50 Ways to Deal with the Aftereffects of Trauma

Illustration by Yao Xiao

Illustration by Yao Xiao

1. Begin writing.
2. Have chocolate on hand.
3. Make tea.
4. Breathe deeper, more slowly. Actually.
5. No one is coming through the door.
6. No one is coming through the door.
7. If they come through the door, it’s someone who loves you. (You’re at home, right? Please go home. It’s okay to go home.)
8. Do you have a home?
9. I know: the night is my anniversary, too.
10. Leave the tea steeping.
11. Wear clothes that make you feel warm (which, we know, is not the same as: wear clothes that keep you warm).
12. (Dude, come over, please babe, come over, take what you need: I promise I’m fine: here: does this fit you? Even a little? Girl, please: it’s yours.)
13. Eating will not make you feel better. But you must eat.
14. It’s okay if you ate too much this time.
15. Call people you trust, and love: don’t bother making a list, just call them.
16. Are none of them picking up?
17. I won’t hug you if you don’t want me to. I will never use you.
18. Don’t forget your tea.
19. Tell me about who is communing with you:
20. Which part of yourself?
21. Do they have a different name?
22. What do they remember?
23. Remember to realize that none of this is happening now.
24. Do you have to ride the bus today? The train? Take some chocolate with you.
25. Listen to music, if you can.
26. Music that can do the falling for you.
27. Begin to remember something: remember that I love you.
28. The music is falling for you.
29. The music is falling for you.
30. Okay.
31. Okay. It’s okay.
32. Of course you can call me and tell me about it, of course you can leave a message, of course you can text me, of course of course of course.
33. The writing you might find might not save you.
34. The day begins when you say it does: I’m not talking about work. I’m talking about the soul.
35. Make a catalog of how the day changes light.
36. I get shakes, too.
37. Okay.
38. Neither of us should drive.
39. Let’s lay down on the couch again.
40. Give yourself a butterfly hug: remember that picture of that girl: how relieved they were.
41. I am not afraid of your losses.
42. And, truly, I am not afraid of you.
43. I need you as much as you need me.
44. I need us both to believe
45. That we are not corpses.
46. That we will be believed.
47. That this cold: it’s not a permanent condition.
48. that when I fog up, I’ll always redescend.
49. Only buy decaffeinated tea, infusions.
50. Yeah, yeah, I know chocolate has caffeine. One step at a time.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Riv Sokvy Voronezh

Riv Sokvy Voronezh ("reev", SOHK-vy, voh*ROH*nesh) is a mixed-race, queer_femmeblur writer and sleeper based in Massachusetts. They tweet @rivvoronezh, tumbl at rivvoronezh.tumblr.com, and fall for anyone who reminds them of weather, mascara, and dusk.

Riv Sokvy has written 1 article for us.


  1. thanks riv, for writing this.

    shit’s hard because even when i make a choice to Disclose, there is an instinct to talk about it in a specific way – whether to sanitize or to intellectualize or just to frame the narrative in a way that suits the perceived needs of the listener rather than my own needs. & i struggle with what the goals of story-telling (about violence that’s happened against me) should be – healing, education, processing, etc. obviously none of those goals are mutually exclusive but ya gotta prioritize. your piece brought these questions to the forefront of my mind even tho i’m not any closer to answering them, so thank you especially for that. <3

    • Yes. Yes. Telling–I fall into trying to protect my listener. Because I love them and trust them, and I want to keep them safe. And meanwhile their hearts are breaking because they couldn’t keep me safe.

  2. I truly appreciate this. Thank you Riv for going there and sharing your words…may healing come swiftly. And also, thank you Yao for a really cool illustration.

  3. Thank you for this magnificence. I needed every single one of these today and the phrase “Remember to realize that none of this is happening now” is absolutely magical.

    • I am not afraid of your losses.

      You are worthy. You are valuable. You are loved.

      Sending you all the good stuff x

  4. This made me all type tied with things I want to say that are things I have said combined with a thing I just realised after reading but find my self second guessing and completely editing everything out.
    The violence done to me was done to silence me.
    I have no trouble describing what happened, but I worry about upsetting people that are tender or raw with their own trauma.

    What I realised was that my method of centering, my witchcraft; singing, toning and chanting is incidentally an affirmation of my right to be vocal. It affirms I can still breathe breath as I will it and that my voice is mine to command as I see fit with no restrictions or censure.

    Thank you for doing what you’re doing.

  5. The day begins when you say it does: I’m not talking about work. I’m talking about the soul.

    I fucking survived. Some days it feels like an involuntary free dive; I’m drowning and I can’t catch my breath. The surface is a long way off, the light diffused and almost immutable.

    Intelligence: the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

    I’m not drowning; I’m depth charging my resilience.

    “I’m a woman. That means I break hard. And mend like a motherfucker; all sexy and full of heartbreakingly beautiful scars.” – Staceyann Chin

  6. This was really calming to read. Bookmarking for when I’m ready to deal with things. Not quite there yet, but hopefully soon.

  7. Thank you so much for this, it was nothing like I expected and so much of what I needed. I’ve shared it and it’s helping others too, thank you thank you thank you.

  8. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    thank you so much, all of you, for your beautiful words & thoughts & love.

Comments are closed.