I finally feel hopeful.

On the day of my last update, I talked to my friend about how I was feeling, and he asked about whether I’ve talked about this to a counselor. At the university I go to, there is a counseling center. When I did individual counseling, I was limited to 6 sessions for the semester (and if I needed to update her on anything, we scheduled sporadic appointments). After that, my therapist asked if I could join a group. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of group therapy, so I didn’t join last semester. However, after my friend asked me about counseling, I remembered that I could join a group. I was able to sign myself up for a DBT group, so I’m interested to see how that turns out. It’ll be a new experience.

The first week of school went off to a rocky start. I had to get used to the new schedule, which also changed my sleep schedule. As a result, I was very tired, which affected my mood. Things turned around by the end of the week when I signed up for the DBT group. I had this strong feeling that things would be better soon. 

I had to do a check in, so I talked to a professional about how I was feeling, and he gave me some helpful advice to get through the church services.

He talked about how I should have ‘cushions’ – certain things I do before and after the service to help get me through. One of his suggestions was to write a list of affirmations and read it before the service. I already had a list of affirmations that I used to read silently in the car on the way to church. Now I read it out loud the day before and silently in the car. I remind myself of the progress I’ve made.

I wrote a list of things I can do during the service when I feel unsettled. It reminds me that I have ways to cope. I’m also reminding myself to think about getting through each week instead of how long I’ll have to keep doing this (because that’s overwhelming). 

One of his other suggestions was to have something to look forward to after the service. I’m attempting to make the rest of my Sundays self care days instead of doing homework. 

I went to today’s service with these practices in place, and I felt so much better. I was a little nervous, but I wasn’t dissociating. The mantra in my head was, “This is really difficult, but I can get through this.” I thought about the support I have, which helped me get through the rough moments. 

I also noticed that I haven’t been blaming myself for what happened to me. I didn’t understand how this happened at first, but now I think I’ve pieced it together. I blamed myself for nearly three years after what happened. Then I found AVFTI and started volunteering. I’ve read – and written – so many comments that remind the storytellers that it wasn’t their fault. It’s ingrained now, and I think extending compassion to others is helping me extend compassion to myself. Even on the bad days when I start blaming myself, I’m able to stop quickly. I’m glad I’ve reached this point, and this organization has been helpful in more ways than I can explain.

The past few months were rough, but I think I’m pulling myself out. I feel hopeful for the future.


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27 comments

  1. Megan Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    This makes me so incredibly happy to hear this. I am so proud of you for how far you have come and how much you have grown. It truly is incredible. Thank you for extending that compassion to yourself because you definitely deserve it. I’m so glad that things are going well for you and that you’re feeling hopeful.

    Here’s to a bright future,
    Megan

  2. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi music2799,
    Thank you for continuing to share your story with us. I’m glad that things are starting to look up, and that writing stories and volunteering has been helpful to you. I hope your group session turns out well, and that you’ll be able to continue moving forward. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  3. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    I’m so happy that things are getting better. It sounds like your friend and the DBT group is helping a lot. Thank you for updating us.
    You should never blame yourself for what happened. I’m happy that you know that now. Ingraining that into your head is good because like you said when you get down and start to think that you are able to ignore that feeling. If you need anything else we are here for you.
    -Alyssa

  4. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there!

    I am happy to hear that things are going well for you. You seem hopeful and that is an amazing thing. It’s always great seeing an update from you. Keep being strong and pulling thrugh. You’ve got this, and you have all of us supporting you. Stay strong.

    Carmen

  5. Turnschaosintoart Day Captain

    Hey Music,
    The first line “I finally feel hopeful” made my heart sing. Welcome to the team! I am so glad you decided to start voluenteering. You are a great asset to our family. Because AVFTI is like a family. I am really glad responding to stories is helping you as well. I know AVFTI is a huge part in my own healing process. I am glad to see that you are trying a DBT group. I have a friend who swears by it. It really helped her alot. I have actually wanted to do a program myself but there is a huge waiting list. I hope you get a lot out of it and even make some friends. It also is great you have your faith. That is important. I am glad that you are hopful for the future. I believe it is very bright

    Kristin

  6. Lizzi

    Hey music2799,
    This post made me so happy for you. You’re working so hard to better things in your life and work through the hard things, and I’m so proud of you for everything you’re doing. I’m glad you were able to reach out to a friend and that he was so supportive of you. DBT can be so helpful and it’s great that you’re able to do that group. I love the idea of the “cushions” and making Sunday after church a more positive day. I know church is so important .to you, and it must be so hard to have dreaded going each week. It’s awesome that you already noticed a difference today, and I hope that continues to get even more comfortable for you. Thank you for being such a dedicated volunteer, even while working through some really painful stuff yourself, and I’m glad that it’s helped you have more compassion for yourself! Keep us updated, I’m excited to hear how things progress!

  7. jcas120 Volunteer

    Welcome back to AVFTI music2799,

    I’m thrilled to hear your update! I hope you’re able to adjust to your new semester quickly, I completely understand what you’re going through here a change in sleep schedule, that can really affect ones mood.

    Being willing to join that group is a great step! I hope that you find it helpful. Just being willing to go is a huge accomplishment in itself 🙂 that is something to be proud of! That advice they gave you sounds really helpful. Those are some great coping strategies and it sounds like they will make your Sundays easier. I’m also glad to hear that you are making Sundays a self care day. That sounds like a great idea. It can definitely help out with the feelings after a service but also re-energize you for the week.

    I’m really happy to hear that you aren’t blaming yourself and that is also a huge accomplishment. I liked what you said about pulling yourself out of it quickly, that sounds like a great coping strategy that was learned and I hope that it continues to serve you well. You have done such a great job pulling yourself out of these past few rough months. We are all so proud to hear that!

  8. Ashley Day Captain

    Welcome back, music2799 🙂

    I commend you for signing up for the DBT group and I’m eager to hear about how your group sessions go. It’s great that you were able to talk to a professional to get an idea of what actions you can take to care for your well-being during and after the services. Although you have been struggling with your experience, you have made the selfless decision to support others and that speaks volumes about your character.

    Keep pushing through!

    Ashley

  9. musicislove

    Hi music2799,

    I’m glad that you’re feeling hopeful! It’s great that you have been making progress and that what you’ve been practicing helped you the day you went to church. It’s so amazing that you haven’t been blaming yourself for what happened to you, I agree that volunteering and reminding other storytellers really helps with realizing that traumatic experiences aren’t our faults. I’m so happy for you and your progress so far. We’re always here whenever you want to share again.

    Delaney

  10. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    This is wonderful to see. It seems you are greeting a ton of support and developing some tactics for getting through tough patches. Thank you for sharing your story and also get helpful ideas to get some ideas for coping. Take Care friend.

  11. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    This is wonderful to see! It seems like you’re getting some really good support and developing some helpful tactics for getting through rough situations. Thank you for sharing, it’s really encouraging to see and also helpful to get some ideas for my own coping.

    Katherine

  12. colton95 Volunteer

    I think it’s awesome that despite what happened to you you’re trying to be hopeful. Hope is a powerful thing that helped me get through a lot of rough situations. I hope that you will continue to be hopefully and stay strong and positive!

  13. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    This is a great update! I’m really glad that you and your therapist have identified some coping mechanisms that are helping you get through church and that you are making time for yourself. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find out what really works for you. We’re also so glad to have you as a volunteer! Your openness and vulnerability are admirable, and I know you’re helping many other survivors!

    Continuing to send lots of good energy your way 🙂

  14. kelly Day Captain

    Hi, music2799. So glad to hear you’re feeling hopeful and utlizing all those healthy coping tools. I might steal your list of affirmations one! I think that’s a great idea.
    I think it’s great you signed up for the group. Group therapy was really scary to me, but once I did it I was so glad I did. It helped me feel less alone. Now I go to a support group every week and talk about stuff I never thought I would be able to in front of people. It’s been a huge source of support for me and I hope it works out for you too. DBT sounds really interesting as well. Let us know how it works out.

  15. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you for updating us! I’m so glad to hear about the progress you’ve been making. It’s so great to hear that you’ve found a therapy group you’re interested in and your check-ins are helpful. I hope you’ll update us again after the group, if you feel comfortable. This post gave me a lot of hope for all people struggling. I sincerely hope that you continue to feel that strength and hope. If you need anything, we are always here. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  16. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,

    Thanks for sharing this update with us! I’m so excited to hear the progress you’re making. You give me so much hope for everyone that’s struggling. Let us know how the group session goes, if you feel comfortable sharing! I am looking forward to an update from you. Let us know if there’s anything we can do 🙂

    Marissa

  17. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear music2799,
    I see you!!! You are working hard, making changes, growing, and healing every day<3 It is good to hear that you are feeling hopeful and getting some support.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  18. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for coming back with an update on your story. I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling hopeful! It’s good that you will have a chance to try something new with this DBT group experience. That’s such a good idea about the affirmation lists and the self-care on Sundays. I’m sure both of those things will make a big difference. It’s great to hear that you aren’t blaming yourself anymore, none of what happened is your fault. So happy to see you making all this progress.

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  19. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    I’m so happy to read this update from you! I’m glad things are looking up and you’re feeling hopeful. I’m proud of you for joining that DBT group. I was nervous about group therapy myself, and now I’m on a waiting list. I’m right there with ya, you got this. And I’m glad the professional was helpful! Affirmations are great, and that’s such an awesome idea to plan something fun after. I’m so glad that this organization has helped and you are not blaming yourself. So happy for you. You got this, keep your head up!

    Sending love and happy vibes,
    Bre

  20. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi Music2799!
    I am glad that you volunteer on here, but also how you have found ways to go from victim to survivor to warrior! It sounds like taking babysteps is working. Discovering self care techniques is an amazing thing! You have found & now are putting into practice the tools you have been given. Way to take back the power & reclaim you! Stand tall & keep going! It’s good hearing how you have found hope through the tough times! Support groups are a blessing. Not only do you work through personal issues & make personal goals, support groups are also a great source of support! (from the faciliatator but also from those who understand) Continue pressing on, give yourself breaks when you need them, but most of all, be proud of you! You so deserve this! I am happy for you!
    Dawn

  21. meg Volunteer

    Thank you so so much for updating us! I am so happy to hear that you feel you’re moving forward. You are taking amazing steps to grow and thrive. Reading your update makes me feel hopeful for my own healing and for the journey you are on. Taking Sundays for self care is a wonderful idea. Please continue to update us!
    —Meg

  22. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    This is so good to hear. I of course am still sorry that you still have to be in a space where he is, but I’m glad that group therapy helped and that it gave you strategies for managing this, and that you are in a better place. I’m also glad that you have reached a place where you are telling yourself it’s not your fault. That can be so hard for us as survivors to get to, and you should feel really good that you are there. We are glad you are here and glad that you are volunteering. Thank you for coming back to share.

    Erin

  23. tbird830 Volunteer

    Thank you so much for updating. It is so great to hear that you have taken such great steps toward healing. It is amazing that you are feeling so hopeful about life. I am also hopeful that things will turn around for you and you will live a great life. Reading updates like these can be really helpful for others who may be struggling and unsure what to do or where to turn, so thank you again for reaching back out! I look forward to more updates from you!!

  24. Solongago Volunteer

    Thank you for the update. It is good that you have found someone who is giving you some techniques that are working for you at church. It sounds like you are getting off to a great start on the new semester. And that you are making time for your self-care on Sundays — that is awesome. I am really happy for you. I hope the group is good too. It’s scary to talk in front of number of folks, but when you do, it can really freeing. Sometimes we can get a lot out of listening to their stories and the advice given to them too. I hope you have a really good experience in the group.

  25. Amysue43 Volunteer

    I am so happy to read about the steps you are taking from your counselor about coping strategies and understanding when to use them. This is a huge accomplishment! You are acknowledging your feelings and thoughts which has resulted in your hopefulness. It’s so great to hear that AVFTI has truly impacted your life and the way you have overcome these experiences.
    Stay strong <3

  26. Natalie M Day Captain

    HI there,

    Thank you for coming back and updating us! It is always great to hear from you. I think joining the group seems like a great idea and I hope it works out well for you. You sound like you are getting to a good space, and I’m so happy for you! You can get through it! It sounds like you are making great progress on your journey to healing. I am so proud and happy that you joined AVFTI as a volunteer! You are very inspiring!!! Keep up the great work and stay strong! We are all here for you.

    -Natalie

  27. myazojo Volunteer

    Hey music2799,
    I am glad you have found hope in this organization. That is awesome to hear! I’m also glad you have decided to take up group sessions and found your coping skills. It awesome to see that you are felling and acknowledging your progress. I am glad you have found so many ways to keep up with everything and you are doing an amazing job.