What are some forms of self-care for you that people don't typically suggest/encourage or think of as self-care? - Are there things that you do to take care of yourself that you've had a hard time recognizing as a form of self-care? Have any of your needs gone unmet because of this? - Are there things that others often suggest as self-care that just don't work for you? What are they, and do you know why it is they don't work for you? If you can articulate that, it may help with explaining to those people why they should stop suggesting that to you, or possibly help you figure out what it is that you need instead. - Is it helpful for you to, as Miri put it, "distinguish between the self-care we do to replenish and sustain ourselves, and the self-care we do to prevent ourselves from falling to pieces completely"—in other words, to think about self-care very differently depending on what you need in the moment? What kinds of self-care work better when you need to replenish/sustain, and which work better when your goal is to just keep yourself together?
I am allowed to occupy space in the universe, regardless of how “difficult” or “complicated” or “messy” I may be. I am allowed to identify as a survivor or a victim or something else entirely. I am allowed to identify as asexual, even if I don’t know whether past experiences “caused” or “contributed to” my asexuality. I am allowed to use the words that work best for me. I am not required to defend my sexual orientation because of my status as a survivor. I am not required to defend my status as a survivor because of my sexual orientation.
One aspect of CSA that I don't see discussed very often is sexually charged verbal abuse. My experience with this is as a CSA survivor specifically, but I could also see where it could potentially be an issue for adult survivors of sexual violence well. In my own experience, the sexualized verbal abuse I was subjected to has actually been one of the hardest aspects to recover from long term.
Not every trauma survivour has had a life before the trauma/s. It can have happened/started in early childhood and/or there may be no memories of a life before or independent of trauma. Even for people where there was a “before”, recovery is not about going back to that state, especially not if the “before” was a long time ago, in childhood or in a completely different stage of life. We know it’s hard. Having to figure out everything new, what is a healthy coping mechanism and what’s not doing me good, how does a healthy relationship work/feel, what are my likes, interests, needs, skills, beliefs. What is my personality, who am I and what is really me and what is “just” due to trauma. This is hard to figure out and painful to even have to adress in the first place. But it’s possible.
People seem to think that therapeutic art is always about expressing your pain and negative feelings. While drawing out images of exactly what the pain and terror of abuse feels like can be cathartic and hugely helpful, art that is about joy, comfort, beauty and color can act as a sort of refuge.
Resilience is the ability to recover from really tough, painful situations. But there's so much more depth to it than that. There are several components that are thought to contribute to overall resilience. Each of these is a skill that can be developed, or a practice that's built up based on skills that can be developed. This isn't the kind of thing that you either have or you don't. Everyone has some degree of resilience. And it's something you can always improve.