This week we wanted to follow up on last week’s blog post. Cofounder, @demarieluv reflected her experiences with PTSD related to surviving sexual assault. These realities are far more common than we might think. That being said, this week we wanted to bring you some ways we have activated our faith in healing through different coping mechanisms.
Read more to find out these unique coping mechanisms we have personally tried and others that might help you or someone you know “coping with triggers.”
Healing looks different for everyone; although both Cristal and myself experienced sexual assault, our journey for contextualizing such an experience is explained in this week’s blog post.
I mentioned last week, how there were moments earlier in my journey of healing where I feared leaving my house. My triggers varied from seeing certain images that were related to my attack, or certain scents that reminded me of a pain I was trying to run away from. It took a lot of support and also strength to be able to not only identify these triggers but be able to cope with them amidst trying to move on with my life. I was blessed enough to work with a therapist that I trusted to help me through this phase of healing, that gave me tools to help cope with PTSD better. She explained , and I will again, reiterate the fact that everyone’s healing looks different. The way that I cope with triggers from my past may not be helpful or useful to those who aren’t at that particular step in their journey, (and that’s okay). That being said, I believe it’s incredibly important that you navigate the spectrum of resources that are out there for you to better assimilate yourself back into the world. We aren’t meant to flourish, and spread wings that were kept captive in a cacoon of fear, and pain. We CAN live a happier life without the debilitating effects of PTSD.
So....I continued to see my therapist for a couple of years about a couple times a month and it was vital in my faith to not only pair worldly coping devices, but also tap into my strength found within my faith in Jesus Christ. I was able to combine the two, and it worked best for me.
I was able to use God‘s word as my foundation while actively trusting in my faith through my work in therapy.
When I didn’t have the means to see a therapist, I spent a lot of time in prayer and spoke with someone who understood from experience (that being Cristal).
I didn’t however, want to be dependent on another person when I was feeling attacked again...God would tell me that “in my weakness HE is my strength.” And in order to trust that voice I had to holster myself up on His Word, I had to be my own heroin when I couldn’t reach out to others out pride or guilt that I was burdening someone else. I had a choice to make. I was going to either heal for ME, or wait for some to save me.
I still to this day actively use my tools for coping include the following:
• daily affirmations/ mantras
•”tapping” method of meditation
Meditation was a bit like prayer to me. As a good friend of mine once said “prayer is our time speaking to God, while meditation is God speaking to us.” (J.C.)🙏🏽
It’s something that was equally spiritual in essence and practical for coping with uncontrollable triggers. I spent a lot of time during my sessions of therapy strengthening my focus on a place that was “safe” for me to go to mentally when anxiety, PTSD, and depression overwhelmed my life. Physical exercise shares the same principles of mental exercise ; if you don’t condition your body or mind enough it will remain weak.
Sexual assault not only attacks the body, but such an experience attacks one’s mind as well. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I was that no matter where I was, no matter how uncontrollable circumstances seemed; I had complete control over where my mind went during these moments, as well as what I chose to focus on in times of fear.
My mental safe space is so vivid now, that when I feel danger, I assess those feelings disregard the I irrational ones; and calm myself through some form of meditation.
If I’m in a public place, and I can’t close my eyes or be in a comfortable seated position, I speak mantras of peace, of love, of security over my life until the only focus I have is on those positive words, sayings, or scriptures. Over time, the triggers lessen in intensity, and I can carry on acknowledging what was, and moving past what is not. 😌
I will disclose that this isn’t a quick fix. There might be times of frustration, of anger, or of helplessness when introducing yourself to the strength embedded in you. Please know...the strength IS THERE! I am seven years removed from what I would consider the worst experience of my life...trauma no one should face, but they do. People are still hurting and are being hurt as I write this. This reality compels me even more to say, you CAN SURVIVE THIS, yes, even this. The hurt that keeps on hurting doesn’t have to be the end, but the force that opens the door towards an inner strength you never thought you had—its in there, and we can discover it together.
I have faith in you, because I believe in a GOD, who is faithful...and who showed me that amidst such pain is glory on the other side.
My reflections for this week’s blog post compelled me to ask, “How many of us had a blanket or toy growing up that we just couldn’t live without?” It made it difficult to let go of; that snuggle blanket that automatic sense of comfort you recieved on those scary nights or that toy/doll that you just couldn't leave the house without?
Post-rape, and dealing with PTSD left me afraid to even leave my house. I wouldn't go out unless I had to which was only for work, school, or other family events. I made sure no matter what that I would get back home before sunset afraid that my rapist would be out to hurt me once again. My fear motivated me
to move from LA to NYC. I rationalized in my head, that if I left my pain, it couldn’t follow me. Moving away from my triggers was the best solution for me at the time, (so I thought).
Even after moving to NYC, I was still afraid. I left my safety-blanket; I was away from family and anyone that could really protect me.
A friend moved with me and I'm so grateful for that bit of familiarity; but at the end of the day, fear still ruled my life, and I didn’t feel safe in my own skin. in addition to being assaulted, I was told by doctors that I was diabetic a couple of months
before getting raped, and thoughts that my own body was no longer safe or healthy worsened the triggers occupying my mind.
The triggers suffocated the majority of my faith in God. I thought, “if I was seconds from
losing my life when rushed to a clinic because I was was diabetic, then why God, would you give me a second chance that would lead to being assaulted by a ‘friend’ leaving me broken, to the point of wanting to take my own life?"
I was not trying to ask GOD to help me and protect me because I oftened wondered “Why didn't you protect me that night?" So, NO, I have not always trusted GOD will my full heart, but I always some how knew that trusting GOD was the only way.
Yes, I’ve been through ups and downs in my process to healing, yes, I questioned GOD because of my trials and felt I lost my faith of who GOD was and what God can do in my life; but I committed to attending my church TRUE LOVE WORSHIP Center.
One day, during a bible study we spoke on "choosing your friends wisely," I then realized my purpose, and how GOD would turn what the devil meant for bad into good.
I continued to channel my fear and negative thought patterns into God’s word, which was becoming my new security blanket.The power of God became real to me through Psalm 6:10. The day my trigger became my reality; I came face to face to my rapist at a fashion event in Las Vegas. I trusted GOD that I can move forward that I didn't need anyone to really be there to protect me but that all I had to do is trust God and the plan HE had for me; including confronting my worst fear of all.
Let me tell you...I walked past my rapist, making eye contact as I prayed Psalm 6:10. Psalm 6:10 says:
All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
and they were! The man who assaulted me turned in shame amidst that crowded space, and left me alone in my peace, in my VICTORY.
I didn’t breakdown, I didn’t run, I felt safe for the first since that experience in front of the man who was responsible for taking advantage of our friendship, and my life.
I can’t explain to you thebfreedom God gave me, when He SHOWED UP; and turned my triggers intonTRIUMPH. Coping with my triggers through His Hold Word transformed me from VICTIM TO VICTOR" the devil lost any battle he though he had going. It took me 4years to win a victory walk, go out with no fear and really start a healing process that will take a life time of continued prayer that those spirits of fear don't interfere with me living MY life. I claim that I'm healed and set free; but we must continue to pour into our life and speak life into ourselves. We must continue to walk on the life thatGod intended INSPITE of what we’ve gone through, and what continues to shake us; we were Made to live in our WHOLENESS—and we can do so together!
Till Next time Survivors...sending you
Love and solidarity,
DevinMarie & Cristal Lowe 💗
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