Something that I have had to learn is how to protect my Emotional Wellbeing.
While I say that I am recovered from PTSD, recovery doesn’t mean that I no longer suffer from the effects. To me recovery is a journey that I must work on and maintain. These are my top ways that keep my relationship with my emotional side healthy.
Maybe they can help you too?
Keeping healthy emotionally requires time. It is an on going journey. Time is needed for me to reflect on my emotional health, to do the things needed to preserve and protect it. I also need time to practice self care and manage the days when Im struggling. Time needed for recovery and maintaining recovery is unique to you, and to me. It isn’t a race or a competition. Every heals and copes in different ways, this applies to with time.
Self care is vital to emotional health, however it isn’t easy. We can often find that we let slip the things we need to do to keep ourself on the right road, and soon enough our emotional health lets us know about it. Self care is different for everyone and it has taken me a long time to work out what supports me. I love photography, being out in nature and finding new and interesting places. this helps recharge me, especially after a long week.
I also need rest and sleep and find that lack of either can be a major trigger. I also have to remember to practice my breathing techniques, to master this skill to use when needed. Another part of my self care is learning to say No and to not over do things, but instead consciously slow down when my mind and body need to.
Respect my ‘Triggers’
Part of my PTSD manifested itself with panic episodes. I do not refer to them as panic attacks because they last for many hours and take a few days to recover from. I use to think that they came from nowhere, but in time I began to identify a lot of my triggers. Some of them I can push against and work on, others need a more gentle approach. Usually if I look back after an episode of panic I can see what the trigger was. This usually means a lapse in self care.
Being aware of my triggers helps me to manage them better, reducing my panic episodes, and so protecting my emotional wellbeing.
Learning to love and accept ME
This is such a hard one for me. The nature of my battle with PTSD left me believing that I was a burden, unloveable and defective. As such I had very little love for myself and at times believed that my loved ones were better off without me. Sadly this meant I carried so much guilt for so long.
A major part of my recovery has been learning to love myself. To see that I have worth. To instead of seeing the defects in me, to see the beauty in me. For me this is an on going battle and one I still wage constantly. To help me with this acceptance of who I am and where life has taken me has played a vital part. I have also learnt to accept the bad days as part of my journey, and needed in order to allow reflection, and improvement. With acceptance comes peace and an end to seeking never ending perfection, thus safeguarding me emotionally.
Another part of loving myself and acceptance is respecting myself too. To do this includes how I allow others to treat me. Im a person pleaser, I want to be accepted and loved, I also hate confrontation. For a long time this led me to allowing some to treat me badly and being unable to say No despite knowing that it was damaging to me. This was like a toxic poison that seeped into my veins killing me emotionally.
Two things counselling caught me was, ‘that I am not responsible for other peoples happiness’ and ‘I do not have to have toxic people in my life, no matter who they are’. These were major moments of realisation for me and set the scene for me making changes in my life. Cutting ties with those who are toxic to us can be painful, especially if they are people we love. Yet rooting out the poison is needed to keep us safe emotionally.
I trained to be a mindfulness practitioner and in doing so learnt so much about helping and healing myself. It allowed me to see how my past has moulded me, but not defined me. That my future is unwritten and the only thing I can influence is my present. It taught me what I can and cannot control, how to build healthy boundaries and to be aware of negative thoughts and their behaviours. This training now enables me to support others to also protect their emotional wellbeing by making mindfulness part of their everyday life.
So there it is, my ways to look after my emotional wellbeing.
I hope you too can find what helps and supports you.
I share the ways that I have found to help keep my recovery on track, so take a look at the Blog under emotional wellbeing. Hopefully you can find a few things to help you too.