?

Log in

No account? Create an account
_Survivors_
A safe space to share stories and ask questions
Weekly Thought Stirring: Anniversaries 
12th-Dec-2006 08:13 pm
Dragged in Vs. Walking in
So, tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of me taking the helm as maintainer here in _survivors_ :) Wow has the time flown by... it's been a great year!

So, in honor of my anniversary here, this week's questions will involve anniversaries: the good, the bad, and the triggering.

Anniversaries are enormously difficult for all abuse survivors. Whether it's the year-markers for specific instances of abuse, or whether it's years after you left your abuser, anniversaries are often very triggering and difficult. On top of just knowing the date is coming up, things like weather, holidays, and other markers of the calendar year can become triggers to remembering those events.

Many survivors have increased symptoms of their PTSD symptoms: nightmares, flashbacks, depression, suicidal ideation, self harm, etc. around their anniversaries, and the emotions often bubble back up to the surface with more intensity than usual.

Since anniversaries of specific events only come once a year, it's harder for us to process, and therefore lessen the intensity, of the emotions and things we feel on those days. We only get to process them once a year, as opposed to the things we process as each day passes. So on anniversaries, it's like opening a sealed container of those emotions - they're fresh and intense. Often, since our symptoms are increased, the people around us notice a marked difference in our behaviour.

Many of us don't have a large group of people in our lives which know about our abuse, so it can be even harder to cope with the intense feelings - since we can't always explain to the people in our lives what the anniversary is of. So we'll be focusing on anniversaries and how you cope, and to see if there are some anniversaries of good things that you can mix into your yearly calendar to even out the abuse anniversaries.

This week's questions:
- Do you have specific anniversaries to your abuse or other traumatic experiences?
- If so, have the feelings lowered in intensity as the years have passed, or have they stayed at the same intensity?
- Also, if so, how do you cope with the intense feelings that come up on that day?
- What good things in your life could you celebrate the anniversary of? Things could be - celebrating the day you graduated from school, or got a car, or even joined livejournal :)

Bonus:
- Are there things besides the date that mark your anniversaries? i.e. do the memories come up when you see snow or holiday decorations, or summer weather, etc.
Comments 
13th-Dec-2006 02:07 am (UTC)
Hi!

I don't post very much, but I would like to answer the questions you have posed to the group.
1. My anniversary is the day I was raped by my ex-fiance, May 20.
2. I also found that the first 5 years were the hardest to deal with, and I handled each year a different way. It has now been over 6 yrs, and I found that it is rarely in my thoughts anymore. The last anniversary actually passed before I realized it 2 days later, which was a first! Yay!
3. I cope in a couple different ways. One year, when I was going through my religous response to the abuse, I read a book on forgiveness. That didn't really work. Other years, I make sure I am surrounded by my friends and loved ones who know about the rape, and how I have been affected by it. My friends have really helped me through some tough times, including anniversaries. One year, my BF (now hubby) planned a day of relaxation for me at a spa the week of the anniversary.
4. I celebrate my wedding anniversary. We also still celebrate the day that my hubby and I first got together (he was a very close friend of mine at the time of the rape, and more than anyone has been my rock to lean on).

Bonus:
My hometown is a big *trigger*. I never step foot in a Hollywood Video, because he worked as a manager at one.
13th-Dec-2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
You're always welcome to answer the questions, no matter how much or little you post :)

That's awesome that this past year's anniversary was much easier... it's amazing how big that difference can be after a few times of going through it.

I'm glad you have been able to not only talk with your friends about the rape, but that they help support you on your anniversaries. And it's so cool that your hubby planned a day of relaxation to help support you, too. I'm glad you married someone who can be that supportive and loving - and it's great that you're able to celebrate your anniversary with him. It's a great positive thing to focus on :)

Yeah I can see how that could be a big trigger. It's amazing how much places can bring us back to that time period
13th-Dec-2006 04:48 am (UTC)
- Do you have specific anniversaries to your abuse or other traumatic experiences?

April 8 was the first time I was forced into having sex. We were dating for less than a month, and I remember he was really angry about something that happened between him and his friends. I went over to his house to cheer him up (he was already drunk by the time I got there), and he asked me to go with him to the park. I knew I shouldn't have gone, but I did anyway because I didn't know how to refuse without pissing him off. We went in his truck, parked, and he basically assumed that sex was going to happen. When I said no, he would stop for a few minutes and then try again.

There was also an incident that happened at a friend's house. My male friend just came out to being homosexual. We had gone swimming earlier that day, and he came into the room while I was changing from my bathing suit into my street clothes. I refuse to wear bathing suits now.

- If so, have the feelings lowered in intensity as the years have passed, or have they stayed at the same intensity?

Yeah. I still hate warm weather, but the connotations they had for me have started to ease up. I haven't had an anniversary for April 8 yet.

- Also, if so, how do you cope with the intense feelings that come up on that day?

I tell myself that my friend was an idiot and was just trying to prove something to himself. Though I'm not sure what.

- What good things in your life could you celebrate the anniversary of? Things could be - celebrating the day you graduated from school, or got a car, or even joined livejournal :)

I don't know. I suppose the anniversary of the day my boyfriend and I started dating - March 31.

Bonus:
- Are there things besides the date that mark your anniversaries? i.e. do the memories come up when you see snow or holiday decorations, or summer weather, etc.

I don't like walking around outside when its dark out. I also haven't gone swimming (or worn a bathing suit) since the other incident.
13th-Dec-2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
The first anniversary can be pretty tough, and I'm glad that you've been developing your coping skills as much as you have - it gives you a good chance of being a bit less overwhelmed.

It's good that some of the triggers about those events have lessened in intensity a bit - that makes it a little less overwhelming to try to process the emotions those events bring up inside you.
This page was loaded Nov 17th 2019, 10:14 pm GMT.