(Please Note: This is not a piece on the definition of trauma, nor on how to heal it. Do not read on if that is what you are looking for)
‘It felt like you threw me so far from myself, I’ve been trying to find my way back ever since’
As I was moving along my life timeline, singing happy songs and practising mindfulness, yoga and all sorts of grand and worthwhile pursuits – a slight disturbance would surface.
I would feel it or sense it as a small stone in my throat.
Or a brick on my chest.
And normally, just as I was going to sleep.
Now for someone who has been on a healing trajectory probably since just out of the womb, it happened rather spontaneously to start believing at some point, that, I was ok.
Ok because I could acknowledge the abuse I had experienced.
Ok because I had ‘dealt with it’ – and ok because I could get on with my life and ‘forgive’ and ‘forget’ and be all Champion about it.
I probably was ok, if wearing a monocle gives one 2020 vision
Yet I can now tell you that I most definitely was not.
Not on my inside.
So what do I normally do when I sense something really big is happening in me?
I ignore it.
For as long as I can.
And yet. And yet…
“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Seeing that I could no longer ignore this little nagging inside me, I took pen to paper and journaled.
Let’s cut to the here and now, and not dwell on the messy-mushy-not-so-pretty-inbetween.
Asking the right questions is key
So, from nowhere, I asked this question – did I perhaps suffer trauma?
Answer – no way.
Did I perhaps suffer some form of trauma?
Answer – maybe.
Am I perhaps too ashamed to say I have suffered trauma?
Answer – silence.
And there it was.
Not just the answer but also the reason I could never get to asking the question in the first place.
I equated trauma only – and I mean only – to something akin to the Rwanda-Burundi genocide, the Holocaust, or severe and brutal rape.
I never even thought, let alone acknowledged, that trauma is experienced differently by everyone and it manifests differently in everyone.
There is no rule or standard of high, low or not significant.
For decades I told myself that the abuse I experienced was there, it happened, but actually, compared to other people and the world – IT WAS NOTHING.
As Aldous Huxley said – “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
I ignored the fact.
Small as it was.
It was vital.
It was alive.
A living energy in me.
Causing me to live a life so small that even I struggled sometimes to find evidence of this life.
I finally broke down and acknowledged that yes, I was traumatised.
The emotional and energetic release from my body was so instant – I thought for a split second there was a switch that someone had flicked on.
Needless to elaborate, not a stroll in a jasmine scented garden.
I had IGNORED, FORGOTTEN AND DISOWNED that part of me that suffered because I was ashamed.
Ashamed of not being able to say No, or stop it, or speak up.
Ashamed of not being strong enough then to stand up for me.
Ashamed of doing all the right kinds of therapies, inner journeys, yoga, mindfulness – you name it – and that I could still be abused and traumatised.
Ashamed at letting mySelf down.
Ashamed that I could not say the word to bring me back to me.
Trauma is not a blasphemous word.
It is only one, when not uttered.
Left to fester in the deadly silence of shame.
Shame becoming a convenience.
A convenience to forget, ignore and disown…