Resource-Building for Healing Trauma: ‘Remember When I Did That?’
This photo was about four weeks AFTER in 2018. My husband helped pace me to a third-place, age-group finish. I was running on pure anger and adrenaline and determination and yelled, “Fuck Him!!!!!” inside my head when I crossed the finish line a second after this photo was taken. Or maybe I yelled it out loud. I don’t remember.
But it was very satisfying and I’m so appreciative of John for helping me achieve that. I felt incredibly empowered, and I still have that race result on my fridge five years later.
It was the first super-positive experience I had after I was sexually assaulted, and my trauma therapist and I used that experience in conjunction with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and other techniques to start building me back up. This included remembering concretely what it felt like in my body (sensations, feelings, emotions) when I crossed that finish line so that I can bring up those same sensations, feelings and emotions of strength and empowerment again when I need them. And we’ve added many, many other positive resources to my memory library since then!
I think there’s misconceptions about trauma therapy; it’s not only about processing the hard stuff, but about resource-building.
It’s important to cement and honor the successes we experience along our healing paths to draw from during hard times. We can do this with photos, ceremonies, alters, reminders on our calendars, bowls or jars with little notes, mosaics on the wall, notes on the fridge and doors, music that reminds us of a fun event, etc.
Anything that says, “Remember when I did that?”