Being Resilient

By Kendra Holliday | December 10, 2017

Oh, the shame! 🙂

We all experience trauma at some point in our lives.

Our reactions can be

Fight

Flight

Freeze

and I propose a fourth –

Freak the Fuck OUT

When I feel threatened, I don’t usually fight. I usually run away or freeze. But I find that when I allow myself to FREAK THE FUCK OUT, I can recover more successfully.

For instance, if someone gets in a car accident and is in shock and gets rushed to the hospital, the medical staff will sedate the patient, which is numbing. The patient is not allowed to work through the trauma – it gets stuck.

I think when something bad happens to you, you should be allowed to freak the fuck out, or wallow in grief for a while. But then you have to make a conscious effort to Move Forward.

Being happy and healthy requires resilience.

A victim is someone who allows their past to dictate their current actions.

A survivor is someone who uses their past as a stepping stone to being stronger.

This mentality reminds me of addiction. As I’ve struggled this year with my drinking, I’ve studied many teachings, including Alcoholics Anonymous, and Moderation Management.

I was going down the AA path because I felt helpless and out of control – like a child. AA corroborated with that, espousing that alcoholics are powerless against alcohol. You have to surrender and give yourself up to a Higher Power in order to find your salvation.

I bought into that until I started reading the book Responsible Drinking. It offered a practical, shame free approach to a healthy relationship with alcohol. The part that shifted my entire lens is when they talked about the power of belief.

It’s not easy to change our beliefs and the habits that have evolved over many years. First we need that inkling. An inkling that all is NOT as it should be. Work your way through “I want to change” to “I can change” to “I’m changing now.”

I gave myself permission to be empowered. I leveled up in my personal growth process. It feels good.

Another thing I’ve taught myself is processing negative experiences quickly.

I think blogging and putting myself out there helped with this.

Years ago, if I got a nasty comment on my blog, it would sting, and it would haunt me all day.

Over time, I got used to it, and was able to process it quicker. So all day turned into all morning, then a couple hours, then an hour… nowadays, I still feel the sting, but I can move past it in about 15 minutes. That’s SO much more efficient!

Facing shame is also healthy. Anytime I have an experience and think, “I don’t want anyone to know about that!” I realize that I need to blog about it so that EVERYONE knows about it. Bringing it to the surface is so much healthier for me than burying it.

Like everyone else, I feel shame, but I process it faster than most people, I think.

I can be tender, but I have pretty thick skin!

My friend commented, “You don’t SEEM like you have thick skin. You’re soft and tender with people. I know you are tough like whoa, but I love that you aren’t hard on people. It’s a gift.”

Another superpower is being forgiving. Forgiveness lightens your emotional baggage load. So often, our parents intentionally and unintentionally hurt us when we are children. Those experiences shape us as adults. Forgiving them of their flaws and mistakes is a huge gift to everyone involved.

Paul Gilmartin of the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast always says, “All feelings are valid, there are just healthy and unhealthy ways of expressing it.”

Don’t bury or suppress your feelings. Find safe spaces to bring them to light and address all the fascinating layers that make you the person you are.

Kendra Holliday, Sex-Positive Activist

 

Comments

Paula 2017-11-28 15:40:06

Agreed…ya gotta face that monster at some point to have it transform and heal. One of the coping skills I help my sexual assault clients with is “The Container”. Most of the folks present with overwhelming symptoms of PTSD. Especially rough are the flashbacks. Because the flashbacks are trying to get their attention so they can heal, they need to give them attention, but they also have to function. When they are having a particularly tough flashback or emotion that can’t be dealt with in that moment, they are to imagine a container in their mind of their own design, but which has a lid. They hold the “thing” whatever is troubling them, in their hand and acknowledge it and tell it that they hear and see it, and that they will come back to it later (which they do but when they can handle it). They lift the lid and put it away for now, closing the lid. The opening and closing part is especially important. This gives voice to the thing that is needing it, and helps the person to work, drive, whatever they need to do temporarily. Severe trauma often needs guidance at a slower pace, in manageable bites.

Reply

    Kendra Holliday 2017-11-28 15:48:47

    Thank you for this! A “container” and safety measures in place can help people deal with their baggage on their own terms.

    Reply

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