There’s several stages of recovery, I’ve learned (the hard way!)….much like grief, there’s certain stages you have to go through, after leaving an abusive relationship, so you can finally start to feel less ‘almost-dead’ and slightly more ‘once again thankful-to-be-alive’.
There’s anger, rage, sadness, melancholy, nostalgia, disbelief (the research must spell it all out in the correct stages and correct order). A veritable cornucopia of ill-gotten, often unwelcome, emotions that have a habit of popping up when you least expect them, hanging around for a while and interrupting your ‘normal’, then disappearing only to morph in to something else an indeterminate amount of time later.
I’m kind of in my second disbelief stage at moment: disbelief bordering on anger and outrage (I feel, some days, like the BFG, looking in to his dream jars, wondering what the swirly mixes inside will deliver). [The Dr tells me this is progress, as this means I’m being consciously mindful of the emotions, which helps to reduce their power]
It’s actually, sometimes, a quite entertaining mix of emotions – heady, you could say – that’s pushing me forwards, onwards, upwards, enraged, as I am, at the injustice of it all. Lone disbelief has been left behind – for the dark reality hit home some time ago – and now I’m raging. Albeit quietly. But still raging.
It should be noted that none of these stages are constructive; they’re all helpful in terms of getting you from a (rock bottom) to b (semblance of a normal life) – whilst holding that elusive ‘z‘ in sight – but they’re not in the least bit constructive from a practical point of view.
They don’t help in any practical way other than journeying you along. “I’ll hold your hand”, they say, “…but the journey itself? That’s all yours”. Ground rules established, you need to implement techniques, tools, to pull yourself through it, however thick the mud, however glutinous the mess.
One thing I’ve been doing recently, after reading about it somewhere – Google help me, you know you really must know where it is! – is using a ‘Let go’ journal (feel free to unleash the Frozen song at any point from herein on…I’m singing it right now!)…
Alongside my gratitude journal, I spend a moment before I go to bed writing down all the things I’m pledging to let go. The idea being that once they’ve been given a voice (written down), they’ll go off on their merry way and leave me clear alone.
[Sample entries include ”What if’ thinking’ – Self-blame – The ‘you can’t’ idea – Sadness about the marriage breaking down – and so on….(all with specific examples attached)]
Since I’ve been doing this – self-medicating my PTSD (as my Dr called it) – I’ve noticed that I’m feeling a whole lot less negative, a whole lot more present and – importantly – I’ve been having far fewer flashbacks and have been sleeping so much better.
The whole idea of naming things in order to face them head on is working for me. It gives them shape, a shape I can see, and, importantly, a shape that can be tackled. Without this name, without this identification, they were just – like the BFG’s floaty amorphous dream clouds – intangible…but with disproportionate power to cause trouble, angst, negative.
I’m a convert to the idea of (what I’m calling) my ‘Let it go’ journal. It’s helped. A great deal.
[And it can’t hurt, can it, that I go to bed, now, humming ‘Let it go’?]
Thought this might be useful for some of my lovely readers (because everyone has ‘things’ they need to let go, things that weigh us down..)? Here’s to letting go and setting free and flying and attaining and generally being fab not drab…
*Hah! As I was looking for suitable images for the post, I stumbled across this journal from (company?) on sale at Barnes & Noble….it’s altogether too perfect!! [Don’t worry, I’ve still not managed to have arranged the whole idea of affiliate links on I Will Bloom – although every little would help! – I just thought some of you might like it so decided to use the image and add in the link (for your shopping pleasure)!]