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Measuring Progress when Things Go Wrong



I though I was doing so well
I see it on the forums and I hear it from so many fellow survivors.  I've said it myself enough times to loose count.  In the early days after abuse it's hard to think about recovery but we begin to notice ...
...I made it though another day...
...I made it through a day with only a couple of breakdowns...
...I didn't breakdown today at all.
These little things help give us hope.  They show us that we're on the mend and they show us we're not always going to hurt this much.  As time passes we think about recovery as a series of achievements...
...Today I passed my exams...
...Today I got a job...
...Today I was with my [girl / boy] friend and didn't freak out...
But no matter how much we think we have healed, there are times we find ourself slipping down that ladder so fast we wonder "Was I imagining it? Have I really healed at all?"  If you are in that place right now then let met tell you, without even knowing you...
You are doing much better than you feel
If you need medical help or therapy or just someone to talk to then please get help.  But as you do don't lose that hope you've built up.  Relapses, bad days, bad months and complete crashes, whatever name you give them they happen to every survivor.  They can be caused by anything from a death in the family to a relationship breakup.  Perhaps the hardest relapses to accept are the ones caused by nothing at all.  
The way I see it, abuse left a huge crater in my life with me stuck in the middle.  The long road to recovery hasn't meant that the crater disappeared  it's just meant that I've learned to climb out of craters.  In the early days after the abuse it was like measuring how far up the wall I could climb.  Now its like measuring how quickly and easily I climb out.
What this looks like for me
In November I was given a fairly unique opportunity to compare like for like.  That is I had a really tough November 2016 which was tragically similar to November 2015:
  • My Grandfathers were diagnosed with terminal cancer
  • I was in two motor bike crashes
  • I went through a rough patch with my girlfriend (then and now)
In reality I hit the same low both years.  This year I had the added fear of history repeating itself.  But then I began to notice that this year things were very different:
  • I went numb at the news of my grandfather but it lasted only two days instead of two weeks
  • It felt right to be low after the news and not like I was loosing it.
  • The rough patch with my girlfriend was tough but I didn't freak out
Where am I now?
Progress is hard and slow.  It's taken me fifteen years to recover this far and I envy those who get there faster.  But with time and therapy I've really managed process what happened all those years ago.  I know there will be bad days and relapses again; but I also know I will handle them.

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Thank you for sharing. You are so right about all of this. That is exactly what my T and I talk about. I still fall down but I am getting up so much faster. I wish you were not in the same situation, but I must admit, it is nice to hear someone going through the same thing as me. Best of luck in your recovery. I am sorry to hear about your Grandfathers. I have lost all my grandparents and both my parents. It is never easy. 

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