Not every survivor remembers the date it happened. However, for the ones that do, these dates can be terrifying reminders of the past.
Personally, my traumaversary is Oct 29th. I started making plans for how to handle it 3 months in advance. Planning ahead, as far as you can, is probably a good thing to do.
If you’re in college, talk to your professors. See if you can be excused from class that day, complete work due that day ahead of time, stuff like that.
If you’re able to, see if you can take off work that day, or if nothing else, just give a heads up to your boss that you may not be at your best.
Remove temptation. If you’re worried you may hurt yourself that day, go ahead and get rid of the things you could do so with. Even if it is only asking a friend to hold on to them until you’re feeling better. This is not a sign of weakness, it is not you being a burden. It is you realizing that it probably isn’t going to be a good day and you don’t want to relapse if you can help it. It is a big step, and I am super proud of you.
See if people are willing to check in with you. Whether it be a phone call, a text, a facebook chat, or coming to hang out with you- it is nice to know that people are going to be there for you on that day.
Prepare. Make food before hand or have things that can be mircrowaved, have ‘easy’ clothing sets ready, You may surprise yourself and that day be perfectly okay- but it’s better to have things on hand just in case.
Leave nice notes for yourself. Or have a friend help you. Especially if you think the day is going to be really rough. Having a note on the fridge, the bathroom mirror, the door… Little ‘remember, you can make it through this. I believe in you’ and various things can wonderful.
The Day of:
Be kind to yourself. It isn’t your fault if you’re upset or angry or spend all day crying. It isn’t your fault. There is nothing /wrong/ with you for reacting. You are a human being who has been through terrible trauma and anyone who judges you for how you heal is ignorant and cruel. There is also nothing wrong with you if the day goes perfectly well and you aren’t affected at all. It doesn’t mean that what happened wasn’t terrible. It just means you’re at a different place in your journey.
Know that you’re in control. You’re allowed to be alone that day if you want. You’re allowed to surround yourself with friends. You’re allowed to go out in public. You’re allowed to stay at home. Do not feel like you have to do one thing or another. Your main concern on this day should be you. Even if you make plans, you’re allowed to change them. Just because you decide a week in advance that you’re going to do plan A doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to throw that to the wind and do something else on that day.
Memorialize it. Now this is a personal choice, not everyone -wants- to make their trauma dates into memorials and that is a-okay. But for a lot of us, it is about taking back that day and turning it into something new. Get a tattoo. Plant a tree. Go sky diving. Go to a theme park and ride roller coasters all day. Anything that you could look back on that date and go ‘I did it.’
Self Care. Take a day for self care. Watch terrible romantic comedies/sci-fi flicks/horror movies all day. Take a bubble bath. Spend time with friends who love you. Drink your favorite tea/coffee. Go to the humane shelter and pet dogs/cats. Whatever it is that you think would make you feel better? Do it.
Make something. Follow your own emotions with it. Paint. Draw. Sculpt. Even if you’ll later destroy it. Even if you finish it- you immediately rip it apart or set it on fire. At least you got it out of your system.
Give back. I know plenty of survivors who choose to spend their anniversaries volunteering in one way or another. Go through your closet and donate old clothes to a shelter that helps survivors. Make a care package with a letter to donate to a women’s shelter- pass on encouragement and advice.
Whatever you choose to do, in whatever combination- be easy on yourself. Take a moment every now and then to check in with yourself, and ask if you’re okay.
No matter what, I want you all to remember that I believe in you. You made it through the trauma, and you can make it through this. And I’m not saying that to silence your pain.
Your pain is valid. Your hurt is valid. You are valid.
Take care of yourself, okay?
This, children, is how we used to connect to the internet.
this gif should be slowed down immensely for accuracy.
I can hear the sound as I watch this and it makes me want to scream.
my god yes
OH GOD I AM HAVING FLASHBACKS