Components of Resilience: Creativity & Adaptability

This is part four of a series of posts dedicated to breaking down components of resilience. The series is an elaboration on a post I made in 2015, continued now as part of the June 2016 Carnival of Aces on Resiliency. In part one of this series, I covered tenacity. In part two, I covered affect management and positive frameworks. In part three, I covered support network and discernment.

In this final post, I will cover creativity and adaptability. Compared to most of the other items, these two are fairly self-explanatory. Since I don’t have to focus on giving an overview, I’ll be focusing more on my own experiences this time. Warning: I will discuss parental abuse, including some major privacy violations, and invalidation/gaslighting. I allude to but do not mention other kinds of abuse, but mostly it’s just general trauma/recovery talk.

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Components of Resilience: Affect Management & Positive Frameworks

This is part two of a series of posts dedicated to breaking down components of resilience. The series is an elaboration on a post I made in 2015, and is continued now as part of the June 2016 Carnival of Aces on Resiliency. In part one, I introduced the series and covered tenacity. In this post, I will cover affect management and positive frameworks.

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Resilience through fiction, or that time I wrote a vampire novel that was secretly about trauma

This post is for the June 2016 Carnival of Aces, which is on the topic of “Resiliency.”

Content warnings: discussion of trauma and violence (sexual and not), mentions of substance abuse and suicidality and self-harm, all in the context of talking about a work of fiction

Between 2008 and 2011 I wrote the longest piece of writing (fiction or non-fiction) I’ve ever produced–a 133,472 word, 251 page (single-spaced) vampire novel.  I poured most of my creative energy into it for 3 years and then just hid it away in my hard drive.  I returned to it recently, when I mentioned in a conversation to a friend and suddenly became intensely curious whether it held up or not.  For the terminally curious, I liveblogged my reread, but this is not really a post about the vampire novel I wrote (thank goodness–no one wants to read about that).  Instead, it’s a post about resilience, how the vampire novel I wrote helped me process a lot of the things going on in my life, and the extent to which I can gauge how much I have grown and changed by looking back on it.

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Friday Question: Coping Skills for Different Situations

Maybe one barrier to identifying positive coping skills is that when people ask “how do you cope?” in general, without specifying any kind of situation or feeling that we’re coping with, it doesn’t paint a concrete enough picture in our minds for the things that we do in different situations to become clear. So I think it may be helpful instead to have a specific situation or feeling in mind that you’re trying to cope with, and write down ways that help you deal with just that particular case.

What are the coping skills you use when…?

– You feel depressed, sad, or lonely?
– You feel angry, resentful, or frustrated?
– You feel anxious or panicked?
– You feel dissociated or have a flashback?

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An Ace Survivor’s Manifesto

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.

Responsibility for my assault(s) lies with my attacker(s), not me, my sexual orientation, my relationship decisions, or my attitude toward or willingness to have sex.

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.

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When Sexual Abuse Comes in the Form of Words

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.

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When there never was any “before”

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.

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