Living Re-Connected-Part Two, by Emily Jacob.
Foreword by RSVP: We are delighted to welcome Emily as a guest writer on part two of talking about her journey to feel fully reconnected after sexual violence. Here at RSVP we know how vital it is to promote recovery and thriving by encouraging survivors to connect with their mind and feelings, and with their bodies too, since sexual trauma impacts on every aspect of the self. Many survivors (even after receiving other support services like counselling) still struggle to connect with their bodies and with the social element of life, feeling isolated, withdrawn, dissociative and socially anxious. This is why we have social groups to promote well-being, physical activity, holistic interventions and relaxation techniques with survivors. We offer five social groups every month enabling survivors to take part in a variety of free activities such as Tai Chi, bowling, yoga, cinema trips and meals out; we offer a monthly coffee morning and a weekly craft group too. All have turned into an important way that survivors can rebuild well-being, increase social activity and make new friends. Read more about our social groups here: https://rsvporg.co.uk/services/free-social-groups/ and enjoy the second part of Emily’s blog below.
Continued from part one.
I was feeling empowered, the kind that comes from within, and isn’t found at the bottom of a bottle of wine.
My mind was ready; my body was not. It seemed to want to stay in the hyper/hypo yo-yo, it wanted to sleep and collapse after any minor excitement. It was becoming my Achilles heel, and I resented it more than ever, holding me back, preventing me from doing everything my head now said I could.
Then, one evening, completely unexpectedly, something clicked. I was at a women’s retreat, the kind where you do lots of intensive & challenging internal personal work, not the kind where you have face masks and massages. It was an exercise in connecting with our inner vitality, our inner soul animal. I watched everyone connecting with tigers, lions, dancing, moving. And yet I was trapped, I couldn’t move; I was locked, frozen, in position. The tears started rolling down my face. I realised: I hadn’t forgiven my body for what had happened to me. My mind and my body were completely disconnected.
Up until that point I’d been dealing with symptoms and trying to control conscious thought. And although this had undoubtedly saved my life, what I really needed to do, was make peace with my body and start living as a whole human being again.
I’d found the missing piece to my recovery.
I have been working hard ever since, slowly reconnecting my mind with my body, my body with my mind.
The decision to use this knowledge, and my new skills, to help other survivors was one I resisted for a long time. Although I wanted to do something meaningful with my life, I didn’t want to make rape the focus of my life. I didn’t want to be defined by that one, devastating event.
I’d spent years and thousands of pounds trying to make sense of it all, trying to feel whole again. I knew the coaching skills combined with my real-life experience of different therapies and my own recovery could be a powerful combination to help others. But I didn’t want to.
And then I met Deborah. Deborah had no access to help and was on a waiting list for therapy. She’d lost friends, struggled with work and felt completely isolated. It broke my heart. And her story is not unique.
I spoke to other rape survivors and found that they all felt the same disconnect that I did. The same hopelessness. They too felt that coping was enough. Getting through the day was just about as good as it gets.
So, I decided I had to do something about it. I started to share my strategies and knowledge, gradually helping others to re-connect the dots in their minds. They began to make profound changes, which previously they felt were impossible. I loved the feeling of being able to have an instant, positive impact on someone else’s life.
Everything slowly started to make sense. I realised that my life did have a purpose, and that I couldn’t possibly leave these women to struggle alone.
Finally, I had something to fight for. Something to live for. Today, I no longer see myself as a rape survivor. Because to survive is to struggle. To fight, every day. I’m more than that. My life is blossoming. I feel revived. I can see light pouring into the cracks and drowning out the shadows. Of course, there are still occasional dark times, dark thoughts. Moments of despair. But I know that they will pass. And that’s more than good enough for me. They serve as a handy reminder of just how far I’ve come.
But the greatest pleasure for me, comes from knowing that one day, you will feel this way too.
Emily founded ReConnected Life http://reconnected.life/ to help survivors shed the shame and self-blame, and move forward with their lives. Through the ReConnected Life Experience http://reconnected.life/experience/ Emily guides survivors through their recovery path from surviving to living. And in the ReConnected Life Community http://reconnected.life/community a sanctuary of safety, understanding and compassion has been created with women helping women, healing each other. She’d love for you to join them!