Many days lately a mist comes down. It is not clear to me where I am going and maybe it only needs to be clear to me that I am being, that I am breathing, that I am inhabiting this body. Perhaps for someone like me who has spent a lot of her life hoping to escape from painful conditions in some way this is a big sign of growth that I don’t have to hold my breath and go out into trauma but can feel instead the flesh and tissue inside me as it reverberates with these trapped imprints and feelings I am trying to release.
Over these years of working to understand the impact of numerous traumas in my life I have learned that trauma puts a tear in the fabric of your being. The present moment and even your bodily wholeness and integrity is impinged upon by an event which cuts into you, that shreds you and breaks up the continuum of what you knew, what you felt you could trust in, rest in, depend upon. It brings displacement, disorientation, dislocation all of those “dis” words (is it any accident or a sign of deep synchronicity that my name starts with the initial “D”?) And most of all a deep sense of distrust.
Need it be like this?The healing comes in knowing that the world and other people will not always traumatise you but maybe its a lesson in a deep truth that things don’t always stay the same, that pain and accidents, illness, death, loss, change all happen. But this doesn’t really take into account the full throttle impact on your body and central nervous system that takes place in trauma, that fires it up in such a way that when it is trying to let go, there comes always a jolt that disrupts the rest, flinging you this way and that.
Every morning that I awaken this is what I encounter, for the waking itself is also fraught with the deep cellular memory of coming to consciousness after the impact of at least two major traumas that nearly caused death and that whipped and flung my body about and so I twist and turn never sure that I can put my foot down on the ground and trust that it will hold me in the morning, that I will, on this day, be able to move into the day and not be held back by trauma. Some days I really have to fight to move out into life.
I have tried so many different kinds of body therapies over the past years and this year the closest I have come to any deeper understanding has been through my Body Harmony treatments, but lately I have had major breaks in the continuity of these treatments, its been hard to trust and surrender and over Christmas and New Year I am having to hold it together (or try to) through the most painful time of year for me without much support. I’ve noticed particularly over the past few days I have been feeling really lost and full of grief and loneliness.
All around seem to be examples of people who are connected to love ones. This year at Christmas I lived the truth of how fragmented our family is, of the lack of true connection. This isn’t the truth with all family members. I have noticed over the past year my sister and mother making attempts to understand me at a deeper level. This has occurred only as I have had the strength to confront what seemed abusive or lacking in empathy.
Mum has her own deeply buried pain but like many of her 1920’s generation they had to “just get on with it”. “Just put it all behind you”, she said to me today when I was telling her of some recent disappointments with friends. I don’t argue with that kind of advice today. Its what she has tried to do. It is not like I want to wallow in it 24/7 but I do feel that in healing recognition only comes when we allow people to be where they are and validate that.
Lately I am experiencing deep feelings of pain and sadness over the lack of really deep, affirming connections in my life, but I must also keep positive and say that I now have two or three, its just most of the time I feel like I am surviving on crumbs or scraps of caring and its not nearly enough to sustain me.
To be honest I get more affirmation and support through my blog and from others who live this journey online that out there in daily life which at times I find very isolating.
I have received a lot of messages that aren’t helpful, telling me to try and move out from it, or run away from it, go here, do that, buy this or that, have a holiday etc etc. But the truth for me is that my pain only transforms when I face it head on and admit the reality of it to myself, no matter how painful. It means staying with myself and my body and my breath when things get so painful I am tempted to split off. It means holding myself like a little baby that needs good care on the tough days and saying loving things to myself. It means not comparing my traumatised self with that of others who have not endured that level of trauma and finding myself wanting. It doesn’t mean that I don’t take steps to take care of me and give myself good things too, its just these days I am finding trying to run or escape from me just doesn’t work or heal me.
Some days its hard to orient myself and I need to rest. Living alone there is a lot to do to sustain my life and at times I wish I could be taken care of, that I did not have to do it all alone, or that someone would just call to ask “How are you?”. This morning this prayer was answered, my sister called as she was thinking of me and we had a lovely chat where I really could say what I was feeling, that was such a gift to me, for a time it made the fog disappear.
When I was at the park with Jasper earlier this afternoon I had this thought. Often after people suicide the people around them say “I wish I knew what he or she was going through” or “they should have reached out”. This doesn’t take into account whether those around the person had enough empathy to even care or reach deeper or whether they just filled up all the available air time with their self centred life and ignored that person who spent a life time burying their painful feelings. This isn’t to imply blame but only to say, at times when I tried to talk of my pain others would not listen, or only thought about the impact on them.
That is why it is so important to really listen and to care. Until we can give this to ourselves however, though, I guess we can’t give it to anyone else and sometimes the suicidal person’s pain is so deep they cannot reach out or speak of it. For me it is always a healing breakthrough when I can say this is how it is for me no matter how dark the thoughts and feelings and be heard. For often trauma takes our voice and without it the fog comes down, disorients us and sweeps us away.
It is true to that on each day I also have to look through the mist and fog for the sunshine things in life, places, activities, food, music and other things that dispel the gloom. On the dark days it can be hard for these to even reach us but on the greyer days they might just make all of the difference. In the end its a fine line between honouring how we feel and not being trapped there, feeling so lost and alone. And maybe just maybe there are some of us who live closer to this lost, alone place. Having endured what we have we have lived things others never will and we have been changed by that experience. We cannot erase those memories or the pain, we can only find a way to bear them with dignity and grace, working hard not to dispel a sense of hope and gratitude for this present moment, attendant with the realisation that our present does not need to be a repeat of the past, that in acknowledging our trauma and speaking of it we can find freedom, peace and understanding.