Updated: Sep 13
Trauma from sexual abuse can take an extreme toll on you mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally on your soul (mind, will, emotions). It may seem impossible to regain your focus, strength and confidence back, but with dedication and the right tools, you can heal and thrive in life. While everyone heals differently and at their own pace, there are some steps you can take to gain strength so you can walk through the healing process and recover.
One step you must take to walk through the healing process is to prepare mentally. Trauma affects multiple parts of the brain which in turn affects the rest of you. When your mind is intact, your body falls into alignment. If your thoughts are all over the place, you have a negative outlook on everything including yourself, healing will take longer due to you not being mentally prepared. Journaling, prayer, and a therapist will assist you in preparing mentally. Another thing to have is a support system to walk with you through the process of healing and help keep you focused on the task at hand. In mental preparation, you must be at a place to accept what happened. I know it sounds off the wall, but it's true. You can't just come to peace with what happened without accepting it. Accepting what happened also gives you an open door to regain your power back. Another pertinent sign to pay attention to is listening to your body.
Every person's recovery process is different, but there are some things you can do every day to make it easier. Tune in and listen to what your body needs. Give yourself permission for self-care so you have the energy and resources you need to heal. Trust yourself and honor your intuition—you know what feels right for you. Remind yourself that while it might not feel like it now, the pain will lessen over time as your body heals itself. You will know when you need to be alone and when you need to rest. Pay attention to any stress levels... Clinching your jaws, and holding tension in your neck and shoulders is not good. Letting go of this stress allows the body to heal. Slow down and find peace through resting and meditating on the word. Nurture yourself with food that makes you feel better and connects you with nature such as a salad or smoothie made from fresh produce. Allow room for downtime so your body has a chance to rest, heal, recharge, and replenish its strength. Incorporating physical activity into your life will help strengthen muscles that are often weakened by trauma or chronic illness. A nutritionist may also be able to guide you in ways that support healing with diet and natural remedies. Getting enough sleep each night can also help heal your body’s systems. Finally, make sure to stay connected with loved ones who understand what you’re going through. They will offer love and support throughout the healing process.
It's natural to want things back to normal, but it is also important to take your recovery one day at a time and not push yourself too hard. Focus on the things that make you feel good and help you thrive. Talk about what happened with a professional counselor or trusted friend who can provide support as you work through your pain. If you have been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) for free, confidential information and support 24/7. You may be eligible for an online counseling service called Live Safe Online which provides live talk therapy from an experienced psychotherapist over video chat in the privacy of your own home. With a faith-based perspective, people of all faiths can receive counsel from trained spiritual leaders from their community on topics such as relationships, family conflicts, depression and more.
After the trauma subsides and you're able to return to your life, it's important that you take care of yourself by doing things that make you feel good. This can be anything from going for a walk in nature, cooking a healthy meal, or reading a book. The point is not always about what you do but about how it makes you feel. Find something that fills you up with energy and then do more of it. Try to focus on making time for self-care each day if possible, even if this means setting aside ten minutes during lunch break or when watching TV at night. You don't have to spend hours at a time, just giving yourself small breaks throughout the day will help. These moments are crucial in maintaining your physical health as well as improving mental health. If nothing else, give yourself a few deep breaths every hour or so to re-center. Breathing techniques have been proven to lower heart rate and decrease stress levels which will help you feel more relaxed and less anxious over time.
Recovering from trauma can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. It takes time and patience. That said, every day brings new opportunities for growth and learning. I recommend celebrating small victories with loved ones, as a way of reminding ourselves that we are moving in the right direction. And if you don’t want to celebrate? That’s okay too! Allow yourself the freedom to choose how you spend your days. Every step counts. Whether you celebrate sharing your story, finding a therapist you bond well with, or something simple as getting out of bed. Yes, celebrate getting out of bed due to there being days we do not desire to. What is important is acknowledging the progress and taking advantage of these moments when they happen. For example, after having my first therapy session, I treated myself to something nice, whether it was ice cream or one of my favorite meals. Even though it was just one session, it was a victory. It was a victory because I remember not wanting to share my story due to embarrassment, guilt and shame. You must learn to celebrate yourself no matter how great or small the feat. Celebrating yourself will also help you to possibly open up to new opportunities.
We all experience traumatic events in our lives. It is not uncommon for people who experience these types of events to suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. We are here for you and can help guide you on the path to recovery. Call us at (443) 355-4088 or email us at (email@example.com). You will find resources here to help guide your recovery. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our staff members if you need any other information about this blog post.