The inside of a tornado couldn’t be any busier than the thoughts in an abuse survivor’s mind. Ideas, memories, scenarios, anxieties, fears, issues, and what-if’s are swirling around inside you all the time. Some of those are rational and logical. Others are so outrageous and off-the-wall that you are reluctant to share them. This can cause you to feel extremely isolated.
The sense of being alone, especially when your thinking is dark or anxious, can create almost unbearable pressure. Even if you have convinced yourself that you don’t need anyone, these are the kinds of thoughts that are trying hard to escape the confines of your mind and heart. The problem for many survivors is the way in which they permit that escape to take place without doing harm to themselves or others.
Abuse recovery involves finding your voice – finding ways to express your thoughts and needs that are appropriate and effective. This is especially important when tornado thinking isolates you and estranges you from finding support and understanding. The reality for many survivors is that support from others simply does not exist. Nonetheless, you still need support and sometimes, that support comes from within. As contradictory as that sounds, there are ways you can find an outlet when you simply have to unload what’s on your mind.
Consider using these techniques to move your dark, anxious thoughts from your interior world to your exterior world.
- Keep a journal of your uncensored thoughts and feelings. Do not edit yourself or be concerned with what you should or should not be thinking. Do not write for an audience, write for yourself. If you are concerned about someone finding your journal, you might consider destroying your journal entry shortly after you make it. You might also consider keeping it in a secure location that only you can access.
- Put together a playlist of music that reflects your thoughts and feelings. Research both past and current music that expresses what you’re thinking and processing at the moment. Music helps to validate your thoughts and emotions and provides companionship during times of emotional isolation. As you put together your playlist, be sure to include music that will help you transition to a healthier place of hope and light. Allow the music to guide you through and beyond your current concerns.
- Keep a collage journal of images that are visually descriptive of how you feel and what your thoughts are. Thumb through magazines and newspapers for phrases and images that speak to you, then glue them into a spiral bound journal. Include your own photos if this is helpful.
- Consider talking to a trusted friend, a mentor or spiritual guide, or a professional therapist. This may not be possible for you, but using your voice and allowing others to come alongside you with your intense feelings and thoughts is a powerful resource, if available.
- Pray or meditate, focusing on the thoughts and emotions that you struggle with and drawing upon the spiritual strength that prayer and meditation can offer. Talking to God as a trusted friend in the same way that you would talk to a human counselor can be extremely comforting and empowering for some people.
If these do not sound like positive solutions for you, what creative solutions can you find to help you when you feel alone with your thoughts? What healthy and constructive things can you do to address your dark, anxious thoughts so that you do not harm yourself or others? Staying solution focused can help you to move forward in your journey beyond abuse.
Written by Sallie Culbreth, M.S. – Founder
Category: Roadside Assistance - Weekly Articles