During the time when you were being abused there was a part of your brain (the amygdala) that was working almost all the time because it was trying very hard to protect you.
You are safe now, but because your amygdala was working so hard almost all the time it will find it very difficult to relax. It is probably still working very hard a lot of the time to try to keep you safe even though it doesn’t really have to anymore. This means that it can find it tricky to tell the difference between when you are in real danger and when you are not so you may be behaving in ways that you have not done before or that you haven’t done for a long time like getting angry for no obvious reason; chewing or sucking your clothes; wetting or soiling yourself; having trouble going to sleep; having nightmares; eating more or less than you did; having lots of tummy aches and / or headaches or finding it hard to concentrate, learn at school or stay still for long. DO NOT WORRY: these are normal for someone who has been abused. In time things will get better.
It may also mean that you feel angry, sad, confused, guilty, scared, frustrated or worried more than you did before. It is ok and normal to feel all of these things! At other times you might also be happy and excited. This is okay too!
Things that might help you
When you are feeling sad, angry, confused, scared or worried or if you are finding it hard to be calm one of the ideas below may help you.
For more ideas on self-care visit www.annafreud.org
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