I was in two minds about attending the monthly survivor group today.
In one respect; I’ve not really been out. Driving to the next town, seeing old and new faces, hearing about trauma, partaking in the whole event felt like an arduous task and emotionally crippling. What if I was triggered? What if it pushed me down a darker hole?
In another perspective, it might make me feel less alone. It might make me reconnect with old friends, hear about their situations making mine seem more normal. It would be a task that I completed, an accomplishment. A shove in the right direction.
I wish someone could make the decisions for me sometimes. It is SO hard to know the right thing to do.
Fortunately there was a woman here at respite that listened to both sides and told me, I could go, try it, if I felt it was too much – I could retreat. There is no obligation to stay for the entirety of the group. And I agreed I could at least try half the day. She was able to focus on the positive aspects, unlike me, that as usual thinks of the worst case scenarios.
It ended up being the latter. I
- Brushed my teeth
- Drove to the group
- Stayed the entirety
OK, small things but considering how low I’ve been, they’re big accomplishments. And my body fought me all the way, sluggish and anxious. Trying to find reasons to get out of it.
Initially I felt alien sitting amongst faces. Everyone seemed to want to share and there was different energies around the room. I felt strangely both out of place and where I should be. I ignored the instinct to run back to my car. It’s time I said some of my thoughts out loud.
It was so nice to catch up with familiar faces and everyone was so warm and understanding. Not that I expected any different. They’re an amazing bunch of women, so compassionate and empathetic. Despite their own trauma, they’re always ready to offer support and advice. It’s such a privilege to be part of this amazing group.
I ended up sharing some things and although my own voice sounded strange to me, almost strained, the relief of sharing a weight was amazing. And the feedback I received was immensely helpful and supportive.
By the time I left, I felt nicely tired, like I’d achieved some level of peace.
I came back to the respite facility, in was raining and miserable but it was nice to return to the warmth and lights and even dinner was ready! A stark contrast to either the kids screaming at me (or each other) or the dark, cold welcome I’d receive being alone. Not that I don’t like my home, I love it. But I don’t trust myself to be alone. The rationale during the day is often gone in the middle of the night, after perhaps a few wines, which I’d no doubt treat myself too.
So I hope I’m able to sleep well tonight.
My case manager is coming to assess me tomorrow, but I’m back on duty on Tuesday as S goes away again until Friday 🙄.
Today was really hard, but I survived and feel better for it.