She gasped to speak, forcing syllables out in rapid succession.
My heart ached to witness her pain.
Silently, I spoke from my heart to hers, holding her in a completely safe space.
You are safe. You are loved. You are free. You have all the support you need.
She made it here, despite debilitating anxiety, because she realized this was the anniversary of her rape.
Her conscious mind didn’t know, couldn’t remember, but her body was speaking with tremendous clarity.
The feelings had begun to ramp up again about three months ago. We realized this was the season she had first connected with the family friend who would traumatize her.
Through her courageous sessions, we had successfully eased her mind and heart and increased her self-confidence. She had made tremendous progress, but had now entered the epicenter of remembrance of the most traumatic event of her life. And she discovered that, right here, in the middle of the pain, there is tremendous power.
Once she had forced the words out and let the tears flow, she began breathing easier. This is when we created a plan to make this better for the rest of her life.
Now it’s your turn.
Here are the exact keys to easing stress on the anniversary of trauma, whatever that trauma might have been:
1) Honor your body’s message.
Even if it feels like you might drown, it is essential to let your innermost self know that you get it, that you are paying attention, and that you will find help. I promise that when you consistently listen and respond reassuringly, you will lesson the “2 x 4 effect.”
2) Assume a position of power.
This is where you take a stand to make this better. When you establish a fierce commitment to help the delicate parts of yourself navigate this time with greater support, you will find yourself relaxing and feeling healthier energy flow to you.
3) Ask for support from safe people.
This is not a time to go it alone. Contrary to popular belief, asking for help shows wisdom, strength and adaptability that can bring great resilience.
4) Write the date on your calendar as a time to nourish yourself.
I recommend noting the 10 day window around the anniversary to encourage advance preparation in future years. By committing to giving yourself extra self love during this time for the rest of your life, you will harness tremendous supportive resources.
5) Give yourself what you need in the moment AND pre-plan sweetness for the future.
Create a list of all the things that will feel nurturing to your spirit. Write down all the things you love to see, feel, taste, touch and hear, along with safe people you can reach out to in advance to support you with great love. Start a self-care box with sweet nothings to collect in preparation for the next anniversary.
6) Follow through.
Know that by doing so, you are proving to yourself that you are a trustworthy custodian of your own heart. In short order, you will find your trust in yourself grows and you will navigate future anniversaries with greater ease.
Do you have a special tip that has helped you ease stress on the anniversary of trauma? I would love to hear about it and help spread healing in the world!