Living Re-Connected-Part One, by Emily Jacob.
Foreword by RSVP: We are delighted to welcome Emily as a guest writer 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like counselling) still struggle to connect with their bodies and with the social element of life, feeling isolated, withdrawn, dissociative and socially anxious.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 Emily’s blog below.
“There was a time when I didn’t know what the point of life and living was. It’s not like that anymore because I have discovered the route map to living a reconnected life. It wasn’t straightforward, I had to go searching. I got lots of help, initially; but not really. I did the things you’re supposed to do. I went to victim support. I went to the Havens. I went to the Women and Girls network. I got some one-to-one counselling, I graduated to the group therapy programme.
I thought I was better, because I’d taken my medicine. I wasn’t better. I was still numbing every emotion, through every conceivable way. Food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, prescription and otherwise. Cutting. I became a workaholic, working 12-14 hour days 7 days a week. I had a meltdown, a breakdown, maybe a breakthrough. The medicine was prescribed again: one to one counselling, group therapy. And this time when it ended, I knew I wasn’t better yet. And so because I’m a privileged middle class white girl who at the time had a job with health insurance, I jumped through every hoop I could to get access to actual psychiatric care. Which I had for 18 months, and which saved my life.
Except it also didn’t. Because after, when I was discharged, and told I wasn’t mental anymore, I still didn’t have a clue how to be in this world, this world that had betrayed me so badly. I went searching for more answers, and it was only on that journey that I started to understand how to move forward, believe in myself, and put myself back together again.
I felt ungrateful. I’d overcome (most of) the negative coping behaviors. I’d started sleeping through the night. I didn’t have panic attacks anymore. I was even weaning myself off the anti-depressants. I’d had some amazing help that had ‘cured’ me to the point I could say I was ‘in remission’, or even ‘recovered.’ Plan B became more theoretical, more a memory of a possibility, it became far from the real intention it had been. And, yet, I didn’t know how to do life, I didn’t know how to be.
With the apparent cure in place, I remained totally frustrated that I still didn’t feel ‘right’, I didn’t feel like I ‘belonged’ in the world, I still felt ‘broken’ and ‘fragile’. I didn’t trust my cure, I didn’t feel connected to anyone or anything, not even myself.
I thought this is just the way life is going to be. One day at a time. Surviving. Better than before, because no panic attacks, but still, not whole, not really living. Surviving.
At about the same time as being discharged from psychiatric treatment, I took voluntary redundancy and started my own business. As part of that, I wanted to add coaching, so became qualified, adding the NLP toolset along the way. What I found was, that in learning how to help other people, I was actually also learning how to help myself. I was learning how to start to feel connected to the world, to dreams, to future plans, to me, again.”
To be Continued in Part Two.
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!