A Trauma Survivors Guide to Surviving the Worst Case Scenario: A Self Esteem Building Toolkit
I laughed so hard at our family members blog post. I related deeply to how prepared we are as Trauma Survivors and laughed so hard because laughing at myself is a great gift. Come and join in the laughter and build some self esteem.
A trauma survivor’s (am I though???) guide to making the best out of a global pandemic: A self-esteem building tool kit
WELCOME FELLOW TRAVELER! I’m so glad you’ve joined me to read this manifesto for making the best out of the WORST situation! I am going to show you how your traumatized skill set has made you so fortunate in a global disaster. You’ve been preparing your entire life (LITERALLY YOUR ENTIRE LIFE) for this! I will list for you the ways that you can feel good about the horrible shit you’ve already survived in order to make it through this horror show.
1. We were right!
We were always preparing for the worst and now it’s here. Our fears have been realized.
Did “everyone” tell you were crazy for “catastrophizing” all the time? Did people tell you you were crazy for using so much hand sanitizer and washing your hands? WELL, guess what, fellow traveler, you’ve got this one right!
Everyone has to wash their fucking hands 100 times a day like Lady Macbeth now! No one’s calling you crazy. Our reality is external reality. Everyone must wash their hands and sanitize everything. Our hypochondriasis is a STRENGTH. We are going to come out of this healthy and viable. We already bought enough Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer to last a century.
TRUE STORY: When I was in college, I used to wipe down my dorm room with 1-inch alcohol swabs any time another person entered the space. I never told anyone about that until this moment. WOW! I was only about 10 years too early!
Self-esteem building activity: Write down all the ways you were preparing for worst case scenario and how they played out. Congratulate yourself on your omniscience.
2. We have always been in quarantine.
We are being told to isolate ourselves (HOORAY! Wait…I mean….Oh no…) SELF-ISOLATION IS AN ASSET PEOPLE. We were already doing that but it used to be considered “concerning” behavior. Now it’s “concerning” if we’re getting physically close to other people. We were already scared of people and now being scared of others is a directive! We get to feel better because now everyone has to stay away from us and we have to stay away from everyone. There is no shaming ourselves about not attending events out of fear because we can’t fucking go anywhere. We were built for sheltering in place. Talk about anxiety reduction. There’s no ambivalence to grapple with now!
Think about how amazing this is: We have been doing this our entire lives. We have felt disconnected and afraid of other people so we never want to go anywhere. Now it is a GOVERNMENT ORDER TO DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM OTHER PEOPLE. We don’t have intimacy issues! We’re being a good citizens! Congratulations!
Self-esteem building activity: Name all the ways that self-isolation feels easy to you. Give yourself credit for your strengths, bud.
3. Our hypochondriasis is normal
Wearing masks and gloves is normal attire. OMG guys!!! Everyone is a fucking hypochondriac now just like us! Everyone is worried about getting sick. People CROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET NOW instead of us having to do it first! People stay home when they are coughing and sneezing. We don’t have to internalize our anger at others for being so selfish by showing up places sick anymore and exposing us to their germs! Other people are policing other people for us! Everyone is angry as well and we get to avoid conflict! This is literally PARADISE. We get to spend so much time outside alone with no one bothering us because everyone is more scared than we are!
Self-esteem building activity: Name all the ways other people are making your life easier. You’ve got this!
4. Everyone has to do everything online. Our dreams have come true!
PEOPLE, WE GET TO DO ALL THESE THINGS WE NEVER THOUGHT WE WOULD DO BECAUSE THAT WOULD MEAN MAKING AN EFFORT! We get to attend online meetings in the comfort of our beds and don’t have to get dressed. We can be wearing the same sweatpants for days and no one knows—in fact, it is now socially acceptable because everyone else is sad and depressed. We are finally not the only ones who can’t get out of bed. We get to attend meetings, go to performances, talk with new people (maybe…), and build a life outside of the anonymity of Reddit.
Self-esteem building activity: Name all the new things you might try now that you don’t have to go anywhere to do them. Take one risk and attend a zoom meeting and say one word and then get off the call. HANG IN THERE AND HANG UP THAT CALL RIGHT AFTER YOU SAY SOMETHING! You go, girl (or guy or gender-neutral term!)
5. We don’t need to come up with new activities to entertain ourselves
We already sit in bed all day and watch Netflix. We spend lots of time in anonymous chatrooms. We play music alone. We eat meals alone. We know every podcast that exists on the planet. We do exercise on a mat next to our beds (WHO THE HELL GOES TO GYMS! EW OTHER PEOPLE! ENVY! SHAME! NO WAY). We are the experts now!
Self-esteem building activity: List all of the activities you have gotten to continue to do since you have been sheltering in place. Create a gratitude list for all of these activities that are exactly the same. NAMASTE!
6. We don’t have to ask other people for advice
THEY SHOULD BE ASKING US FOR ADVICE, IMO! We have got quarantine covered. We know all of the best solo activities for sheltering in place. We don’t need to get frightened of speaking to another person. We know what our normal routine is and we don’t have to change it! Get up. Stay in bed. Watch tv. Have a few drinks. Go to bed. It’s that simple!
Self-esteem building activity: Write up a list of activities that you do on a daily basis. Post it on an anonymous forum because actually sharing it with people you know would be too vulnerable and scary. Congratulate yourself for offering advice to other people.
Sadly, other people now might get a taste of the distress of being us trauma survivors. We have always been terrified of everything all the time. We never knew when the panic and horror would end. Now the entire world gets to feel our pain. While this manifesto is supposed to be funny…this part isn’t funny. We have largely felt alone in our pain. We never thought other people would understand how awful it is to be us but now maybe they do. Maybe we could all use this opportunity in understanding how truly awful it is to have complex trauma and to feel like other people can hurt us all the time.
I hope this manifesto can make others feel less alone.
Author: JULIE MARKOWITZ, ASW, LMSW, MBA
Julie’s Blog: https://juliemarkowitztherapy.com/blog
Used with Permission
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Self-abandonment cycle refers to a pattern of behavior where individuals neglect their own needs, emotions, and values in order to please others or to conform to societal expectations. This cycle can lead to feelings of low self-worth, depression, and anxiety.
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