Healing from sexual abuse takes time. We will have difficult moments and times when people, places, smells, songs, or other outside influences can trigger us, bringing back memories and pain. During these emotionally hard spots, it’s important to know how to care for yourself.
Think of an infant or toddler. What soothes a small child when they are upset or scared? A favorite blanket, a pacifier, stuffed animal, soft music, or a nurturing parent are good ways to help a child feel safe and loved. It’s a way to sooth.
Similarly, we have ways we sooth ourselves – ways we calm down when we are upset. Just like we apply ointment and a bandage to wounds on our flesh, we have things we can do to nurture ourselves while we wait for the internal wounds to heal. It’s important to put together an emotional first aid kit.
Think of what things make you
happy, bring you peace, or help brighten your mood. These are the type of things you’ll want in your kit. You can physically have a box with these items in it, or at least a list that you can consult when necessary.
For instance, my kit (um…it’s just in my head, so whatever you want to do) contains Dr. Pepper (guilty pleasure, takes the edge off my panic/anxiety), chocolate (obviously), yoga or other exercise (meditation and endorphins), uplifting music (this one is huge for me), chat with a close friend/support person(s) (kinda the best, because I can talk it out, and then we talk about other stuff which takes my mind off of the yucky stuff), prayer (because He’s the only one who completely and fully understands what’s going on). These aren’t in order of preference, but I just pull out whatever it is I need at the time.
So, things you may want in your kit:
- a special drink or treat
- shopping trip
- movie night
- uplifting music
- chat with a friend
- bubble bath
- Priesthood blessing
- some sort of pampering like a pedicure, facial, or massage
- hide in a blanket cave
- some sort of artistic expression like writing, music, or art
- inspirational quotes
- going for a scenic walk or drive
Really, you just need to put in there whatever will help YOU. It doesn’t matter if you need to use everything in your kit at once, or just one or two items. The most important point is to have a way to care for yourself and avoid any self-destructive thoughts or behaviors.
In some instances, you may want a friend or family member to be aware of your list, so when you’re struggling, and maybe unable to utilize your emotional first aid kit yourself, you have a support person who can assist you while you work through hard times.
Be kind and patient with yourself while allowing the healing process to work. Please do not harm yourself with negative thoughts or dangerous actions (If you are having thoughts of self harm or suicide, please call 800-656-HOPE, or visit the RAINN website). You will get through this. You have people rooting for you who are ready to offer support. God loves you and will help you succeed and heal fully.
If you have any fabulous ideas that have helped you and you want to share, I’d love your comments below!