My Five Most Helpful Strategies for Healing from Sexual Assault

I’ve made large strides in my healing process since it started around five years ago. It’s been full of ups and downs, but five main things have helped me to get where I am today — a place that I’m pretty content with. I hope these strategies might help you too, if you’re a fellow survivor. Continue reading My Five Most Helpful Strategies for Healing from Sexual Assault

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An Unexpected Vacation from PTSD

It’s been five months since I’ve had what’d I’d call a disruptive “PTSD” episode. Five months since an episode has thrown me off for more than a few seconds. I don’t understand. What’s going on!?!? This is blowing my mind! I literally never thought this would happen. I never dared hope that I’d arrive at a place where I could be mostly free from the shackles of almost-mental illness.

poppin1 Continue reading An Unexpected Vacation from PTSD

Tonic Immobility

Trigger warning: sexual assault

Most people know that the body goes into “fight or flight” mode when in a dangerous and stressful situation. What many people don’t know is that there are more possible responses, one of which is to freeze. A person can literally be involuntarily, temporarily paralyzed with fear. This is called tonic immobility.

According to recent research, the majority of female rape survivors do not fight back or yell for help because of tonic immobility.  Another study found that half of people who survived childhood sexual abuse also experienced tonic immobility. Continue reading Tonic Immobility

13 Steps for Managing Flashbacks by Pete Walker, MA, MFT

  1. Say to yourself: “I am having a flashback”. Flashbacks take us into a timeless part of the psyche that feels as helpless, hopeless and surrounded by danger as we were in childhood. The feelings and sensations you are experiencing are past memories that cannot hurt you now.
  2. Remind yourself: “I feel afraid but I am not in danger! I am safe now, here in the present.” Remember you are now in the safety of the present, far from the danger of the past.

Click here for the full list.

Subthreshold PTSD

I like to talk about mental illness on this blog and my personal struggles with mental health. But let’s be clear: I’m not technically mentally ill. I’m in a weird gray area, because I have symptoms of PTSD but it’s not serious enough for a diagnosis. Recently I found out that there’s an unofficial name for this: subthreshold PTSD. Continue reading Subthreshold PTSD

So This is What “Normal” Feels Like

I got so used to always having a low level of anxiety that it feels really weird (in a good way) to have that almost entirely gone. For the first time in months, I feel very “me” again. I’m relaxed. I’m taking joy in the little things. I’m overly excited about learning anything new. I’m laughing a lot. I don’t take as long to calm down. I’m not thinking about the past much anymore. I’m not getting triggered often or experiencing many intrusive thoughts… I wish this could last forever.  Continue reading So This is What “Normal” Feels Like