CPTSD - how do you get your feelings back?Aug 22, 2018
I'm wondering, have you ever gone through a phase, where you just felt really numb. You felt like you're a robot going through the motions. Barely functioning from one day to the next.
Well I was often. I just felt so dead inside. There was no purpose to anything. I just really didn't want to keep living. I was suicidal depressed at that point in my life.
So, I just wanted to share a few things here with you that were sticking points for me. Things that were holding me back from getting out of this dark space.
My sticking points:
- I had this belief that because of my past and all the horrible stuff that happened that my life is ruined forever.
Nothing will ever change for me. And if I were to be happy and joyous right now, then that would tell other people that what happened to me in the past was not that bad.
It took a few years of therapy for me to realize that that's not the case. I have a lot of joy & happiness in my life now. Even a sense of inner peace 😊 But that doesn't take away the fact that what happened to me was wrong, unjust, criminal, horrible… and never will.
- Self-hate. There was nothing but hate for myself and that really held me back.
If you can't look after your body or be kind, caring and nurturing with yourself, have some compassion and be accepting of yourself, then it really stops your healing journey.
The self-hate comes from what you've been told in the past, or how people treated you or how their actions or in-actions made you feel. Their actions often made us feel as if we’re not worthy. But you are worthy of love. You are worthy of kindness. You are worthy of a better future.
One big reason I was numbing my feelings was, because all those feelings that came up from my past trauma were so painful.
It's heavy sadness and despair. It’s just so much anger and shame… It was really too overwhelming to stay with. But by numbing them, you also numb your positive feelings. Like your happiness and joy.
At that the beginning of my healing journey, I had no idea what actually would bring happiness into my life. I wasn't enthusiastic about anything. Nothing seemed to excite me or nothing motivated me enough to go out and do something about it.
I was clinically depressed at that point.
Exercise that helped me:
So, I started a spreadsheet, an Excel spreadsheet. As you guys know I'm a researcher. I'm doing a PhD in the field of immunology. So, my psychiatrist encouraged me to try and take a “researchers” perspective/look at my situation. Like step back and observe what I do and collect data on it in the spreadsheet.
So, I tried to be a researcher on my own behaviours. I did this by listing all the activities that I did in the 1st column e.g.: cooking, catching up with a friend, colouring in mandalas, listening to music, sit on the balcony, going for a walk, reading a book, writing a poem, playing the flute, volunteer work, job, studying…
The 2nd column I written down some thoughts that came up at that time when I was doing the activity. (Just noting the thoughts without judging them)
The 3rd column I was rating each activity as to how much joy I had doing them. Zero, there was no sensation whatsoever to 10, that was super fun & I really enjoyed this.
Initially I used numbers, then I tried giving activities stars or smiley faces (I preferred this to numbers). Just play with it to find out what is right or what works best for you.
But anything that I could give one star or half a star I paid attention to. Because if there was a slight improvement then this could be something that could bring some more positive emotions into my life...
This is an activity that I will be able to enjoy again. So, this is one exercise I used to help me get through this really numb phase, where I just felt dead inside. It helped me find things that I can get enthusiastic about or excited about and that bring joy in my life again... slowly over time...
Not everyone likes Excel spreadsheets. But I think it's worth a try 😊 I just really liked the idea of approaching this like a researcher collecting data 😊
I'm happy to hear what kind of strategies or techniques or things you used to help you get out of the numb phase.
Do you feel disconnected from your body? This is a normal coping mechanism to survive the trauma but puts as at great risk of developing burnout and disease in adulthood. This video series is for you to become more aware of all the different ways your body is talking to you and some practices, tips and exercises.
In the meantime, as always sending you lots & lots of the love and rainbows to brighten up the tough times just a little...
For more videos hop on over and check out my YouTube Channel.
Here are the recordings from FB lives where I shared tips, practices and tools that helped me on my healing journey