Steps Towards Healing From Emotional Injury
We all experience emotional pain and trauma at one time or another. We get beat up by life simply by being a living, breathing entity on this earth. We also get emotionally wounded by family, friends, associations, or even total strangers. It doesn’t really matter who’s dishing it out because one word can stick with you and even send you over the edge of the cliff without you realizing. Even a stranger’s word can be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Poor camel, poor you. We carry a lot of burdens on our backs and shoulders and many are completely unnecessary. We really don’t have to be all things to all people, we just have to be true to ourselves. I choose to make a daily affirmation of submitting my power over to my God, and second, my Dom. I am not in charge of the universe, therefore, I choose to submit to the Power that is in charge of the universe and hand over my very life. My Dom is in charge of my daily guidance and how I walk out my life and he has the final word on how we live day to day.
Coach and I have had several talks recently about how I process emotional pain and how it can be managed before it escalates into a meltdown or even a fit of anger. I’m like a pressure cooker; everything goes into the pot, the lid is sealed tightly, and it all heats up and stews. My thoughts and feelings seem neatly contained in my pot and no one, including me, is aware that the pressure has become too much for me to handle. On the outside I am calm, but at some point I am not capable of keeping it in any longer and I blow my top. I can either have a panicky meltdown, get very angry, or put up walls and get self-protective.
Coach and I talked about how we can better manage my emotions and catch and deal with my escalation before I ever get to that point of no return. We both agree that letting me go from A to V without intervention is asking for trouble because if I’m at V then I’m already in the home stretch to Z and some serious momentum has been built up. We realize that I need to be reeled in at D, and at the very latest P, if intervention is going to have an affect. A Dom needs to recognize the warning signs that lead up to a sub’s emotional unraveling. If you’ve been with someone long enough you should know their signs and be able to intervene before some damage is done. If you’ve lived long enough you should also be able to recognize your own signs and be able to be proactive and ask for help. It takes intentional habitual practice to recognize early warning signs of the emotional unravel. You have to invest in yourself and your Dom has to be fully invested in you in order to effectively help. I found some great resources that can help with recognizing and managing your emotional triggers:
Outsmart Your Brain – Mind Growing Programs for Leaders
Unraveling Emotional Triggers
There are also a few things that can be done to help when emotions are triggered and is especially important to apply if you do go over the edge and it’s called P.R.I.C.E.
Some of you have been taught R.I.C.E. as the acronym used for treating a physical injury, such as a twisted ankle or a sprained shoulder. The P has been added by experts not too long ago and is a very necessary component. So what does P.R.I.C.E. for:
P – Protection
R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation
The same way you use these procedures to treat a physical injury can be used to treat an emotional injury.
P – Protection – The first principle is protection. The purpose of protection is to avoid further injury to the area by protecting the injured structures. The type of protection used varies depending on the injured area but may include an ace bandage, aluminum splint, sling, protective tape, or over-the-counter brace.
The same principle applies to an emotional injury. The best example I can give is a recent situation where Coach became my temporary crutch. I needed to lean on him because I was just too weak to stand on my own. Your sub will need your hand, your shoulder, and your arms to help her stand. Let her lean on you.
R – Rest – The purpose of resting is to allow the body’s own healing processes to naturally occur without being impeded by movement of the injured area.
It wouldn’t have helped me to just not blog for a day, but recently, Coach imposed a three week blogging break on me so I could remove myself and gain some perspective. My focus was wrong and I needed to rest and process. During those three weeks I did take the time to physically rest as well. Emotions are taxing on the body and you may need extra sleep and to not be as busy so you can build up your strength.
I – Ice – Icing is most effective in the immediate period following an injury. The effect of icing diminishes significantly after about 48 hours.
Ice for emotional injury is just as important and should be applied immediately. In this case, a cooling off period needs to occur. How to you bring down a heated emotional situation? Stay cool and calm. Your sub needs you to keep your cool so she can reduce that immediate emotional inflammation.
C – Compression – When the ice pack is removed, a compression wrap should be applied to the injured area. The compression wrap serves as a mechanical barrier so that swelling is minimized in the injured area. There are a number of compression wraps available on the market, but the most commonly used is an elastic or ace bandage.
I think most of us in the BDSM world can understand that having those bindings on (rope, leather straps, silk ribbon) can have a very calming effect on a sub, but even just lots and lots of hugging and touching works like a compression wrap and can reduce further emotional swelling.
E – Elevate – Elevating your injured foot or ankle above the level of your heart reduces the pull of gravity. Your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, and blood is less likely to pool in your lower limbs and make them swell. Reducing the pressure of the extra fluid can alleviate pain as well.
How do you elevate your injured sub? With lots and lots of words of comfort and letting her know how wonderful and special she is. Let her see clearly in your eyes her good qualities. More than likely she feels lower than low and she needs you to reinforce her worth. Elevate her heart so she can soar again.