Scars – we all have them, but what do we do with them?

Scars – we all have them.
Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual….

Some we can live with and others we abhor with intensity.
It is how we embrace them that matters.
1. we can cover them up and be unaccepting of ourselves and our self perceived ugliness.
Or
2. we can be completely unabashed, and unashamedly display them.
The first is our natural instinct
The second takes work, a hell of a lot of work.

When I was quite young I had an altercation with a barbed wire fence.
It left a raised horrid scar on my upper inner thigh.
I hated that scar with a passion
for years
But now I barely ever think of it
It is still there
still the same as it ever was
it is not a concern to me anymore
Time has healed.

I have other scars
hidden soul scars
Too many of them
I chose the first route for years
but there was so many toxins festering beneath them
I finally realised if I didn’t choose the second route I would never ever heal completely.

I have only recently chosen to confront and display my scars
And in so doing am coming to a place of positivity
And a place of content peacefulness.

A year ago I had a most fortuitous encounter with a lovely woman who has since become a friend.

Sera lit up my life 🙂
That encounter unleashed so many opportunities.

Looking back I love seeing the unfolding of chance encounters.
Is it really chance?
Karma?
Fate?
Coincidence?
We used to say that a ‘coincidence is just a miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous’
Whatever way you look at it
that meeting was the beginning of so many positive things for me.
Sera was wearing the most wonderful jacket.
Being someone who loves mixed media I was immediately drawn to it and to the message it was portraying.
Be Still My Sacred Heart
That resonated so loudly in my damaged and vulnerable soul.

That jacket and it’s branding is the baby of Amanda Betts
She began Bridge the Gap Project to support and empower young victims of abuse.
The Heartspeak Collective allows victims/survivors to tell their stories through art and fashion.
I was so inspired and absolutely delighted to finally meet and spend time in Auckland with the dynamic and enthusiastically energetic Amanda a few months later.

I then began communicating with Sera about creating my own garment with her.
When I began talking with her about Heartspeaking a garment it seemed a natural progression to use my tattoo as part of my creation.
My phoenix is in a fairly private part of my anatomy
Only comes out in summer 😉
My eldest son reminds me often that scars are the tattoos of the brave.
The Phoenix is my Brave rising from the ashes of my abuse and heartbreak.
Perfect!

I also loved Sera’s cocoons so decided to combine those two loves.
We physically connected a few weeks ago and began working.
We spent the day choosing, cutting and piecing fabrics.
It was so much fun working with her on the project
I was so in my element
Back in my happy space that I haven’t been in for so long
It was feeding my creative mojo and incredibly therapeutic

I had to leave Sera to finish it as I needed to return home.
The following week I was transiting through Auckland airport and Sera delivered the finished garment to me.
I was blown away
So rapt
Ecstatically happy with the results.
It is absolutely perfectly Me 🙂
Thank you Sera
And Thank you Amanda
You have touched my heart and helped towards the healing of my soul
 Each Heartspeak garment has a heart tucked in it somewhere.
Mine is the large orange flower – of course 😉
And the words in the banner – also from my tattoo
illa alis volat propriis 
(She flies with her own wings) I was also delighted to hear Amanda exclaim that the blue/orange flames were cut from one of her old dresses.
So I feel like am carrying a piece of her and Sera with me where I go.

Turning Wounds into Power

This year has been one of immense growth for me.
I have finally found my voice
And now that I have, my wounds have become words that hold so much strength and power.

Since I came completely out of my closet back in May life has really gained momentum
There’s been some really hard times but the positive things are outweighing those.

Early June I was interviewed by the lovely Megan Bowers-Vette 
She was wanting to portray abuse survivors not as victims but as people with renewed strength & life
The US Project was begun with a photography exhibition in Whangarei
Then released in the most amazing heart rending book
I am so proud to have been able to work with Megan in this project
She has done a brilliant job depicting 50 people in NZ & Australia who are daily living with the consequences from the experience of rape, and other forms of sexual abuse.
She has now published The Us. Project Book of Stories
It is a tremendous book portraying so much heartache, and yet so much strength.
Such a powerful communication
I would encourage you to buy this book
Read, pass it on, share it around
Open peoples eyes to truths
Where so many refuse to see and choose to stay blinded.

I was interviewed by UNICEF a couple of months ago.
It was an incredible privilege to work with Shelley on this project.
To be able to speak out on behalf of other children
Children like me who are being silenced
Not by violence
But by emotional headfucking
Which is more silencing
Because of the lack of ability that people have to see and understand what is happening
The support which has come from the video and article has been huge.
My hope is that it reaches and helps many young ones to speak out and find help and to prevent so many more from experiencing what I did.

I know that this is a really tough subject
It is very confronting to so many
Especially those who are connected in a vicarious way to a victim
But what has to be remembered
When dealing with this type of trauma
Is that the victim
Is the victim
and
The victim
should not
is not
to be blamed
or shamed
or accused
or doubted
No matter how difficult it is for you to process

You have to stop
and think
and just listen
and actually
hear
their pain
hear
their truth
because it is their truth
and you cannot dispute their truth

You have to stop
disbelieving
victim blaming
victim shaming

You have to stop
supporting
encouraging
allowing behavioural continuance
to the perpetrators
Just because they appear to be
so good
so important
so squeaky clean
so -‘oh they would never do anything like that’

You have to stop
questioning
why didn’t you disclose earlier
why didn’t you say something at the time
why did you wear that
why did you go there
why did you drink that
and the worst one of all
why didn’t you confront your abuser?????
Seriously???

Unless you have lived the pain
You have absolutely NO IDEA
of the why
to any of these questions
You have absolutely NO IDEA
of the re-traumatising that happens
from your questions
from disclosing
from the doubting
from the demands
You put on us

Please just stop
and love us
hold us
and give us space
and time
to heal
in our own ways
in our own time

We so need you
If you can do this for us
We can heal
We can become strong
We can face the world again
And we will totally kick arse and become even stronger than before!

Therapy

Therapy
-a treatment that helps someone feel better, grow stronger,
-the act of caring for someone

Origin

I used to think therapy was the difficult stuff
the hour long sessions spent with my therapist
But
it’s not

Therapy has
many colours
many forms
many shapes
many times

Therapy
for me
is writing
is meeting a friend for coffee and and one on one time
is time & fun with my children
is taking the dog for a quiet meander along the river walk
is impulsively popping in for a chat with a friend
is sweating up a steep hill track and taking in the spectacular views from the top of my achievement
is impulsively shopping
is leaning into the arms of my closest tribal members and sobbing my heart out
is allowing them to feel my pain
is receiving their love and encouragement
is watching movies that make me cry, and laugh, and think
is sharing my innermost soulful thoughts with my best friend
is spending a day in bed with Netflix just because I can
is messaging my lover in the early hours of the morning
is sharing belly laughing crazy wine drinking sessions with my tribe
is creating art
is accepting the love and understanding of my man
is being held safe in his arms
is sitting at the beach and soaking in the sunshine
is planning my garden
is clambering around slippery river rocks with my children
is walking beside others who have also experienced my journey
is creating something joyous and wonderful and beautiful
is dancing wild and free
is making love
is gloriously wonderful food
is coffee

is orange :-)Therapy is caring for me in a way that restores my soul
But
I find
it tends to come delivered on a roller coaster
I delight in the parts of the ride that are slow
easy
soothing
cruising
but
while I am enjoying them I don’t tend to notice that the car I am riding in is beginning to climb…
Until I am perched at the top
rocking
waiting
then….
horrifyingly
the ride it gets to be screamingly scary
Situations arise
Events happen
my carriage plunges
down
down
down

and the therapy becomes
brutally intense
it makes me writhe in pain
I feel as if I am being torn apart
the anguish of the years
comes pouring out of my eyes
without permission
and when I think
I just cannot bare another moment,
when I am totally emotionally spent
the roller coaster reaches the bottom
and quietly cruises again
I gasp and gulp and reel
from the carnage wrought on my soul
I nurse my bruises
then realise
I made it through
that time
I begin the gentle soul soothing nurturing
knowing that this time
I have been made stronger
so that the next time my carriage reaches its peak
the pain won’t be as raw
the screaming not as loud
the ride down not as intense
nor as long

Nayyirah Waheed expresses it so well

recovering
healing
from abuse
is not an easy journey
it is wrought with hard seasons
but it is not an impossible journey
if you are willing to reach out
and accept the hands
who want to love you
but the hardest thing of all
for us
is

Aggrandizing of self

When the Japanese mend broken objects,
they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with GOLD.
They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.

I absolutely fell in love with this concept when I discovered it.
As someone who has been broken
not just once
but many, many times
I know what it is like to be shattered into so many pieces
that it feels like I will never ever be whole again

Aggrandize
such a marvellous word
I love how it rolls off my tongue
it has such
a beautiful tone
a wonderful feel
an importance even

It derives from the Latin grandis – meaning large
It is an enlargement or increase
in power, status, wealth
In this case
it is enlarging the worth of a broken object
by making it
even more beautiful
than before

Over recent months I have been picking up my broken pieces
I have been spending time
working out how to fit all of those shattered fragments back together
It has taken me years to understand
that no matter how hard I try
I will never be the whole that I was
way back before
I was broken

But I can be whole again
even more than I am now
By piecing together the best parts of me
the healed and healing parts of me
and aggrandizing them
with the gold that I am discovering along the way

Gold that comes in so many forms
true ‘stay with me forever no matter what shit I put them through’ friends
new members of my tribe
new experiences
deep emotional discoveries
and
new love 💖

I can be whole
I can be a new me
Aggrandized into a far far more beautiful self
than I ever believed possible

And that
to me
is
Pure Gold

Continuum

For too many years I was frozen into silence by shame
Shame that was not mine to carry
I was also silenced by loyalty
Family loyalty
But I know now that was all bullshit
Because the only one that was being damaged was me
And I was the one
In my child’s mind
Protecting everyone else
Because don’t you know
Family has to stay loyal
Family has to cover up the dirt
Family is more important than the abuse of a child
But now…
I am saying enough!!

I am sick and tired of being the victim
Tired of being victimised
I will not be shamed into silence again

For too long I was under the impression that I was the only one
But as I have broken my silence I am hearing more and more from others who were victimised by my father
It is daunting and horrific
And I am sickened by the extent of his depravity
Yes, I know he is dead and gone
Yes, I know he cannot defend himself
But I know that as an adult I personally challenged him and he never denied a thing
All he said was – as he brushed it under the carpet
‘Its all in the past’
All in the fucking past!!
Yeah Nah!
You cannot abuse a child for over 10 years of her childhood and think you have left her unscathed.
It doesn’t work that way.
It will never be in the past
Yes I have worked on my healing
Yes I am still working on my healing
Yes I am on a new journey
And Yes I am in a really really good place now
But the damage he inflicted will never ever be forgotten.
I will not allow myself to be swept under a carpet again.
I know now that I am far too valuable for that.

My childhood memories are not all scarred with depravity.
I am the first one to admit that there were some great times along the way.
My grandmother was a true feminist, way ahead of her times, and I loved her for that
I spent many holidays with her and my ‘not so much older than me’ uncles who I adored like surrogate older brothers
She was a strong influence in my formative years
My mother was educated, a teacher, always a teacher – I understand that because she passed that trait on to me
She provided me with a wonderful understanding and appreciation for music and culture and the arts
I will always be very grateful for that
And for the sacrifices she made to ensure I received those piano lessons, the precious books, the records she could ill afford.
From both these women I inherited the love of words and the ability to express myself passionately in my writing.

Unfortunately my memories of the great times are pretty much all tainted by the undercurrents of what I was experiencing under the covers, behind the doors, when no-one was looking, when no-one was seeing
On the surface everything in the garden was very rosy
It was beneath the surface where the rot was lying.
And when there is rot it eventually weakens the foundation and everything collapses.
It took many years for this rot to work its way to the surface
And now I am burning it out and rebuilding my foundations with new wood.

I do have many happy times that I recall
As a preschooler my mind casts back to a carefree spirited little girl
and I see snapshots of me pre the age of 7 that easily spring to my mind
In those snapshots I see myself, but I also see my carefree little granddaughters reflecting in their similarities to me
I just hope and pray that my little girls will never, ever, ever, have to endure what I did.

By breaking my silence
By bringing the rot to the surface to be dealt with
I am allowing discussion and freedom to talk openly
I have had so many friends and family come to me in the past weeks saying
‘Thank You’
‘Thank you for sharing’
‘Thank you for opening the door to allow us to talk’
‘Thank you for giving us the ability to share our pain’

It has taken every ounce of strength I have to come to this point in my journey
The emotional exhaustion from writing has been immense
I began to spiral down the tunnel again last week
I allowed myself a day of recovery time
I was tended to by empathetic friends
But I knew I couldn’t allow myself to fall too far
I will not let myself go there again
I woke the following day with resolve
I put my armour back on
My warrior self kicked the black dog fair out the door
And I faced the world again
Brave
Courageous
With my smile
I will not allow my smile to be stolen from me again

This is my story
My journey
My truth
and in front of me
is
My future
And I am writing it myself
I will not allow anyone to corrupt my shine ever again

‘Angry is just being scared’

I went to a one man show on Sunday night
I actually went so I could take my lad
Because I thought he would gain more understanding and clarity about depression
After 35 years of home educating I never stop do I??
Always looking for the educational opportunity for my kids 😉

But, as I discovered once before, 27 long years ago
And I remember the moment with extreme lucidity
I was the one who came away with the insight and clarity
I was the one who needed to hear the message

27 years ago
I still remember the night
I had organised/arranged for us to visit with a local guy who was well known for his evangelical relationship ministry.
And I was so incredibly sure that Tim needed sorting
Oh my!
Was I so wrong??

That evening
Not long before we were about to leave
All hell blew up
A random anonymous phone call
To this day I have no idea who it was
But that person had information
And that person told my mother what my father had done to me
And like every other thing that she couldn’t deal with in life
She never spoke another word about it from that night on
She literally swept it under the carpet
Leaving me a total mess
Once again
I was abandoned by my mother

I remember arriving on Jack’s doorstep – an emotional hysteric
I was a Mess!
It wasn’t Tim that needed sorting
It was my shit that needed unfucking
That was the first step I took in my healing journey
27 years ago
It was a very tiny step in the scheme of things
But that man I thought needed sorting out
That man
He stood by me the whole journey
He was my rock
And I am ever so grateful for him for all those years
He rescued me when I was a damaged teen
And then he protected me for all the years to follow
He always had my back no matter what
And that ‘no matter what’ was extensive
I had no idea back then what PTSD was
I had no idea why I was so angry
Or where the anger was coming from….

Rolling forward to last Sunday night
‘Shot Bro – Confessions of a Depressed Bullet’
Rob Mokaraka’s one man performance was insightful and challenging
Dark humour, Maori humour, confronting, energetic and powerful in his presentation of his life battle with depression,
He had us in tears and laughter
But what hit me deep within my heart
was when he said
‘Angry is just being scared’

Oh God!
The tears are still pouring down my face as I type this
Just being scared
How much of my life have I lived being scared
So much
Too much
The anger covered up the scared little girl cowering in the corner

Looking back I can see that every time I feel my life is out of control
The anger surfaces
But that anger is covering up the scared
As a child I was scared so much of the time
Scared because I never knew when my father would ‘want’ me
Scared because I knew that if anyone found out our family would blow to bits
Scared
Just plain honest to God scared for pretty much most of my formative years
But from the time I escaped at 18
I lived life on a high wire
I was a thrill seeker
I was out there
But I only went as far as I could without losing control
If I lost control then the scared took over

Throughout my life I can look back now and identify all the moments
All those moments when the control was taken from me
And the angry me had to protect the scared me

This morning when those words were going around in my head
‘Angry is just being scared’
‘Angry is just being scared’
‘Angry is just being scared’
the tears were trickling down my cheeks as I lay on my pillow

I need to let that anger go
I have been angry at so much in the past years
Angry at my father for abusing me
Angry at my father for mindfucking me
Angry at myself for allowing that mindfucking to ruin so much of my life
Angry at my mother for not protecting me
Angry at my mother for not hearing me
So incredibly angry at Tim for abandoning me
Angry at the Police for screwing up and covering up
Angry at the kids not seeing my pain because they were so embroiled in their own
Angry at myself for not being able to be all I need to be for my kids
Angry at the immense weight on my shoulders
Angry at all the crap I have had to wade through to get me to today
And today
I am angry because….

NO!!
I am not going to be angry today
Because
Today I understand
that ‘Angry is just being scared’

Today
I will voice that yes I am scared
I am scared of what today will unfold
I am scared of might happen – duh! how stupid does that sound!
I am scared that my dreams for my future will be taken from me

But in this moment
I am going to allow the other part of me to become the stronger part of me
The other part of me is going to embrace the future
The other part of me is excited about stepping out into the unknown
The other part of me is going to ask for help when she feels scared

If you do see me angry
Please put out your hand and just ask
What is scaring you?

Putting my vulnerability right out there!

for a long long time words have evaded me
me
a woman who usually has so many words
a woman with a word passion
a woman who has a massive word fetish
but the words i needed
just haven’t been able to be found
each time i start to write
the blankness of the page stares back at me
and the pain blocks out any ability to form comprehendible words

but this week
finally
i think i have broken through the barrier
this is incredibly hard
brutal
harsh
real
sickening

over the past six years i have used the most painful words i could
to elucidate the pain
but none of them really cut to the chase
abuse
sexual abuse
incest
childhood abuse
assault

but they are all too removed
they cause a separation
they are bad
really bad
but not bad enough
they actually
minimise

today the full essence of my core pain was understood
by my own self
which is the most important part of all of this
when i verbalised
named that pain out loud

when i first addressed this pain
i pushed open the closet door just enough to allow myself to breath
i inched out my toe
tested the waters
but the response was oppressive
the waters raged at me
i began drowning in distress
i hurriedly pulled the closet door closed
running back to the safety of dark silence
and since then have only let it open a little when i have felt a tad brave

but keeping that door closed
means keeping secrets
and secrets kill
secrets allow the demons to play games in your mind
secrets allow the pain to continue
secrets allow the pain to continue be perpetrated

so today I make a deliberate choice
to find those words
to name that pain
for what it was
to blast open the door
blow it completely off its hinges
to let the secrets fly
in the hopes that others can find their voices too

The words I needed to find
need to release
are
that i was
raped
R. A. P. E. D.
raped by my own father
countless times each week
for ten years of my childhood

there!
i’ve said it
finally
it’s out
in the open
in the public arena
woah!
breathe………..
no!
i don’t have to run for cover
i’ve nothing to hide anymore

i have been trying to come to terms with this for so many years
but how do you?
how do you ever understand?
even now
when i am so far along in my healing journey
the memories are never that far away
they are stored
in my pandoras box
on a high shelf
in the back room
of the recesses of my mind

i don’t choose to access that room hardly ever now
the lid stays shut on that box
because
in the past whenever i have lifted the lid
the demons that have attacked me
have been so brutal
so violent
so demoralising
i have been left
battered
bruised
and re-abused

i kept the lid on tight
and fought my way through life
until i could fight now more

i broke
under the pressure of keeping my fight on
i broke
and from my breaking
i have begun learning
to understand myself
to process
to communicate on far far deeper and honest levels than I ever could before
i learnt that the damage caused to me
WAS
NOT
MY
FAULT
that was huge
it took such a long long time to infiltrate my psyche

there is a very deep and often overwhelming sadness
the residue
left from the multiple rapes
that still tugs at my soul
that still now leaves me feeling incredibly vulnerable
putting this in to words
is so risky
but i can’t be BRAVE
without taking risks and exposing my vulnerabilities
and i have got to be brave
or i cannot live honestly

Warrior & Wild – but today & maybe tomorrow, can I just be plain tired?

“The wild woman has nothing to do with doing wild things, it is all about embracing your true natural self. For one that is loud and “out there” and for the other that is silent and introvert.. and everything in between.. and maybe even at the same time 
It is the woman who wants to break free from all the strings society has placed on them to find herself in the heart of love and compassion.”

I have been riding a fairly high-flying wave of awesome energy lately.
Emotional levels have been extremely high
Life is treating me well
Being loved just rocks my socks off
On personal, business and emotional levels everything is just so good

But occasionally I wake, and a small altercation tips me over before I’ve had a chance to put on my warrior armour.
It just flips me over and I find myself back, tiptoeing through a swamp of feeling just a tad sad, just a little below par.
But actually tiptoeing is vastly different to drowning!

On reflection I realise that even warriors need some time to just stop, climb down off their horses and rest a bit.
When you’ve been entering the fray and doing battle for so long you just get so used to fighting
And then when you do take time out to heal your wounds
And you regain your strength
And you work really hard to not just regain
But to renew
It is just such an marvellous place to be
It is so fricken awesome!!
I am so loving being in that place.

Along the way I have learnt to honour my soul in that place and know that not every day is going to be riding along the mountain tops
There are still some valley journeys too
What I am finding these days is that my descents into the valleys are now a lot more bearable to live with as my understanding of self increases
In fact they could even be somewhat, just ever so slightly, enjoyable
They give me time to just stop and reflect
And absorb the wonderful reality that I have healed so much
That I barely remember the darkest valleys I was walking in before.

So when the clouds close in and block my sparkle I just wait a while for them to blow on by
Knowing that despite their shading
I am still shining
And the sun will soon return
And my freaking supernova will sparkle again!!

Freedom – is being You without anyone’s permission

Here’s the thing!

Damn right it’s not selfish to take care of yourself!
So why do we constantly put ourselves last.
Especially we as women as wives and mothers
We are so used to having demands made of us
It’s pretty much 24/7
We get into the rut of being last in the equation
I know I certainly did
For years and years
Why do we have to get to breaking point
Or actually break
Before we Stop!
And evaluate and realise
That we are a priority
We have to be No 1
We shouldn’t be just surviving
We should be living!

We also get ground down by the expectations of perfection
Shoved in our faces by the media
But also our own minds play games with us
we second guess ourselves
we accept our feelings of inadequacy
we sell ourselves short
Throughout my life I have had misconceptions about myself
that have affected me in so many ways
-how ugly certain parts of my body were
-how I related to others
-how I resultantly would dress
-how I perceived myself
-how I treated myself
-how I spoke to myself
-how I spoke about myself
I know without a doubt I am not alone in this

It breaks my heart when I see & hear people being so self critical
especially the precious young ones
who have so many years ahead
which they should be enjoying in the freedom and knowledge
that they are so worthy
and perfect
in who they are
as themselves

I love Mahalia’s sign on her mirror
It is sadly too true
WARNING:
Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of ‘beauty’.

A year ago I was told that I was pre-diabetic
I was stressed to the max
Still shouldering a huge burden of grief
I was unfit
I was carrying an excess amount of weight
all of which was causing my health to deteriorate
I had not found my freedom to be Me

It has taken a while
But
with support and encouragement from Sunniva & Cally in particular
and of course my long suffering therapist 😉
I have managed to lessen my stress levels to a manageable level
I started exercising
I lost weight
I began using Isagenix products to assist my health journey
I have done heaps of self evaluation
Trading lack of self worth for worthiness
I talk to myself more positively
I am more confident in myself
I treat myself better physically & emotionally
I cut myself so much more slack

Physically I am feeling
Absolutely
Bloody
Marvellous
I do not need anyones permission
I own my own Freedom

And today I have just discovered that my BMI has dropped from the ‘heading towards danger’ area at 28
down to the more healthier level of 24
Yaaaaah!!!!
I have minimised the risk of diabetes by a huge amount
Yes, the 12 kgs+ that I have lost helps considerably

More than that though
My emotional and mental Me has developed and begun to shine
My inner person has grown
I have learnt to accept who I am as a woman
as a human being
as an equal
If any of my preconceived flaws pop into my brain
I just stomp on them
apply the order of the boot
and kick them out of my life
I have no need of them!


It is a difficult thing to really really look at yourself in the mirror
and not to criticise yourself
To actually see You
Marvellous
Astonishing
Wonderful
You 🙂
Take a moment or three
Stop and look
You are fricken awesome and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise
Including that small voice from within
Silence it immediately!!
Look at who you really are
wonderful you
amazing you
uniquely you
Who cares if your eyebrows are not on fleck
or your nose is slightly off centre
or your hair is ‘not right’
or you are a cuddlier model
or you are a slimmer machine
or your boobs are too big
or too small
or your post baby tummy is lovely and squishy
or……
or…………..
It doesn’t actually matter
There are seriously no fucks given by anyone except yourself!!


Yes
Like each of us
I have a story
Some of that story is fucking awful
But there’s also a hell of a lot that is brilliant
Through learning to love myself
I am choosing to be brave and own my own story
And by owning it
I can now write the the next chapters
And they are going to be AWESOME!

Living with PTSD

Back on the day 6 years ago that I was finally diagnosed with PTSD
It was such a relief
To know I wasn’t crazy
I was just broken
a traumatised soul
But
In the identifying
and the confronting
and the search for answers
I had no idea what lay in front of me.
I knew what was behind me
And I wanted no more of that
So I turned forwards
started the healing
facing the demons
But as I did they would attack with greater ferocity
biting at my heels
attacking with force the closer I got to identifying each one
Sometimes it felt like one step forward and ten back
I would break
and fall apart
thinking what was the point
it is all just way too hard


But finally
I found my courage
I sourced that inner strength
that had maintained me throughout those traumas
I was able to embrace the education of my mind
and was ready to face
and retrace my nightmares as each one surfaced


Being able to identify triggers
is essential
to not just surviving PTSD
but
to actually living with PTSD
In the past
triggers would escalate me out of control
I didn’t understand what was happening
And therefore
was unable to process
My normality which allowed me to cope
was
to be in control
have total structure
OCD to the max
keeping so busy so as not to remember

Today
I understand
I do have PTSD
I will always have PTSD
You cannot endure as much trauma as I have
and escape unscathed
But I am identifying the triggers
much more quickly
and in identifying them
I can deal to them

I haven’t quite got to identifying them
at trigger point
prior to the reaction
But I am processing
so much more quickly
I am also able to verbalise the situation ‘much more better’
Which for me
helps the processing
builds my emotional strength
allows me to understand
and share my self more easily
And lessens the feelings
of inadequacy
of hopelessness
of neediness
of ‘crazy woman status’

Over the past months
I have had several ‘meltdowns’
which I have been able to confront face on
Each trigger a reaction to different traumatic life experiences
Activating a neurobiological response from my amygdala
I go into instant ‘fright’ or ‘flight’ mode
I become anxious, frightened, out of rational control
But thankfully now
that is only for a short time

The reality of living with PTSD
is the ongoing
underlying
‘just have to live with’
stuff –
the sleeplessness
the inability to focus
the fluctuations
– emotional numbing
– emotional excess
the hypervigilance
the adrenal fatigue

Through my many many sessions with my therapist
(I still cannot believe she has never given up on me!!)
my work with other abused & traumatised women
and researching the ways trauma effects the brain
especially a young developing child’s
learning big words 😉
like
amygdala
hippocampus
ventromedial prefrontal cortex

I have learned to manage, conquer or control many of my symptomatic responses
-the intrusive thoughts of unwanted memories
-the flashbacks
-the mood alterations
-the shame, blame, persistent negativity
-the avoidance
-the depression

When I get gutshot by a PTSD trigger
I can now
identify it
deal to it
let it go – (why does that want to make me burst into song 😉 )
and use it to help others

The Becca Lee poem at the top really speaks from and to my heart
She summarises me perfectly
If you have managed to read through to the bottom of this
please go back and read about ‘me’
I’ve written previously about my phoenix rising from the ashes
this rebirth of mine
the growth from the pain
which has made me the woman I am today
I would gladly have traded all that pain whilst enduring it
But now
today
where I am right now
I can honestly say
I am ok

In fact today
I don’t just think
I’m ok
I know
I am doing
Absolutely brilliantly!

But if you are with me on the days when I am not doing quite so brilliantly
Please be a just little forgiving xxx