
This week's questions are:
- Did you develop any skills which helped protect you? Common skills survivors learn are: reading body language and vocal tone, constant awareness of surroundings, even things such as obsessively checking the locks on doors, cars, and windows.
- How did they help you avoid or prepare for abuse?
- How do they bother you or make everyday life harder?
- What would be a good middle ground for you with your survival skill? Is there a compromise between the full-on instinct and the minimum of protection?