“As the partner to a trauma survivor, how do you do it? How do you keep going?”
Funny. In the last two weeks, I have been asked this question three times. Maybe even stranger, I didn’t have a ready answer. Not because there isn’t one, but because when I am just doing life, when I am ‘keeping going,’ I don’t actually think about it!
But since the question came up, I decided to think about a concrete answer. Because as a partner, I do keep going and I know other partners do too. All of us keep moving and doing even when it might feel we aren’t doing much at all.
So I’ve come up with my list. This list isn’t about the big things. It’s not about going to therapy, or exercising, or making time for self-care. This list is about the tiny, small, barely noticeable, moment by moment ways I keep going every day.
Please keep in mind this list is what works for me. If you are a partner, your list may be completely different or a little similar. More on that below.
5 Little Ways I Keep Going as Partner of a Trauma Survivor
1. I slow down
I look out the window. I notice the smell of cooking food. I try to notice the small details around me.
2. I enjoy life
I enjoy small moments throughout the day. I enjoy texting or talking with a friend. I enjoy my daughters. I enjoy classical music on the radio.
3. I laugh
Small doses of laughter keep me going and help my relationship with my partner. Some of the best insiders jokes my husband and I share are about super stressful stuff.
4. I check in with myself
Small check-ins on my physical body help too. Am I breathing? Is my body tense? Where is the tension? Little check-ins help me stay present and alert.
5. I keep track
Each night, in a small journal, I list five ways I have kept going that day. Most days it is stuff like ‘Made dinner, ‘Drove my daughter to guitar lessons,’ or ‘Talked with a friend.’ Keeping track keeps me going.
Now Your Turn
If you are a partner, what keeps you going? What little or big ways work for you?
How do you answer the question: How do you keep going?
Let me know in the comments or drop me an email.