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There is no one size fits all Roadmap through Complex Ptd into recovery. Everything that impacts us does so as a unique individual. The good news is there are ways we can know what our one next step to take on our recovery journey will be, and it's also possible to have the resources we need at our fingertips.
Reading a recent advertisement online claiming to have “the” way through Complex Ptsd Recovery, I shuddered. For me, this “one way” claim brought back too many memories of too much money spent on therapies and services, both modern and alternative, that have just never lived up to their claims. 
 
Then the questions in our Peer Support group came about a couple of other well known names. I took a peak at their websites and was horrified. Websites that claimed “one way” through Ptsd were now adding on “& Complex Ptsd” to their webpage titles. In these instances uninformed life coaches who’d written courses for Ptsd were now assuring visitors it covers Complex Ptsd too.  
 
Let’s be very, very clear. Trauma Informed is not Trauma Educated. Complex Ptsd is not the same as Ptsd. Life Coaching is not Trauma Educated. Therapists are not Trauma Educated unless they’ve done continued Education.

For me, it became abundantly clear years ago I needed more than the average therapist.  I sat explaining to my then therapist “look, I’m functioning externally, have a part time job, kids, husband, home, but there is something wrong inside of me. I don’t know what, and I’m asking for help.” They looked at me and replied “you’re doing better than any of my other clients, you’ll be fine.” I can’t begin to explain the pain of having to get up out of the chair, putting on the sunshiny smile, the mask of strength, and having to return to pretending “everything’s fine, I can manage.”

 
AND I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE IN THIS EXPERIENCE.

 

“Recovery takes place within the context of relationships; it doesn't happen in isolation. To believe we are better off alone is a Trauma Response."

Linda Meredith, Certified Trauma Recovery Coach

Even if you haven’t experienced a major loss, we’re all hit with a set of assumptions and expectations this time of year. That we should black out our calendars for holiday events with people we may not be all that excited to see. That we should be available to participate in activities that can be really draining. That we should spend money. Lots of money. And, all the while, that we should be full of joy.
 
So what if you’re not? 
What if, you’re feeling lonely and hurt? What if, like me, you’re aching in grief as you remember the loss of someone beloved?
 
If this is a difficult time of year for you, understand that you’re not alone. The holidays are in no position to create a happy ending where none exists.
 
WHICH IS WHY I WANT TO OFFER THESE FOUR SUGGESTIONS TO THOSE WHO NEED THEM:
1. TURN OFF THE CHRISTMAS CAROLS IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE MOOD, AND DON’T GO TO THAT PARTY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO.
Because you don’t have to get into the holiday spirit. You don’t have to feel the way others tell you to feel. You only need to care for yourself and offer yourself to others as best you can.
 
The fact is, trying to repress your true feelings and appear cheery and grateful when you’re actually suffering doesn’t really work.
 
2. IF YOU’RE GRIEVING, UNDERSTAND THAT THE PAIN ASSOCIATED WITH IT IS PERFECTLY NATURAL.
Grieving hurts so vividly because it’s a wail of aching love, repeated to infinity. In this wailing is an opportunity to acknowledge our losses and remember those who have been taken from us. It’s also an invitation to stand in solidarity with those who have experienced similar pain, without shame.
 
3. IF THE SEASON IS MAKING YOU FEEL LONELY, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO REACH OUT TO SOMEONE. REACH OUT HERE IN GROUP WHERE YOU WILL BE MET WITH LOVE AND SUPPORT. YES, WE ARE A RECOVERY GROUP, BUT MIXED IN THERE, IS ALWAYS SUPPORT.
You might be embarrassed and feel the desire to self-isolate. The tendency to hide can increase amid the holidays because there’s so much pressure to appear “perfect.” We’re brought face to face with our imperfections, and this couldn’t be more true than with our relationships. Many people have strained or disconnected relationships with their families. Others find that, as the holidays approach, many of their friends aren’t really there for them.
 
Reach out so someone who can be there for you. Just one person
 
That friend who seems to get you even though you rarely see her? Give her a call. That teacher who stood by your side when your world was falling apart? Reach out to him.
 
4. IF THERE ISN’T A SPECIFIC PERSON YOU WANT TO REACH OUT TO, DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHOOSE TO BE ALONE WITH INTENTION.
Spending time in silence can actually cultivate confidence. It can allow you to observe your emotions more objectively and teach you the value of learning to enjoy your own company, instead of buying into the assumption that there’s something inherently wrong with spending time alone.
 
Step into nature and allow it to inform you. Journal your wounds onto the page. It can be hard, I know. 
 
But if you choose to stand in your brokenness, it will begin to lose some of its power over you.
NONE OF THESE ACTIVITIES WILL MAKE YOUR PAIN GO AWAY, BUT THEY WILL ENSURE YOU HAVE THE SPACE YOU NEED TO GRIEVE SAFELY AND IN A SPIRIT OF LOVE.
If we can just allow ourselves to be brave enough to express how we’re really feeling, this season could be a time for authentic connection and healing.
 
There are many times that I just couldn’t put on that brave face, but If I could do it over again, I’d tell myself exactly what I’d be much more confident in saying now: the truth.
 
I’d tell myself that every day in the Christmas season is profoundly painful for me. I wouldn’t try to make myself feel great by pretending to feel great.
 
I’d try to nurture myself to feel loved by being vulnerable. By feeling what I need to feel and being who I can’t help but be. And you can be too.
 
I know I speak for all of our admin team when I say that we hope you are taking good care of yourselves while continuing to take that one next step in your healing journey.

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