recovery challenge

The brain does weird things when you deprive it of food.

And I don’t mean just calorically. Even if you’re eating 2000, 3000 calories a day in recovery, if they’re all safe, you’re still going to be obsessed with food and what you “can’t” have.

(AKA a friendly reminder to challenge yourself today.)

I am enough

This exact second, this very moment I am enough. It doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement - there always is. It doesn’t mean I’m perfect - I no longer try to be. But I am perfectly enough. I don’t need to change a thing to be worthy and deserving of love. All parts of me deserve recognition and acceptance. All flaws are welcome. All feelings are welcome. I no longer see myself as a damaged person in urgent need to be repaired. At every step of the way there will be things I can and want to work on - and I see that as a blessing, a chance to learn, to change, to grow. I choose to no longer see change as something threatening, but as a sign that I’m still alive. There’s no need for me to prove anything to anyone. It’s not a sign of me being strong if I have to control everything. I’m not going to get lost if I let go of that toxic habit. Letting go means trusting myself and the natural flow of life, something that is much bigger than me. I’m safe. I’m guided and full of trust. I’m enough. Even on days where I’m full of fear, doubt and self hate, I am enough. I’m opening up to receiving guidance on my journey. I’m deeply connected with myself, my needs and my intuition. I consciously choose love over fear as my teacher. I actively choose to team up with love and light, without ignoring that life has its dark sides as well. I don’t ignore my demons, but I don’t reject them anymore either. In order to let go of trauma, old pain and stuck energy inside of me I’m willing to see and give attention to those aspects of my being, to love these hurt parts, work with them and once it’s time, let them go and move on. I know I can and will heal. I’m ready to learn new ways of dealing with my old wounds and with stress that shows up in my life.

How to Establish and Maintain Healthy Boundaries

Be aware and in tune with your feelings. This sounds easy, but it can be really challenging; there are a lot of times where someone may ask something of you that will make you feel mixed emotions. Writing them down or speaking with someone you trust will assist you with defining your emotions. From there, you can determine what level and what kind of feelings you have with certain scenarios.

Know your limits and remember them. The best way to set boundaries is to know where you stand. If you’re too “wishy-washy” about your opinions or views on many things, it will be quite challenging to understand yourself. Once you’re able to have a solid understanding of where you stand on many things, including unpleasant situations, you’ll be one step closer to establishing and maintaining your own boundaries.

Speak openly and be direct. Try to avoid “maybe”, “but”, “possibly” and language that is too passive or malleable; if you have a habit of using words such as those, people will find a way to twist it to their favour. Especially if they can tell that your boundaries aren’t very well established.

Start small, as tiny victories lead to bigger progress in the long run. Much like any other skill you’ll learn in life, you have to start out small. If you start out trying something really big or daunting, you’re less likely to succeed because you won’t be used to it. Like anything that is challenging, you have to build yourself up first.

Build a support network. In order to decompress, it is essential to have a good group of peers, loved ones, family and people that will surround you with positivity; those who will respect your boundaries. It will be easier to keep building up your standards and support when you surround yourself with others who promote healthy relationships.

Make a list of what you want. This entails in every facet of your life (that you can think of). Write it down; this may take a while as it requires a lot of thinking. You have to think about your end goal and what long term goals you’d like to set for yourself. What are your desires? What do you want out of your interpersonal relationships?

Determine what you will never tolerate or put up with in your life again. Much like knowing your limits, this is crucial to building your boundaries. Even if it sounds abrasive at first; as long as you stick to what you will not tolerate, you will ultimately gain more respect for yourself and from those around you. It can feel daunting, but it can be done.

Write down how you’ll improve your boundaries. Start making a second list of stuff such as, “I want to strengthen my boundaries regarding finances by _________.” This could have as many options as you want such as budgeting plans, meal planning, making a limit of how much you’ll treat yourself, etc.

Don’t try to fix people or aid them through everything. Regardless of how much your heart may be in the right place, you aren’t everyone’s saviour. In fact, trying to fix others is usually a tell-tale sign of trying to gain other’s approval, love or attention. At the end of the day, however other individuals perceive you, they choose whether they want to better themselves or not. 

Develop self-respect and a healthy perception of yourself. This one is the most challenging because we’re always told that we could always improve somewhere in life; work, in physical appearance, mental health, diet, you name it. We’re told we have to fix it. Ditch that thinking right now. Find a way to express the things you love about yourself and what your strengths are, whether you draw it out, vocalize it or write it. Whatever your way is, start doing it.

Avoid red flags and warning signs in others. Even if you have the innate need to fix problems, remove yourself from people who have an ulterior motive. People with that kind of agenda will never have your best interests at heart and will ultimately use you for their own gain. On the flip side, it’s really easy to spot this a lot of the time, because individuals like this (typically) haven’t mastered the art of subtlety. The best way to know if there is an ulterior motive is if you avoid their attempts to engage you. They will become more shrill, obvious, desperate, insulting and in severe cases, abusive to make their point.

You can make your own choices. Unless you have a mental health issue/learning disability/neurological differences that prevent you from doing so, or you have a physical disability that ultimately hinders you from making active decisions, you can make choices. Do not feel like you owe anyone anything. Do not feel like you don’t deserve love or deserve to be mistreated. 

Be ready to walk away without fear or guilt. This is also just as challenging, but it is conducive to your own health to walk away from those who will violate your boundaries. 

Make yourself a promise. A promise to quit hand-holding, enabling, catering to others. You’re worth more than that. Promise to not be hard on yourself when you occasionally slip up or have a weak moment, because it is still part of your progress towards building and maintaining healthy boundaries.

Take care of yourself. When you have non-existent to minimal boundaries, you’re typically riddled with guilt once you’ve started making small victories. When this happens, immediately separate from the person or situation and take a breath, go for a walk, meditate, be in nature, etc. You must ground yourself after every time to ensure that you’re grounded and are not too focused on what happened. 

This is a recovery challenge for anyone dealing with trauma / PTSD. Feel free to do in your own time or every day, in a journal or on your blog, using writing, photos, or a mixture. Feel free to tag “ptsdconfessions” in any entries you put on your blog!

  • Day 1: What kinds of symptoms do you experience?
  • Day 2: What are some good things that have happened in your life?
  • Day 3: Is there anything your trauma stops you from doing?
  • Day 4: Does anyone else know about the trauma you experienced?
  • Day 5: Are there any books, movies, games, etc. that have changed how you view yourself / your trauma?
  • Day 6: Do you have trouble remembering aspects of the traumatic event(s)?
  • Day 7: If you could change the past so that the event(s) never happened, would you?
  • Day 8: What song best summarises your experience with trauma / PTSD?
  • Day 9: Do you feel that experiencing trauma has changed you?
  • Day 10: Write a letter to the cause of your PTSD.
  • Day 11: Are there any quotes that inspire you?
  • Day 12: Pay it forward. Do a random act of kindness.
  • Day 13: What kinds of therapy or self-help have you done?
  • Day 14: What’s the hardest thing about recovering from trauma?
  • Day 15: How does the event impact on your day-to-day life?
  • Day 16: Do you like to use fidget toys?
  • Day 17: What motivates you?
  • Day 18: Do you have any unhealthy coping mechanisms?
  • Day 19: What helps you get through the hardest days?
  • Day 20: Do you know anyone who has experienced something similar? If so, how do they cope with it?
  • Day 21: What things trigger your symptoms?
  • Day 22: Is there anything you’d like to tell anyone about your trauma?
  • Day 23: What things help you feel safe?
  • Day 24: What does a good day look like for you?
  • Day 25: Is there anything positive you’ve experienced in recovering from trauma?
  • Day 26: How have your symptoms changed over time?
  • Day 27: Do you feel that experiencing trauma has affected your relationships with others?
  • Day 28: What goals do you have?
  • Day 29: What’s your best method for getting through bad days?
  • Day 30: What do you want to get out of recovery?