Dear survivor of war
Dear survivor of war
You and I survived the war. We live here now.
But we had our share of losses and griefs, and our hearts were filled with sorrows sometimes and panic at other times, for different reasons, but all to do with war and having to leave our homes and be refugees.
I know struggles are not over, but we now need heal and empower our psyche.
We need to move forward and restore our balance for us first, then for our loved ones and our community!
Seeking help can be difficult for one reason or another, maybe you are alone or it may be difficult to explain to others, or communicate to a therapist in a new language.
Perhaps we could start some healing by ourselves!
There are different ways and practices related to self-awareness and reconnecting with oneself, comforting yourself, giving it the acceptance and support that you need, as you would do with a child or friend who’ve been hurt!
One way is to write a letter to yourself, and tell your story.
I am now working on designing a project, that is about empowering war survivors like you and me, to help them with the process of psychological recovery and self-care.
If we are not able to obtain help from the outside, this does not mean that we continue to bury our pain and suffering and to feed the loneliness within us.
Our bodies don’t forget trauma, it just gets hidden in our subconscious to later resurface with physical or mental disturbances.
Healing may begin by describing and naming things. Recognising the trauma/traumas we have been through. To share our story with supportive people. To accept reality. To value all our accomplishments, big or small. To be kind and loving to ourselves, To empower all the beautiful and positive things in our life now.
I ask now you to write a letter to yourself, in which you will tell your story regarding the war, whatever you’ve lost or been through because of war, directly or indirectly.
Write a little or a lot, about horrific or ordinary experiences, in an orderly or random fashion, anything or everything. Arabic, slang Arabic, Swedish or English.
Even if just a list of keyword. It doesn’t have to be a letter, it can be just a story.
The aim of this letter is to create an aid to improve mental health and help overcome trauma.
I will not know your name unless you choose to share it.
If you still don’t wish to share your story with me after you wrote it, it’s okay!!
In this case I’d love to hear just about your opinion on this writing experiment you did, to help me reach out as many as possible.
Questions to help write:
What you went through previously
Have you lost someone, a house, something dear, money, business, social status?
Have you been arrested? Tortured? Humiliated? chased? Lived in extreme fear?
Was your life in danger for some reason?
How did you feel and feel now that you are away from all places you grew up in and loved?
Are all your family members with you? Did you have to part your loved ones of family and friends?
Have you witnessed painful things that maybe left traces in you?
What you’re going through now
How are you now? are you happy?
Do you feel you don’t belong? Or feeling incapable before pressures to integrate?
Do you sometimes suffer from depression, nightmares, social anxiety or insomnia?
do you feel lonely? Homesick? Fearful of the future?
How do you feel about your new reality here?
How do you feel about having to rebuild your life? Have you had to start from scratch as many?
Now try to give yourself strength and support, but also give it love and sympathy
Who’s better to be your friend than you?
Write every positive thing you can about you or in your life.. Be cheesy!
People you share love with
Moments of luck and success
Achievements, no matter how small or big
Challenges that you overcame
Qualities you like about yourself
Your resilience, acceptance, and ability to love
CAUTION: This experience may provoke pain or intense emotional reactions according to your experiences and sensitivity.
Note: You can use this writing method to help deal with non-war related traumas and mental disorders as well. For example, trauma due to abuse or losses at a young age..