It's ok to opt out
It’s August 31st so depending where you look you’ll being seeing much about Overdose Awareness Day today. You might be thinking, “I am very aware of this issue, thank you very much and I need no reminders.” The proliferation of public awareness postings may activate your nervous system, put you on high alert, hyper aware as we are of overdose in this circle of mothers. You might be all in today or you might want to look away.
I want to say it’s ok to check out today. To literally do what you are told all the time about being a loved one of a person with substance use disorder/addiction or in recovery, which is to “take care of yourself.”
You don't have to do things that hurt you, cause harm or trigger your pain or trauma.
You get to choose how you interact with this day. (any day, really) You can opt out or opt in. Either way, take care of your heart, your body and your nervous system today. (every day, really)
Taking care of your heart might look like caring for the tenderest parts of you. Asking someone to spend time with you, holding hands, just being quiet together or witnessing your story without trying to fix or change anything. It might look like being in stillness, acknowledging your grief that things are not how you wish them to be, or honoring the people we have lost and letting yourself feel the truth of your feelings no matter how many tissues that requires. Let someone hold you while you weep. Or maybe your heart wants to sing, or laugh or share memories or connect in a particular way.
Honor the unique call of your mother heart.
No should’s, no supposed to’s. Just do what you authentically need today. You can rest or you can rail and everything in between. You can take a “gown day” as my editor likes to call it and stay in your pajamas, in comfort and do nothing. You can join a community event or a meeting or a group and express yourself.
Taking care of your body and your nervous system might look like turning off social media, going outside for a walk or just laying on a blanket on the ground and letting the earth hold you, submerging in a salt bath, drinking lots of water, eating food that feels good to your body, practicing yoga or dancing.
The medicine for nervous system activation, emotional triggering, grief is always to either move or soothe yourself in a way that feels nourishing.
Choose what you need and do that.
We, mothers of addiction/substance use disorder and mental health conditions, have trauma. When trauma is activated, you’ll feel it in your body. It can feel overwhelming.
I am careful about what I consume and triggering my own trauma. It's why I rarely watch the news. I look when I choose to and stop when I feel my nervous system activating and stress hormones surging.
It's why I left many facebook groups. I couldn't take the constant triggering of my nervous system with graphic images, disinformation and harsh commentary. (there are healthy groups out there like Thrive for example but there is an abundance of trauma triggering, non evidence based support and disinformation out there too, be careful and discerning.)
I decided I wouldn't allow any algorithms hijack my body, mind or emotions by feeding me what it wanted to feed me without my consent.
All that to say. You don't have to watch or read or participate in anything that activates your trauma.
You can opt out as an act of love for yourself, an act of deep self care.
That includes these letters from me. While my intent is to provide pathways of healing and recovery, there may be some things that I say that tap a place that is hard to bear.
I am holding you dear with your wellbeing in mind.
Take Care Today, (every day, really)
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