Coping with Anniversaries
© 2006 Pandora’s Aquarium
By: Stefka


The anniversary or anniversaries of rape and sexual abuse are far from easy to deal with. They are times when you may feel particularly triggered and depressed. You may know the exact date and time of your anniversary or you may only have a vague idea of when it might be. Some people also have no idea of the time or times of their assaults, but may find that a particular time of year is triggering to them. or they get down at a certain season or month each year. Of course you may not remember your anniversary at all and you may wish to choose a particular day which you can adopt as an anniversary day and use it to honour yourself and your recovery. Whenever or however you remember your anniversary it is important to be particularly gentle with yourself round these times.

Coping with an anniversary is a personal thing and whatever works for you is the best plan of action. Things you may wish to consider on this day are:

Taking the day off
If you have a difficult or demanding job you might want to plan to take this day off in advance if possible. Anniversaries are hard enough and you don't need any extra stress. This is not an indulgent thing to do, there is nothing wrong with taking a specified day to take care of yourself.

Keeping busy
Alternatively you may prefer to keep yourself busy. This could be with work or with more pleasurable activities such as meeting up with friends. Some people prefer to keep their brains busy on difficult days - if this is you then it is wise to make sure that you have plenty planned for this day.

Being nice to you!
However you want to spend the day make sure it is a day that is nice for you. Whether you want to spend the day in bed, in the bath, taking walks, shopping, on-line, eating ice cream or with friends is up to you, as long as you are doing something you enjoy!

Ritual
Some people find ritual useful. For example some survivors have found it helpful to turn there anniversaries into a celebration of survival like a birthday. There are many ways of doing this, some like to make or buy a cake, others to burn letters to their rapist or items of clothing they were wearing when they were attacked or pictures that they may have of them.

Spend time with friends & family
Draw strength and support from friends and family. Spend time with those who care for you. You deserve to be nurtured, loved and cared for - allow family and friends to be there for you.

Remember that whatever works for you is the right thing to do - make the day about you, not the person who hurt you.

For more ideas you might want to check out the following thread in the wonderful threads forum: Coping with Anniversaries

 

Pandora's Aquarium - www.pandys.org: An online support group, message board, and chat room for rape and sexual abuse survivors.