These past 11 days, I have taken a break from all things trauma-work related. The flashbacks and nightmares have decreased, the physical pain I feel when I think about my trauma stuff is gone, and I can regulate my mood better. When I work on trauma stuff for several, several weeks in a row, it’s like my whole body becomes so physically and emotionally exhausted that I can’t remember how to use productive coping skills anymore. I needed this 11-day break.
Originally, I felt guilty for telling my therapist that I needed a break from trauma work. It wasn’t so much about her judging me for needing the break, it was about me feeling like I should be strong enough to keep going. Plus, I kind of took a break abruptly, as we were right in the middle of several things trauma-related; there were lots of loose ends. Now that I’ve had my break, I feel so much more equipped to proceed with my trauma work. I’m more equipped to do the hard work that I need to do.
I know that 11 days isn’t long. In the past, we’ve taken a break that lasted months. My bank account probably appreciated that long break just as much as I did haha. When I do trauma work, I function better when I see my shrink twice a week. When I’m not doing trauma, once a week is fine. Actually, I start thinking that I don’t even need to go once a week when I’m not doing trauma work 🙂
In the past 11 days, I put a huge emphasis on showing myself compassion and taking care of my needs (and not the dildos and vibrators kind…well, maybe a little). I worked hard on noticing how my body feels. When I felt even slightly anxious throughout the day, I did breathing exercises and went through my five senses. I spent time in restorative yoga poses at home on days that were difficult. I did guided meditations and yoga nidra to help calm my mind and body before bed. When my trauma stuff came up, I didn’t dwell on it; I acknowledged it was there and let it go.
Trauma work is a bitch. She’s the bitch who sucks all of the happiness and energy out of my life. She’s the bitch who tries to control my thoughts and feelings and dreams. She’s the bitch who I work hard to fight. After weeks of trauma work in August and September, I felt like she had completely defeated me.
Well now that I’ve had 11 days off, I’m ready for you, Bitch. This time, I won’t let you control me. This time, I’m ready to fight you with everything I have, but also take care of myself when I’m wounded. This time, I will come out ok.