Dear friend with cPTSD,
a lot of processes push us to feel what is not ready to be felt.
It's okay when it's not time to feel. There are times where I will say, "holy shit, this is way too big for me to feel with agency and a felt sense of safety right now, I'm going to go distract myself." and that's OKAY. There's awareness in that.
you do not EVER have to re-experience the trauma again.
One of the feelings I never have to go through again? LIFE OR DEATH OVER STUPID SHIT. My body still goes into life or death zone over a photography job or yoga teaching or social outings etc. I never force my body to feel into that. Part of getting integrated in the present moment means saying, "Yeah, that's an abusive sensation. I will not be allowing my body to experience abusive sensations anymore." HOT DAMN DAMN STRAIGHT!!!!!
THEN you feel what you can in appropriate doses.
for me, it's one photography job a month and ALWAYS the ability/the option to cancel because IT'S NOT LIFE OR DEATH. Once a month gives me time to feel discomfort in my body without overwhelming me. It gives me time to do the thing, integrate what I've done, and return to a full and complete sense of safety and self. It gives me time to reflect, reorient, and decide what is in my range next.
BECAUSE I NEVER EVER HAVE TO FEEL ABUSIVE SENSATIONS AGAIN. not even to heal them.
I JUST want to be in the present moment. Fully here. Fully engaged with what ACTUALLY IS. totally present with you, my body, my nervous system, our connection, my job, etc. My healing journey has nothing to do with re-experiencing the depths of my trauma.
I just want you to know it's okay and wildly appropriate to often say NO to a sensation. To say, "this is too much for my body and I need ample time to engage with this in small doses. In the meantime, I'm going to honor the coping mechanisms that are keeping me safe, while being aware that they are coping mechanisms."
Going into a flashback is not healing, and feeling our bodies will always have us walking that fine line because our bodies were like little tea bags steeped in abuse. <3
Little doses of discomfort, my friend. Little doses of feeling with agency. Little doses of wild challenges. Little doses. And those little doses gradually (and sometimes rapidly) bloom into a technicolor radiant fully embodied experience of this wonderfully safe present moment.
My little doses have not stunted my growth in any way. My choices to say no to feelings too big in order to avoid retraumatization has created radical trust in myself and my body. My awareness of coping mechanisms delights me and eventually the coping mechanism becomes a cheap substitute and I'm SO ready to feel what's underneath it.
My little doses gave me my yoga teaching job, and my little doses have created a sense that this is part of my calling in life. Little doses gave me a photography job yesterday, and little doses kept me from adding another photography job on after it.
You are safe here now.
You do not have to experience the abuse again.
You get to choose what you feel with a sense of agency and radical self compassion, nonjudgment.
You are your own wise guide.