I was chatting online with a friend who has also been through abuse and went through a weird reliving of the past. What prompted this was chit-chat about how we both didn’t sleep well.

I started describing how I felt as though, the night before, that I hovered just under wakefulness and didn’t feel rested, as though I was just floating, waiting for my alarm to go off.

She agreed, stating that she had the same experience the previous night, which also reminded her of when she and her former abuser and she fought most of an evening. She described not fully going to sleep, her body in a tensed “ready mode,” if she needed to fight again. She said she had awoke early and made it through the mid-afternoon before she started to feel the exhaustion. When she got home, she went into what she called the “trauma sleeps,” where her body was shutting down, sleeping for twelve hours or more.

Isn’t that amazing? She and I have had similar circumstances, so our bodies did things to protect us from, basically, over-heating and losing our minds. The fact that I described that and she confirmed it, is why it helps to have survivor friends that can directly relate. Well-meaning friends and family are wonderful, but they don’t always “get” why we are reacting the way we are or the nuances of our feelings. Many times they offer ignorant (but well meaning) advice like: “Get over it, you’re safe NOW,” or “See, it’s really not such a big deal anymore.”

You want to scream: I am working my hardest on not over-reacting, but it still is a big deal, because it impacted my life! But, we love these well-meaning people, so we don’t yell. We may, however, explain it instead. If we are moving toward healing, we NEED them to understand (or at least acknowledge) that we are trying our best. We need to be seen. Our survivor peeps see us. The celebrate with us. They were us, at one time, so they “get” us.

I’m amazed at the lengths that my body did go, to protect me. It disconnected my memory or perspective when I was being beaten, so I saw it as though I was watching a really screwed up movie. My brain blacked out portions of my abuse until I was ready to remember it. It has gone through so much, in being my mind’s protector, that I should be kinder to it. I should understand why my nerves are so frayed and why I experience fibromyalgia. It’s been very sensitive to ME.

Love and light and be kind to yourself! <3