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Anniversaries ...

self-care after sexual assault

...COPING STRATEGIES
The anniversary or anniversaries of what happened to you are far from easy to deal with. They are times when you may feel particularly triggered and depressed. You may know exactly the 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 each year. Whenever or however you remember your anniversary it is important to be particularly gentle with yourself round these times.

Of course you may not remember your anniversary, perhaps you just remember a time of year, or a particular month. 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.

Coping with an anniversary is a personal thing and whatever works for you is the best plan of action. You may wish to check the self care page for ideas of how you can best look after yourself on this difficult day. Other 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. I once left flowers at the place where I knew my rapist which I found to be very healing. Whatever works for you is the right thing to do - make the day about you, not the person who hurt you..
  • Spend time with friends & family - Contributed by Abbey 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.
Don't forget to see more anniversary coping suggestions here
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