Train wrecked

When life is trucking along
you are hit by small triggers spasmodically but you just stop briefly and deal with them as they bump you
then you’re back on course again
till the next wee one
They feel big
But in actuality they’re just potholes that reduce your speed momentarily

But when out of left field
a huge train mows you down
you don’t have time to run for cover
It unleashes all the demons that you’ve managed to keep locked in your basement for the past years

It
sucker punches
gut punches
derails you

all the tips and techniques you’ve learnt
all the therapies
all the breathing
everything just flies out the window

Those demons start playing havoc in your head
reigniting memories
exhausting you with all the ‘whatifs’
all the ‘whys’

Taking me down trails I don’t want to go
the overgrown tracks I have been consciously avoiding
shutting out
closing my mind to
No!!
I don’t want to go there again
No more
Stop!!!

The anger
the grief
the absolute sadness
and the feelings of betrayal

The betrayal is the worst
all these years and they knew
but they stayed silent

The betrayal….

my fight is gone

anger
rage
burns into a blankness of nothingness

the fight I’ve felt
the fight I’ve fought
nine years of active duty for my baby

two years of
holding him
fighting him
fighting for him
containing him
suffering with him
but
not understanding
not knowing
the cause
or the pain

then
the discovery
the horror
the disbelief
and weirdly, the relief
as if a diagnosis can heal a broken soul
of course it can’t
but it gives perspective
and some understanding

then finally
the arrest

and then the silencing began
the waiting
holding our breath
keeping our tongues lawfully gagged
closed mouths
unable to release the anger and fears contained within my mothers heart
so many tears
the anxieties
and perplexities
watching his continuing agonies
his blacknesses
his fear and incapacities to live fully
shared anger
shared pain

after four years of being silenced
facing that monster who broke my child
who tried to destroy us
finally being allowed to voice
the hatred
my anger
for all his despicable evilness

then the feeling of bewilderment
as the silencing continues
our judicial system
works slowly
inefficiently
almost impotently
the temptation to allow a bullet or a rope
is so great
but reality checks our responses

finally
his name is revealed to all
but only to all who care
only to those who give a damn
his name is a 5 min wonder in the daily newspaper
buried unless you know

26 months
for all the pain and the torture inflicted upon us all
26 months
for lives wrecked and destroyed
26 months…
words fail me
I’m silenced again
this time by my inability to express brokenness

then after not long enough
gut slamming phone calls
parole board mandatory reports
received when least expected
bolts from the blue
jarring me back
to those years past

re-opening the numbed lesions of my soul
released after 17 months served
how is this justice
my body tries to find the anger
and the rage
but all that’s left is
soul destroying numbness
helplessness
nothingness
blankness

the proverbial rug has been completely pulled from under
the silence is continuing
ringing in my ears so loudly
i cannot hear
i’m crushed
my fight is broken

this pain
shouldn’t be my pain to carry
but this is my baby
my precious, precious child
the one I birthed and have nurtured for over 2 decades
his pain
is my pain
a mother carries her child’s pain
as if it were her own
in the hopes
that he will eventually be free of his own









honouring friends

when you spend the day creating
for a special person
to lift their spirits
and to share your love
and then a phone call
one you’ve been dreading
hoping not to receive

grief hits you a side blow
and you come tumbling down
the pain from within
echoes that of times past
losing a loved life long partner
so heartbreakingly hard

tears flow
where do I go with this
where can I go
but to other friends

spend time with friends
now
before its too late
make time
take time
before you have to join to celebrate
the life well lived
of yet another friend
who has left
too soon

when darkness descends – again

when your head hurts
when there is so much chaos inside
that it blanks out all rational thinking
random thoughts
swirl around
battering my brain cells like a raging storm
I try to follow one thought
but it diverges into a torrent flowing a different direction
another thought
and another
small streams
all diverging into a raging river of pain

pain from so many sources
heavy weightedness
my head aches
with weariness
my body drags with an unexplainable lethargy
I don’t know how to find the beginning
let alone the end
too many beginnings
they just add and add and add
so much more pain
and grief
to the weightedness I am feeling

a random person sees
my pained being
delivers a hug
causing my eyes leak with tears
but still holding back the rivers that want to flow
because those nearest
cannot see
what is inside of me
and I am scared
than if they do
it will horrify them
because it terrifies me

I try to grasp at one
to decipher
where it came from
but my brain sees another
and runs to that
then to another
until my head is so full

my hands try to hold my brain
the explosions of pain
darkness
weariness
sadness

how can I describe
the darkness within
when I cannot find the beginning
to begin







Living Fully Creative Therapy

My journal page during the weekend
quote Ann Voskamp

I spent the end of March and the first two days of April participating in a Living Fully Creative Therapy Group
3.25 very intense days 😥
It was a ‘retreat’ for sexual abuse survivors.
I was fortunate to be put forward for funding to attend.
It was with much trepidation that I agreed.
I didn’t know what to expect so went with no expectations.
I deliberately booked myself into a motel nearby as I knew that I would not cope with the travel too and fro after such intensive days.
That was a self care move and a good one
I was right.
I needed space for me each night.

We were a small group of victims in varying stages of healing.
It was challenging, disturbing, distressing, amazing, painful and wonderful all at the same time.
To be able to freely communicate and be heard & believed and supported in such a safe way was actually incredible.

I’ve never experienced psychodrama or group therapy before 😬
It was certainly very interesting, challenging and emotionally draining.
Actively participating in the dramas was definitely not something I was comfortable to do
I preferred the role of witness and giving feedback
This was an important part of the proceedings
The art therapy portions were certainly more my thing
There just wasn’t enough of them for me 😉


What did I take from my time there?

Firstly – I learned that I can participate, or not, at whatever level I am comfortable with and saying no is very ok.
And I was commended for doing so.

Secondly – I learned that I can hold my own space.
That I’m important and have as much right as anyone else to hold space.
That I’m not taking from anyone else.
And that in owning my space I’m also giving to others.

Thirdly – I learned that I was believed.
At all times.
I was supported and held in the safest place I’ve ever been in.
In the past when I have tried talking openly I’ve been shutdown & silenced.
That is revictimisation and I will no longer allow myself to be a victim of that.

Fourthly – I have never read my work aloud to anyone before.
I usually write & run.
But this time they wanted my words.
They asked me to read to them.
Their responses were more than could’ve imagined.
So much empathy, compassion, & identifying.
I felt validated.
As a writer.
As an artist.
As a woman.

An initial 20min exercise at my Living Fully Workshop.
The colours portray different areas of my life, the brown are the shadows that people can’t & don’t want to see

Day 2 of my Living Fully Workshop. 20min Art expression session
Words which are all part of me at any given time….

My incomplete Fucked Up list

quote Russell Brand – Step 4 from RECOVERY

For the past few days my mind has been a mash up of blank emotions
Feeling with others
Identifying with parts of their stories
But not knowing how to process my own
Because it just feels too huge
Too complicated
Where do I start
my PTSD,
my ball of string, has so many pieces rolled into it
some are long, very very very long
and others are short, abrupt, moments
with many varying lengths between

This morning Russell Brand challenged me loud and clear
He pushed me up off of my pillows and said
Start writing!

Here goes….

My father
He was my main fuck up
He fucked me up so fucking good
He spent my entire childhood ensuring I was totally fucked up
And he did such a good job of it
Incest is the most confusing type of sexual abuse anyone can endure
No violence involved
Just so called love and enjoyment
It turns my stomach to recall how much he made me enjoy what he did to me
For over 10 years
That is a total screw up in anyones brain
I bury those memories so deep
But this morning they are surfacing
And I am SO FUCKING ANGRY
He stole so much from me
The pleasure of actually knowing when I lost my virginity
Or the ability to give consent and give myself to who I wanted
The never knowing when, because it is blurred into obscurity
The not knowing how to guide my own children
My children – OMG don’t get me started on that
He locked my emotions up so fucking much
I didn’t know how to parent or communicate with me own children
I so fucked up my own children

That day we were going to visit our friends
the day our landrover rolled off the road and down the bank
the day the one man I trusted
let me down for the first time
that one error of judgement
set triggers alight that haunt me decades later
fears that seem now to be irrational
but are so fucking real
fear of falling
fear of losing my children
fear of confined spaces
fear of losing control
fears, irrational and uncontrollable fears…

Home from the hospital
an innocent comment
A curious question
Allowed us to discover our precious daughter
had been abused whilst we were away
she was in the care of someone we trusted
but still a fucked up deviant who managed to get to my precious little girl
So Fucking Up and So Fucking Angry

A month later
pregnant with very unplanned baby No4
after pelvic injuries, broken left ankle, sprained right knee
and weeks on crutches
after a month of painkillers
after a month of vomiting
then
bleeding
a bucket full of bleeding
nearly died getting to the hospital
I lost my baby

Abused by a hospital doctor
another man I should’ve been able to trust
my husband’s ignorance/innocence in female medical stuff allowed it to happen
Nurses enveloped me
allowed me to cry
helped me understand what he did to me was wrong
a week later
re-admittance
a repeat proceedure
re-traumatisation

Finally home
Fucked up again
No you can’t grieve your baby
You gotta praise God
Cuz you gotta accept its all part of his plan
So no tears
No sadness
Let’s just praise God and carry on living
So Fucked Up

Baby No5
Perfectly normal pregnancy
Horrendous delivery
Hospital trauma
Stirrups
Huge needle in my spine during stage 2
Total evacuation of my uterus
Post birth – you need to get out of bed
Migraine to the max
Oops – another medical fuckup
More needles in my spine
“oh you have a wee boy after 3 girls. How lovely”
No fucking way do I want this kid!
I am in so much pain and you expect me to love this baby
10 days to finally hold and begin to love my boy
Such a Fuck Up



Baby No7
7 years later
My friends enveloped me
Finally I was allowed to grieve
But along the way
pieces of trauma
varying degrees of severity
adding up
relationships
family dramas
accidents
business issues
so many traumas
and falls, so many falls
culminating in years and years of body pain
But swept aside as just another thing to deal with
I kept busy, keeping busy
Running the farm
Doing all the bookwork
Raising & educating my 10 living children
Feeding the myriads that surrounded our family table each day
Encapsulating extreme busyness!
I was really, really good at keeping busy

Unknowingly
My stress bucket was filling
then one evening
one small thing was said
But it was magnificent & breathtaking in its delivery
and its magnificence overflowed my bucket
And I broke
An emotional breakdown that
completely unhinged me
Threw me off of my rotation
And spin me out of my carefully controlled busyness
It totally bewildered my husband
It completely blindsided me
But actually
I wasn’t shocked
I had been quietly screaming for help since I was a small child

That Fuck Up led me on my course of discovery and healing
And I am so fucking grateful I began then

Because the 2nd biggest Fuck Up of my life happened two years later

On the 17th February 2013
see! this time I remember all
everything
each detail of that day is marked with such clarity

My husband,
My Timmy
The man who had loved me since I was 14 years old
The man who saved me and cherished me
The man I loved so much
left for town
and he never came home
He was killed
Instantly
only 20mins from our home
when his vehicle left the road and rolled 200m down the hillside

The trauma from that moment
has overshadowed almost every other trauma in my life
I was so Fucked Up and Fucked Over by the police, victim support etc
The people that are supposed to be there for you
What a massive Fucked Up!
the spiral rippling effect this one event has had
on myself
my children
our extended family
is beyond belief
I cannot even write this without crying
I can talk about my abuse
I can get angry, feel sad, etc
But I can’t cry
But for this my heart cries
It is like a bottomless well of tears that will never stop
They are always there
No matter how happy my life is or how content I am in the moment
This trauma has fucked me up like no other




Leaving our home of over 40 years
Packing up after 4 generations
that was traumatic in itself
The splintering of our family
The inability of my children to process and support each other as they each reeled in their own pain
We have been so Fucked Up

Moving to the city
Creating new life and new friends
exciting but
So hard
I got a job
A dream job
Working with Sexual Abuse victims
I So Loved my job
Until I was Fucked Over once again
by the person who was supposed to support us and be there for us
Our Team Manager
After a particular horrendous call out
The worst any of us had ever experienced
Instead of support and care
I was Traumatised
Victimised
Stung big time by a scorpion
Put over a barrel – had to leave
Fucked Up Again


And in amongst my story
there are my children
My children all have their own stories
I have permission to tell some
but now is not that place
Their stories require their own spaces
Their stories are interwoven with mine
through it all
We have become stronger
Still Fucked Up
But So Much Fuckin Stronger

finding my space

I’ve never done the group thing before
It’s pretty damn scary
they say we are in a safe place
but any time vulnerabilities are released or revealed
it doesn’t feel safe
it’s hard to feel safe

they say it’s safe here to speak out
to tell our stories
but hearing others stories
silences my own
I don’t want my story to overshadow theirs
My story is mine
and right now it feels like if I speak
I am taking from their spaces

I feel conflicted
I am not used to just sitting
listening
watching
someone share their pain
shed their tears
and do nothing
except sit in silent agreement
I want to go to them
to surround them in a heart sharing, heart supporting, hug
but we just sit
and allow them space
to share
and to shed
to be heard
to be seen
and to grow


When it is time
then maybe
just maybe
I will allow myself the space
to tell my story
it just feels too big of a story though
it feels like it will take up too much space
that I take up too much space
that my whole story is actually just too huge
Maybe I should write a Readers Digest version
it might be easier for others to digest
but then I would feel cheated
because I too need space
to share
to be heard
to be seen
and to grow

My journal page tonight
quote – Ann Voskamp

wired to communicate

as a child we are taught
to communicate

be it with our voice or our hands
we learn to speak
encouraged to express our needs and wants
positive or negative

but we also are learned
to not communicate
by the traumas we endure
by the dangers of response

we are learned
in skills of self preservation
an innocent word
triggering an abuser
triggering a bully
triggering the anger of another

causing violent reaction
a chain reaction
learning in us
over years of trauma
to self protect

we shut down
we…
shut…
down…..

moving forward into adulthood
damaged goods
fight flight fright
concreted into our damaged psyche
cautious trusts so easily destroyed
our fragility protected by a thin crust of bravado
our lives spent walking on eggshells

the exhausting daily trials
to appear normal
to fit in
to be more than
to compensate for the imbedded feelings of worthlessness
to show that
sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me
yeah right

and then
words innocently said
body language misinterpreted
precipitously
triggering violent responses from
others
loved ones
those we trusted

like blunt force trauma to the brain
like a knee into the gut
with excruciating heart-rending pain
leaving us
reeling
winded
wounded
revictimised
retraumatised
wondering where did we go wrong
again

not understanding
that their triggers are not your triggers
their pain
like yours
is causing them to react
is causing a vicious spiral
of
damaged communication
and
damaged communicators

and so
we all shut down

A day in the life of

Facing unknowns
Unsure of what I’m entering into
Scares me shitless
Fighting the triggers and alarm bells
reverberating through my deep core
Trying to block them out
Going through the motions
Appearing to be in control
Appearances deceptively creating angst

So fucking exhausting


Filling out forms
Trying to fit myself into boxes
Am I a tick or a cross
Why can’t I just be me
Why do I have to evaluate, clarify, caterogize, or define myself
to be squeezed into boxes of mediocrity
You can have my name and address
but even those are questionable some days
Let me walk in
Unwrap me then, if you can
cuz I sure as hell can’t most days

So fucking exhausting


Answering cold calls
Arrggggg
Why did I respond
Trigger alert
Stress bucket explosion
Meltdown
Anger – at them, or is it at myself
not their fault
they don’t know what’s happening at my end of the line
Tears
Wild out of control emotional
Wipeout
Damn you trauma brain

So fucking exhausting


just one day in the life of a trauma victim/survivor

Reminiscing Convoy

It has been just a year
– a year like no other
We were a fighting force
gathered together like a group of raggle taggle gypsies
strangers with a common cause
We drove together
from the south and the north
Creating friendships
Forming bonds
Celebrating life with those who understood
Talking freely
Rejoicing in the energy surrounding us
Fighting for freedoms
freedoms lost
freedoms stolen
not just our freedoms
– everyones
Fighting for
those blinded
those hypnotised
those scared
those compliant



The toll this year has taken
is indescribable
The abuse
The silencing
The rollercoasters of energies
emotional physical spiritual
Exhaustion
Exhausted
Drained
Heartbroken
Numbness

Looking into this new year
wanting to feel positive
But knowing what’s been…
Venturing in
toe testing the waters
Feeling
apprehensive
scared
wary
weary

But overall clutching Hope
grasping Courage
preparing each day
to be Brave

Alannah Radburn