Many of you here at Peace4 have shared incredibly beneficial ways in which you personally get through the day/cope...so, I was thinking we could put some of these suggestions plus more all in one, more easily found spot as well...
When I hear about positive experiences and 'wins' others have had in dealing with their struggles, I am encouraged. There is nothing better than hearing about how someone overcame adversity and became empowered in this process! I love victims' stories of successes and hearing about how they fought for truth and justice and persevered throughout the entire process. That kind of hope that we can pass on from one of us to the next is what makes my day and helps me keep an upbeat attitude as I go through the day dealing with constant battles. Someone said, "the wheels of justice turn slowly' and while in some cases justice never comes, healing can. WE can help each other cope by reminding each other we are not alone in the daily ups and downs we face each and every day.
If others have positive stories to share, I would love to hear about them. For instance, one victim, who fought for her three young children to be safe with her, finally convinced CPS to listen to her kids' statements about the abuse they endured and after fighting for several years, the mother finally has full custody. She will not have to worry about her ex putting a gun to the head of one of her kids again. She fought courageously to protect her children and she is blessed now knowing they are safe. These kind of stories keep me going...We have to be connected and have faith that we can help one another!
When people have asked me how I seem to have handled everything so well without hesitation I say "God, Girls (my daughters), Grandsons and Guinness." At the Project Jason retreat I also learned that my vitamin regimine (C, Omega-3's and Ginseng) and exercise kept the chemical levels in my brain stabilized so I didn't sink into deep depression. I never needed the prescribed drugs that so many need to get through the day. I had the tools in place before trauma hit my life that helped me cope.
Don't sugar coat everything. Talk about every feeling you are experiencing, sad, angry, happy, joyful, confused, stunned, enlightened.......whatever the feeling is you should be comfortable expressing it. The most dangerous thing to do is bottle up and not be real. At the retreat the most amazing learning experience was when the families shared their stories and their feelings. We were in a room full of others who totally understood, totally got what all were saying, expressing and feeling. Many thought they were going crazy when they experienced the very things that others were talking of....they until the retreat had no idea that many are experiencing the exact same emotions and thoughts, they thought they were alone in their feelings. If we bottle up out here in Internet land then the public is not getting a realistic picture of the ongoing trauma we are facing and will never understand what it is we are going through or have gone through. And, when we bottle up we are not letting others know that they are not crazy. Don't bottle up others need to hear to understand, to know they are not alone!
I've laid my life, my feelings, good and bad out on the Internet in hopes of putting pieces of the puzzle together that would lead to answers in my situation. I've been criticized, mocked, lied to, ganged up on by adults acting like middle school punks, and on the flip side I've met incredibly supportive people that I've come to love. I've met people who helped keep me real. I've met people who I've disagreed with but extremely respect their opinions. Would I do it again? Take that chance again revealing all? YEP, in a heartbeat.
But, no matter how bad life is for you now you have to reach out and help others.......this is why God placed us on this earth.
Right Maureen. bottling everything up is unhealthy, especially when there are so much help out there where people can reach out. There is always somebody going through the same situation as you. And from that, you can draw strength from each other.
sent, s i am a lot older now i thank about my past a lot, i have a lot to be thankful for, my childhood was like the waltons, we were happy kids and had a lot of fun, now i spend a lot of time with my g,kids, i want them to remember a happy child, so we hike and spend a lot of time in the woods no tv or phone, they love my storys,
1. Feel what you feel...don't make excuses for it, don't mask it with any type of numbing aide, while your circumstances may not be normal, whatever you are feeling is... DO Seek professional therapy on a regular basis with someone that you relate well to and are comfortable with. Don't make life any harder than it already is, if help is available, use it.
2. Be gentle with yourself, take breaks when you need to, don't try to tackle everything at once, nor get on yourself for every past mistake you've ever made.
3. Purposefully divert your thoughts at times, if at all possible...continuous focus on the unbearable is overwhelming...force your mind to think about something else at times, think about and listen to the way that you breathe, the material on the chair that you're sitting in, etc.
4. Allow yourself to give and receive support in a support network that you feel a sense of comfort and with whom those that you are able to somewhat relate to... Many of the members on Peace4 the Missing can relate with one another and are more than willing to provide the support that others truly desire....you just need to reach out to them in order to begin the healing process available. (On the flipside, stay away from toxic people that bring you down if at all possible....if ((for example)) slueth sites bother you, stay away from them, delegate the task of reading the info. over there to someone else if need to.)
5. Tell your story, open up and share, think and process "out loud" in order to make better sense of the continual repetitive thoughts inside of your mind.
6. Be healthy...take care of your self, eat well, sleep or at least have regular peaceful moments, reach out to a professional for help needed in these areas.
7. Surround yourself with what you love...what you find beautiful, what gives you a sense of even momentary peace... Music has an incredible healing quality, search for and listen to music that brings you even momentary peace...
8. Read and write...poetry and journaling are often fabulous outlets and sources...
- Tips I read per Journaling =
a. begin and end each entry with three words that describe your feelings (allows you to keep track of your emotions, what works, what doesn't, etc.
b. set the timer and write as much as you're able to write during the time available
c. keep your to do list in your journal as well
d. include full sensory memories of the loved one you're missing, include as much detail as you're able
e. try an "alpha poem" a line or word for each letter of the alphabet
f. write "unsent" letters
9. Shows kindness and compassion to others, by doing something for someone else, you are also healing yourself.
10. Let God embrace you...cry out to Him, commune with Him, accept the peace that only He can truly offer.
Oh! And LAUGH, a lot, whenever possible...even if it's not funny, seriously, give a try... ;)
(yes, you might look crazy to others, but who cares, you have enough on your mind without worrying about what other people think, so don't...)
The unconditional love I have for my father is what keeps me going. I like to think about all the times we had together and all the love he gave me. I practically cry each and every time. I have Kleenex handy all the time (which I never had "before") - you never know when you will just start crying and I only purchase and wear waterproof mascara (which I never had "before"). When I REALLY want to let it out, I watch old videos with him in it (my wedding day really puts a hurtin' on). He was such a fabulous dad that he took videos (no audio back then) of us kids (there are 5 of us) when we were little and there's one when I was 4 or 5 that I'm dancing around the livingroom as happy as can be and you can read my lips singing Hi daddy, hi daddy, hi daddy, waving to him. As always I was just so happy to be in the presence of my dad.
One thing that I think helps me in my situation is that my dad lived in FL and I live in MD; I didn't live with him, I didn't see him every day, I didn't talk to him every day - he was not a physical part of my daily life, therefore I could imagine, in my mind, that he is down there working on a job or tinkering around in the garage. I just have to stop myself from dialing his number – of course I still know it by heart.
Doing all these things on the internet and letting everyone know how much he is loved, how much he is missed and just talking about him as the great person he was helps me each and every day.
I have files and files of stuff I have done, written, others writings and just a bunch of things that I will be copying and pasting in here in the coming days (just have to find the time!).
One of my "favorite" things is to have people who don't know me or my family, personally, give their opinion of what they think could've happened to my dad. I don't take any opinions to heart, but it helps me think things out. You see I have 3 scenarios and I can't put my finger on one. I believe a different one almost every week, just as I reject one almost every week: 1) he was murdered 2) he committed suicide 3) he is alive and started a new life. As you can imagine, each one is unbearable to think about. So please come back and read a diary from the day he went missing 1/13/05 to April '05. I will be putting it in here as soon as I can figure out how (it's large).
Well I guess I've done enough rambling for now........but boy do I feel better already!!!!!!! (hope I haven't been too self-absorbed here)
I love it when you are too "self absorbed!" It's a beautiful thing! :)
If I haven't told you before THANK YOU for letting us to get to know your Dad and you! That's what this is all about. Your sharing and humanizing your Dad is what keeps you going and keeps us loving you and keeps us searching for your Dad!
God Bless you, Maureen!! and thank you! Being a part of sites like this, where I have met caring, wonderful people is my true therapy - to know there are other people out there who are truley walking in my shoes lets me know I am not alone, besides God who I know is with me. I think of your daughters often and I even have thought about being in their shoes - I know their loss, I know their pain and their confusion (to an extent) - our situations are not exactly the same, but either way, we are missing our father. It's so painful. I never knew a heart could actually feel pain, as if you broke an arm. I never loved someone so much to have them taken away from me - I guess some people would say I was lucky to have lost only one person, who I love SO MUCH (my "unconditional love" circle is very small), at my age and believe me, I know I am blessed, but it doesn't make this easier. I thought my dad walked on water; he was perfect to me.
I'll be back, but I have to go and get some work done now :) You are such a wonderful person Maureen and I'm so glad I know you!!!!! I'm hoping we will be able to meet at Kelly's retreat next year.
How to cope? Hum...This is a very good idea Sara. For this was not available to me almost seven years ago, it sure would have been nice if it was. There is no book or manual on how to deal with a missing loved one or a loved one being murdered. Sure there are advocates that work for LE but even those people themselves don't and can't understand where you "are" in that moment or what you are going through because of them have never even experienced a significant trauma in their life. They will tell you to seek councoling but if you are a person like me. I don't feel comfortable throwing my guts on the table with someone I don't even know and they may not even understand what I am going through.. I find that talking about my feelings with others who have or are going through what I have and or are going through the same or similar experience as I much easier and comforting to me..Just knowing that I am not alone in all of "this" is a huge relief and I don't feel as though I am sufficating in this world alone..
This biggest thing that has helped me cope over the past year was being an advocate for other people who have or are walking in my "shoes". Allowing the memories of my mother come "alive" and being her voice. And never letting her be forgotten. Allowing myself to feel once again and not run from the pain. You have to face the pain, the sorrow, and the loss. If you don't, you are just prolonging the innevitable. It will always be there and until you deal with it head on it will consume you and control you.
Cry when you feel like crying. Get mad when you feel angry. And laugh when you feel happy. Allow yourself to feel ALL emotions.
ALWAYS talk about your missing loved one to everyone!! It does not matter who or what your missing loved one did in life.. They are still your loved one and are special and loved by you.
If anyone read this and gets anything useful from my words, PLEASE don't try to cope with drugs and alcohol! I did that for years and I can assure you that it does NOT work! I almost killed myself doing it that way..If you are or feel the need to go down that path, come to me. Shoot me an email or post a comment on my page. Let me help you please!
I will be sharing a lot of things about my dad in here (I really like this place - it's just us - and we have a common bond, not like Facebook). So much so that you will feel like you have known him, and me, personally all your life. I'm gonna "pour it out" in here.........
You should become a counselor/therapist. You went through every aspect from missing to murder to drug and alcohol abuse. And, more importantly you came through it all and held in place the remarkable person you are. You could help many!
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