Nightmares and sleep problems
Past experiences can affect us whilst we sleep.
Nightmares can feel like the sexual abuse is actually happening to you again in your sleep and you make wake feeling really distressed, scared and confused. You may also feel scared and anxious about going to sleep as you may fear having a nightmare.
Some things that you are able to do which may help you are:-
De-stress before bed, have a warm bath or shower, read a book and try to unwind.
It may help you to put the light on and to tell yourself you are safe and everything is ok.
Look around and in your mind or say out loud a list of items you can see in the room.
Have something by your bed that will comfort you.
Use your 5 senses: Nose – a comforting smell, Taste – a sweet, lemon, Hear – music that you enjoy, Touch – a piece of your favourite fabric, Sight – a picture/scene that gives you happy memories.
Get out of bed and make your favourite drink.
Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. It includes anything you do to intentionally injure yourself. Some of the more common ways include:
Cutting or severely scratching your skin
Burning or scalding yourself
Hitting yourself or banging your head
Punching things or throwing your body against walls and hard objects
Sticking objects into your skin
Intentionally preventing wounds from healing
Swallowing poisonous substances or inappropriate objects
Although you may find self harm helpful to you it is a negative coping strategy and can carry risk of infection and result in life-threatening medical problems.
If you are thinking about self-harming or are self-harming these techniques can help:
Leave the room where the object is that you intend to use to self harm or remove it from your sight.
Call or text a trusted person.
Draw on yourself, use henna tattoos or rub ice on the part of the body where you wanted to self harm.
Go for a walk
Self-care is caring for ourselves. It’s treating ourselves with kindness and compassion, and engaging in activities that will make us feel better both immediately and over time. It sounds easy but it’s not always.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde
Why can self-care be difficult?
There are many reasons why self-care can be difficult:
We lead busy lives and might forget or not make time to engage in self-care.
We might turn to coping mechanisms that give us immediate relief or happiness but can do us harm in the longer term.
We might not recognise the need for self-care. Sometimes we can gradually become upset and stressed and not realise until we’re overwhelmed.
When we’re feeling down, engaging in any self-care takes a lot of effort and energy we might not feel we have.