If you are like me, you find staying in your home to feel a bit like being trapped. It’s far too dangerous to venture outside, but you are desperately needing to leave.
These feelings are too familiar and highly triggering for me, so I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who is just beginning their healing journey.
As children, we lived lives that many people would say wasn’t real. We were completely trapped in a situation where we couldn’t stay because of the abuse but we couldn’t leave because we were little.
While we are not exactly trapped in our situation with needing to shelter in place, some of you may be having flashbacks to horrible things that happened in the past.
I know I am.
However, it is important to us grounding techniques, such as those at the end of this piece, to keep us in today.
It may seem odd that I would mention personal hygiene in this piece, but it really isn’t strange at all. As survivors, many of us have a tough time climbing into the shower due to our trauma histories.
During our self-imposed isolation, it may be even harder to get into the shower and clean ourselves up.
I know it has been for me.
However, keeping our bodies, teeth, and hair clean is more than just how we look it is good for our overall health. If we don’t shower at least every other day, bacteria and yeast will build upon our skin and can cause a breakdown that can lead to a serious infection.
Again, use grounding techniques to help you. One grounding I have used is to wrap a calendar with the current month and year in plastic and hang it over the showerhead so you can see it as a constant reminder of today.
Just keep reminding yourself that this quarantine crap is temporary and will eventually end.
One vital way we can help ourselves is to give ourselves a routine and something to do. Just because you are not working right now or are stuck at home not doing what you want, doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself busy.
Get up the same time each morning and not sleep in past eight unless that was what you were doing before the pandemic. Eat at regular times, clean your home at the same time you would have, and keep track of family and friends.
I’m a bit of a nerd and love reading, writing (of course), doing algebra problems (I told you I was a nerd), calling people, talking to folks on skype or zoom, and attending virtual webinars.
This Too Shall Pass
I know living during a pandemic with a serious and life-threatening disease is harsh, but it will end. Some day in the near future the new cases of the novel coronavirus will peak and then go down throughout the world and things will return to normal.
The scientists are working very hard on a vaccine to keep corona from threatening mankind again, so don’t give up hope. Keep yourself safe by remaining at home and use both grounding and distraction techniques to make your days go better and with fewer flashbacks.
Above all else remember that you are not trapped. Yes, you and I must shelter in place to keep from catching the virus (and possibly dying) and to protect our families, friends, and the public.
It will end, this too shall pass.
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” ~ Michelle Obama
“Slowly, with many lost days, I come back to life.” ~ Suzanne Collins
“Life’s just a bunch of accidents, connected by one perfect end.” ~ Daniel C. Tomas
If possible, say out loud to yourself the following questions (If you cannot speak out loud, then say them in your mind):
Where am I?
What is today?
What is the date?
What is the month?
What is the year?
How old am I?
What season is it?
Physical sensations are important to ground ourselves. Try doing some of the following:
Hold a pillow or stuffed animal.
Hold a piece of ice in your hand.
Listen to music.
Name 2 things you can see in the room with you.
Name 2 things you can hear right now.
Pay attention to the movement of your abdomen as you breathe.
Sometimes a Visual reminder is needed to help stay grounded. Keep these items with you or within sight:
Pictures of important people in your life today.
A calendar with the current month and year.
A locket with a picture of someone important today.
The grounding techniques listed above are only the ones I have come up with. Choose what is best for you and keep adding to the list.