Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
Yes, the title sounds cliché I know but after being the victim and now survivor of domestic violence, you really can take control of your life and make a new you! Whether you suffered a few months, a few years or even decades of abuse and you are now away from the nightmare of your abusive relationship, you can transform yourself on a path of healing.
For about the first year after I had left my abuser, I was still miserable inside. Yes, I had my 2 children and was dating my best friend (now he is my husband) but I felt so empty inside. I spent nearly 5 years being under someone’s thumb, waiting on him, taking care of his every need, working hard at school, walking around on eggshells my entire life from many people abusing me, etc. When my now husband moved in with me and took some of the burden of household chores off of my hands and helped me with the kids, I had time to myself and didn’t know what to do! Imagine that, I was bored for the first time in years. After you have left your abusive relationship and you actually feel free, you should focus on yourself! But what will you do?
What did you love to do before your life got turned upside down? Mine was reading. I always had my nose in a book it seemed before I met him and I practically lived at the library. I had 2 children now to introduce to my love of reading. Check your local library for a book club or think about starting your own!
Drawing or painting can be fun to learn and can be inexpensive! I also learned how to make altered books. Altered Books and Art can be inexpensive too because you can use everyday items and not have to worry about buying hundreds of dollars in art supplies. I also recently learned how to crochet, something I never had time to sit and learn before.
There are so many hobbies to try to see what you like. Our Hobbies and Crafts topic area is a good place to start reading!
Exercise and Health
I suffered from depression for many years and neglected my body. Of course, I am now paying for it BUT I can make myself better. I not only need to do it for myself but for my kids as well. At my highest weight, I reached 296 pounds. I suffered from bulimia then I resorted to binge eating. I found comfort in food. That is hard to admit, trust me. Now that I can focus a little more on myself, I am eating better and doing exercise. My main mode of exercise is walking. I walk 5 days a week for 40 minutes, sometimes more. I have also found the joy of Yoga! Even as a big woman, I can benefit from Yoga. My favorite DVD is Yoga: Just My Size With Megan Garcia.
It would also be a good idea to learn some kind of Self-Defense or Martial Arts. The YWCA usually offers self defense courses specifically for women and they are sometimes lead by police officers.
Pilates and belly dance are other low impact but great exercise techniques to check into!
This is one of my healing processes. I had a hard time dealing with my thoughts and memories. My husband recommended that I write down what was going on in my head then burn it. So I began writing at the first time my abuser hit me, then it turned into nearly 100 hand written and typed pages. I had another friend say 'don’t burn them! Turn it into an autobiography and get it published.’ I am proud to say I am nearly finished with the second draft of my manuscript. It will have to be labeled fiction because I had to change the names of places and people to protect those who helped me get away. If you don’t think you can do as I did, journaling is a great way to heal!
Some people may benefit from some type of therapy. In the next few months, I will be writing articles about the different types of therapies. I am in the process of a using some for myself and will report my experiences back to you. Make sure you are signed up for the newsletter to receive notification of when new articles are posted so you don’t miss out!
How are you healing yourself or making time for yourself? Share your ideas and experiences in the forum!