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  • Kami Nuttall

From trauma to self-care

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

The impact of rape and sexual trauma can be so many things, and every woman, person will respond differently to their trauma depending on their coping strategies and ideas (often limiting beliefs) about self-worth, anxiety and stress.

We go about navigating the world and our experience of it through the magnifying effect of our personal lens. Our lived experience will inform, perhaps even shape that lens. Added to that mix, rape and sexual trauma, at its very centre being intrusive, harmful, toxic, violating, it can amplify one's existing response mechanisms - whether or not the response mechanisms are perceived to be helpful or damaging to our already formed ideas of self-worth.

The thing is, this sort of trauma doesn't go away. It persists. It is like grief, the loss of something intensely personal, which becomes a lifetime struggle to reclaim, but worked around, coped around so that one can learn to live with it, if that is what it can be called - living with it. Learning to live with the absence of something that is so fundamental to one's wellbeing, that has been violated at its core, ripped away, left raw. That 'something' core will be individual to each person - and it will be around the theme of self-worth, the idea of self, worthiness, self-belief, love.

Our idea of 'self' develops from a very young age, ideas of 'self' formed from the very environment into which we are born and through which we live, constantly navigating messages from which we learn what is right, what is wrong, what is acceptable, what is unacceptable. Add to this mix the type of trauma that hits us at the very core of our being - we may feel damaged, not quite right, unaccepted, not believed, not enough. Our lens becomes skewed, through no fault of our own.

Trauma has the power to impact our health and emotional wellbeing, our behaviours and how we go about our daily routines, what we believe to be true about ourselves, as well as others around us, our job and our ability to cope with pressure, relationships and much, much more. For some the trauma remains raw, for others they place layers over it, hoping the plaster stays put, intact.

You might be getting to the point of asking, well what is the answer? The answer to trauma, in my humble opinion, has to be self-care. Self-care has to be a decision, followed through by activities that reinforce and shape personal ideas around self-worth and worthiness, self-belief, self-love.

What is self-care? It is many things and an ongoing process - designed to uplift us from the shadows that engulf us.

Self-care has to be deliberate, it can be anything from eating healthy and well, feeding our bodies the right nourishment, to massage, fitness, meditation, to building our self-confidence, our self-worth through daily affirmations - creating expectations and habits that something better is here right now or on its way, helping us shape a better lens through which we navigate our respective realities.

Self-care is an investment, a mitigation against anxiety and stress, a panacea to trauma, ultimately Strengthening and Helping how we Empower our Resilience. SHER.

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