Action Worksheet (from Online Survivor to Thriver Workbook by ASCA)
Actions I can take to help me restabilize myself after feeling unsafe:
- Leave the space or situation entirely.
- Excuse myself to the bathroom if I think I might want/need to return temporarily.
- Avoid people/ places I know will feel dangerous to me.
- If it’s a trust-worthy person who innocently does something that makes me feel threatened, tell them asap what behavior I request they avoid; I don’t need to say why.
- After I’m away from whatever made me feel threatened, pray and write about what I felt and/or how I am now okay. I.e. concretely affirm my safety and that I deserve to be safe.
- Remember to breathe.
- When in a safe place, do something physical to burn off the adrenaline that was probably triggered.
This exercise is also difficult. It’s painful to think about these things. It’s also frustrating and discouraging that I have to in a sense make my world smaller. I think I need to re-frame how I think about how I address making myself safe. Rather than seeing my world as smaller, I could simply recognize that everyone has places or conditions they have to avoid.
For example, most humans would avoid certain situations at least without proper gear and preparation, such as:
- swimming out into the deep of the ocean or a turbulent part of a river
- moving quickly near the edge of a cliff
- driving the wrong way on a one-way road
- walking through poison ivy or a fire-anthill or any identified toxin
In other words, we can still swim if we know and accept what conditions we need for safety. We can look over a cliff if we are careful. We can drive the direction we need to if we take the appropriate road. We can walk through the woods, desert, or where-ever there are small dangers if we remain alert and avoid those limited threats.
Another note: I’d like to have more strategies for dealing with triggers/ “toxic” situations. This is something I can work on.