Falling down, getting back up again: my journey over the last year

by | 28 January 2021 | 124 comments

Trigger-warning: Please note that this post directly references acts of sexual violence, although no details are given.

Not long before the pandemic started, suddenly, shockingly, undeservedly and unexpectedly, I was violently attacked and raped by a total stranger.

I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. I could not have anticipated it. I could not have avoided it. I could not have known that it was about to happen. I was both severely hurt, and severely traumatised. As my only viable option for survival, I immediately dissociated it and stuffed it into a box marked ‘not happening now’. This is the gift and the curse of a brain that has suffered extreme childhood trauma: reverting to type, to habits learned long ago. Dissociation is an entirely appropriate response to overwhelming trauma, and my brain knew it. It’s what I needed to do at that moment. It enabled me to survive.

Then after the rape, pandemic. As for so many people, lockdown reignited trauma in me, but then also blocked the resolution of that trauma, with the removal of human contact, the suspension of face-to-face therapy and so many other adjustments that are so detrimental to healing trauma. It was enough, to start with, just to survive lockdown. My brain preferred to keep the trauma box closed to my consciousness and let me deal simply with what was going on in the world – isolation was trauma enough.

I hadn’t been in therapy since 2016. After working through the pain and disruption, the upside-downing of my life following my divorce in 2015, life had actually been on a steady, upward trajectory. Having developed a comfortable relationship with my past and with no overt dissociativity – living mostly joined-up rather than internally segregated – I instead through those years switched my resources to developing a life worth living. I focused on building joy into my moment-by-moment experience: the joy of nature, of hobbies, of creativity and productivity and generativity, of making a difference to people’s lives through my work, of nurturing rich and mutual relationships, of improving my physical health, and of course white beach walks with my dog. Life still had its challenges – everyone’s life has challenges – but compared to ten or twenty years previously, through 2017 to 2019 I was enjoying life like never before. Recovery is my best revenge. Therapy works. The journey is worth it. Nothing was perfect, but on the whole I felt safe and my need for dissociation as a survival strategy was reduced to mere, occasional hints – traces from the past, a strategy that whispered ‘I’m here if you need me’ but not a daily imperative, because the vast majority of the time I didn’t need it.

And then the rape.

Hello, said dissociation. I’m here to help.

Thank you, I replied – silently, so that my brain wouldn’t hear. Please help.

I continued with my work for a while, unconsciously pushing the trauma, in the absence of a safe space in which to face it, into amnesia. It was truly as if nothing had happened, which is the entire purpose of dissociation. It is magical, and wonderful, and almost unbelievable. But of course over time my physical health cried out instead in protest that something was terribly, terribly wrong. I persevered for a while. And then pandemic, and multiple broken camels’ backs.

Suddenly the isolation of living alone during lockdown, the loss of routines and rituals and comfortable normality, a bereavement, the constant threat to life from the virus, the feeling that we were all extras in a slow-motion disaster movie – all of it allowed the dissociated trauma to start pressing on the inside of my skull, on the underside of my skin, against the lining of my bowels. Out it started seeping in my sleep, in pain, and in the unexpected and unwelcome return – absent for so many years – of seemingly random panic attacks.

I need to get back in therapy, I thought. For some reason, I’m not coping with lockdown.

And, with the rape safely tucked out of consciousness, I couldn’t quite figure why I was coping so ‘badly’. Because at one level – my head stashed full of psychoeducation, daily strategies to promote my mental wellbeing, and a fierce determination towards self-compassion that avoided the worst of any mental down-spiralling – I was coping just fine. And at the same time, watching myself peel away from myself like the skin of a banana, I knew I wasn’t.

I need to get back in therapy. Aah, but starting therapy during lockdown is no easy task. In the meantime, by late spring, my body was protesting and threatening to divulge the trauma through overpowering, unliveable-with symptoms: exploding guts, chronic pain, unfeasible weight gain, unhealing skin infections, and lethargy. Oh the lethargy. Like if all I had to do was sleep, all might be well. It felt like I constantly needed to numb myself into not feeling, not thinking, not knowing.

Alarmed enough to overcome my natural reticence to having gloved hands poke in personal places, I had a phone call with my long-suffering, generous, kind GP. Two minutes into my orderly listing of symptoms, with an unnerving forthright urgency, she interjected: ‘I need to see you in person. You need to come to the surgery straightaway.’ I obeyed. She swooped on me, fully clad in PPE, and in a way that murmured to the inside of me, ‘Danger, Carolyn, danger’. Tests, pokings, more tests, more pokings. She spent her afternoon off with me, to try to find an answer to this alarming array of symptoms. ‘I think you might have ovarian cancer,’ she said, because in 12 years she had never withheld her thought processes from me. ‘Or if not that, then bowel cancer. I can’t see any other explanation for your symptoms.’ I can, I thought, but I didn’t know why or what or how to put it in words like that.

I was referred urgently but the results of scans and tests was: no ovarian cancer. I baulked at the further tests she wanted to perform to rule out bowel cancer. No, I thought, it’s not that. It’s trauma. It was like there was something, in that consultation, that I wanted to say to her, but I didn’t know what. It reminded me of sitting with people in the past, not knowing how to say what I knew I didn’t know: teachers, lecturers, friends, therapists. It’s like the knowledge presses itself up against my eyelids but I can’t quite bring it into focus.

I need to get back in therapy.

And so I did. As the first lockdown acceded to a summer of naive, optimistic reconnection, I started therapy anew. First session, assessing, the ‘why are you here?’ question. And ‘what do you hope to achieve?’ And ‘to what extent will parts be present?’ None of that, I confidently asserted. I don’t quite know what the matter is with me, why I’ve not handled pandemic as well as I’d like – a vague, queasy sense that it’s pushing on an old wound, but I’m not sure what – why my confidence seems to have taken a hit, how I’m not quite able to commit to the pivot in my work necessitated by pandemic. Parts, I declared, definitely won’t be an issue because I’ve not experienced parts for several years: I learned to live in an open-plan way, hearing them, feeling them, integrating them into one overall sense of ‘me-ness’, rather than being stuck behind closed doors. The DID side of things isn’t really a problem, I figured. It’s more this sense of having taken a hit somehow and I want to move forwards and not be so stuck. Oh and the physical stuff. Because it really wouldn’t be great to have cancer and I’m sure I don’t, but why is there so much flippin’ diarrhoea?

So the scene was set. I made a deal with myself: we’re back in therapy, here are its parameters, the boundaries are clear, the sense of safety (or ‘safety-enough’) is emerging from that still place in the centre between the therapist and me. Let’s do this. Self-confidence – we’re coming for you. We will track you down; we will find you; and my life will go back to normal.

And then, impulsively and yet also as the culmination of a long-term desire, I decided to move house. Evidently I felt my existing stress was insufficient. I’d lived in Cambridgeshire since the age of nine. Much of the abuse had happened there. It was the setting for both marriage and divorce. I didn’t know why, but I had an urgent, surging need to start again, to move into a next phase, to leave some demons behind, to establish myself in a new, lockdown-supportive, for-me tribe. Therapy: let’s move forwards. A new start. The next level. The future: it starts right here.

Bang.

Within a handful of sessions parts had reappeared. I was a million times more surprised than the therapist. What was that all about? I hadn’t lived structurally dissociated for years. Why this? Why now? Something about disorganised attachment being provoked by another therapeutic relationship? Was it that? Was it just that?

And then out came the narrative from parts – disjointed, unremembered, re-remembered, dissociated, unintegrated, scalding-hot in its raw painfulness. The rape from the previous year that had been so overwhelming, so shocking, so impossible to process and integrate and deal with, that my brain had immediately pushed into the realms of not-knowing. Until now. Until, once again – my brain having done this in my major breakdown in 2005 – it felt the right time to begin to heal. Out it came. Agonising, disorienting, humbling: crudely for a while it deconstructed me again. It had all the shock of newness and utter surprise whilst also feeling as familiar as last night’s dream.

And then the Lemony Snicket-style ‘series of unfortunate events’. The house move was complex, involving renovations. Those renovations in turn hit delay after delay: supply chain, shortage of labour, and even the main contractor himself having a near-breakdown after the suicide of his sister. The temporary accommodation I had moved into was surrounded by blue flashies one night after someone tried to break in, or start a fight, or vandalise some cars … I wasn’t quite sure what, because I was unable to stay present to find out. Parts were freaked and I couldn’t go back. I moved into budget hotels and then eventually, inconveniently, decamped to my regular retreat in the Highlands, nearly six hundred miles away.

And then, suffering dizziness perhaps as a body memory of the attack itself, or my body just collapsing in protest at the level of stress I was experiencing, I had a series of falls. The first resulted in bruising as I scrambled on rocks. The second, the next day, down the stairs, resulted in incapacitating broken ribs and being stuck, completely alone, two hours from the nearest hospital, and unable for several weeks to properly walk let alone drive. As if life were not tough enough already. Ouch.

In pain, alone, immobile, I was tormented each night by nightmares, by flashbacks from the rape rolling over me like storm waves; pain so bad I passed out from it; and parts feeling the full force of this life-changing event, this trauma-that-can’t-be-real, this shift of worldview away from ‘largely safe’ back to ‘we knew it, we knew it – life isn’t safe, never has been safe, never will be safe again’. The battle then for my adult, daily-life mode front-brain to take charge over my traumatised, developmentally regressive, danger mode-based back-brain. A battle which many days, many weeks, it resoundingly lost.

What did it all mean? Had I lost the gains from my previous therapy, from all the trauma that I’d processed and integrated? Was I back to square one? Stuff surfaced from my childhood – of course it did – stuff that I thought was resolved and might have remained so if one evil man hadn’t acted his evil upon me. A new therapeutic relationship provoked unresolved attachment needs, unresolved prior relationships, losses, griefs, suspicions, paranoias. Everything in me craved a return to the steady, happy generativity of the years before pandemic. Oh, and yes, of course – pandemic. That was steadily in the background, a loud, annoying buzz, making everything a hundred times harder. Sometimes all you want, after a deep, wound-opening therapy is to sit in the quiet backdraft of another human being. The aloneness of it all was searingly painful, and my neurobiology cried out in desperation for the reassurance and soothing physical presence of a human being, the warmth of withness. I wanted someone to say, ‘You’re home now; you’re safe; I’ve got you; you’re not alone’.

In recovery from trauma, we need to be in the green zone of social engagement. We need the touch and feel and smell and immanence of people to tell our brain that the danger is over. Pandemic made that as hard as it possibly could. The trauma of aloneness from childhood, the trauma of aloneness during and following the attack, the trauma of aloneness from the first lockdown, all culminated then in the trauma of aloneness of being stuck in the Highlands with broken ribs, miles from anyone, miles from medical care, miles from rescue. For a little while, all of it felt too much.

Would I lose forever the progress I’d made previously, in therapy and in life? I found eventually that the opposite began to be true. This was a terrible time – shitty, unfair, retraumatising, horrific – but it was also very different. Last time around – entering therapy to the out-of-control explosion of my childhood trauma into consciousness through flashbacks and switching and body memories and inexplicable pain – I didn’t understand what was going on and saw myself as both mad and bad: I hated myself for my reactions and responses. This time, it was an entirely different soundtrack. Even in the midst of a flashback – that overwhelm of unremembered emotion washing up against me suddenly, unexpectedly, whilst simply putting another log onto the burner – I knew what was happening. My trauma reactions made sense to me. And I was able to calm and soothe myself, in moments of intense distress, with the reassuring knowledge that I was simply suffering the impacts of trauma, and that I was in a process, a sequence, and that if I went through it, all would again be well: I would heal from this too. I knew – knew with a red-hot determination to know it and practice and be it – that self-compassion was key. That if I loaded onto myself frustration and irritation and condemnation and pressure then I would slow the process down. But self-compassion and trauma are not easy bed-fellows. They squabbled frequently, stared each other out, at time with impetuous ferocity, but on the whole they made their peace. I needed it. It was hard enough without in-fighting.

So I took some time off from work and gave myself permission to take it slow. To heal at whatever pace it was right to heal at. To give myself what I needed. To draw back. To lick my wounds. To follow through the process. To prioritise my therapy, my healing, my recovery. To say no to everything that I could reasonably say no to, not least because I’d had no chance to say no to being raped.

Eventually my new home was ready to move into. I was still sore and disabled from broken ribs. Two days later, on a brief and first foray outdoors for weeks – simply to walk my dog – I had another fall. Later investigations confirmed I had broken another rib, on the other side. Ouch again. It felt a bit unending. And moving house is hard work. It’s even harder on your own, in lockdown, with multiple broken ribs. Don’t try this at home, people.

The first time around, therapy was a total unknown to me. I turned up, waiting for someone to fix me, utterly confused at this world that I had entered that I knew nothing about. Fifteen years later, my understanding had advanced somewhat. This time I threw myself into it whole-heartedly. Notes before each session, detailing my priorities for our time together, what I was trying to achieve. Write-ups after each session: journalling, diagrams, reflections, plans. Joining the dots. Figuring out what I hadn’t said, what I hadn’t felt, what I hadn’t felt able to know. Constantly analysing and seeing where I was at in the process, asking myself ‘What do I need to process this traumatic memory, to unpick this disorganised attachment, to associate my dissociated parts, to come back into the green zone, to heal?’

It’s early days. Part of me wanted to wait until it was all sorted before I opened up about it. Part of me wanted to hide in shame. Part of me wanted to shrug it all off and just get on with my work anyway. Part of me wanted to quietly just ‘go back to normal’ and deny that anything had happened. And part of me – eventually with the consensus of all of me (I hope) – wanted to make sure that recovery is my best revenge: not just my recovery, but recovery for other people too. It’s so important to me to be vulnerably, authentically, realistically me: not to present some image of what I should be, but simply to present the image of what I am; to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves; to put into words my experience, my journey (the good and the bad), in the hope that other survivors will be able to see their own experiences mirrored, that professionals working with them will have greater insight into those experiences and be better equipped to help them. To ensure that these things – these desperately awful things that we minimisingly refer to as ‘trauma’ – get spoken about and not glossed over into shameful oblivion. Because our suffering matters.

And so I don’t want to skip blithely over how awful it’s all been – ‘Hey, tough year, but it’s all fine now’: false-cheerful, toxic positivity. It was hard, and it’s still hard. But I’m here and once again, I’m surviving. My childhood equipped me to survive hard things. I’m good at surviving trauma – it’s normal life that sometimes feels confusing. There is still much healing work to be done – but emotionally I’m beginning to feel fresh, crisp air around me, a spaciousness again, a feeling that the snowdrops are dropping, even in the snow. My front brain is sufficiently and consistently engaged now to sit at my desk most days and push words onto a page. For me, one of the hardest impacts of trauma is my front brain going so far offline, and my inability to write and think and create and relate. It’s a relief to be back on the writing horse again. I love riding this horse. I needed to get back on it. I’m hoping I stay in the saddle, and I’ll do everything I can to make sure I do. If I need to dismount again for a while though, I will, because I will give myself what I need. But I will keep getting back on. That’s the promise I’m making to myself, and to my parts.

I didn’t expect to be writing this. I didn’t, of course, expect to be raped. I’ve always been wary of the myth of specialness, that says that somehow, because I was abused in childhood, nothing bad will ever happen to me in adulthood. That of course is in direct contradiction to the reality: that those of us who have suffered adverse experiences in childhood are far more likely to suffer adverse experiences in adulthood. It is the sickening unfairness of the legacy of trauma in our lives. It’s shit.

All I can do is – once again – ensure that it doesn’t stop me dead in my tracks. All I can do is – once again – work to ensure that recovery is my best revenge. Because I know that I am far from alone in having suffered trauma this last year or so. I am far from alone in being raped. I am far from alone in feeling that life keeps tipping truckloads of tragedy on me. There is so much pain, so much suffering, so much unfairness – for me and for so many other people. As I’ve said in the past, I count myself to be one of the lucky unlucky ones. I wish that none of this trauma had ever happened to me, but one thing I am grateful for is the support and the resources I have at my disposal. And so my determination is to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, to advocate for the unlucky unlucky ones, who don’t have the support and the resources that I do – to use my experiences, and to use my platform, to help raise awareness of the impact of trauma, the process of recovery from trauma, and the hidden evil of sexual violence in our society.

Recovery is my best revenge – both mine and yours. Let’s do this.

 

If you would like further resources on coping with trauma please click around the website or join our mailing list to receive a free Emotional Resource Guide: www.carolynspring.com/subscribe

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124 Comments

  1. I am so sad to hear that this has happened to you and I am also in awe of your tenacity towards recovery.

    I admire your sharing and airing of your process in recovery … you are a true survivor not just of life but of your true self, who you are and who you were meant to be.

    Much respect to you

    Reply
    • You can do this. The worst was to live through it. I think recovery is never done for us.

      Reply
      • I am so sorry this happened to you.

        It sounds like your mind and body helped you survive then unconsciously, and now as you heal, you are supporting your recovery and survival through being compassionate to yourself with the conscious choices you make.

        Recover at your pace.

        Reply
    • Dear Caroline

      I am truly sorry to hear of your horrific experience. Words are not sufficient to express my heartfelt thoughts to you and your parts.
      Please know I am reaching out to you and sending healing your way. Your bravery, resilience and determination to overcome adversity is always honest, inspiring and touches the heart of others. My thoughts and healing intent are with you on your journey. Keep that light of hope shining bright.

      Reply
      • I have only just read your words. I am shocked that you have had again to experience a trauma which mirrors your early life. You have earned the right to have a happy, trauma- free life. Dissociation is a valuable device, I know from my own use of it. But so hard to break out of. I’ve been inspired by several of your training workshops and feel so close to you. I’m sending warm thoughts and safe hugs and you have the right to receive or reject them as you wish.

        Reply
    • Dear Carolyn
      I listened to this whilst out walking and was deeply affected by what happened to you. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I am so sorry. Sending you love and healing for the times ahead.

      Reply
    • You are an inspiration to me. It’s understandable you’ve needed time to recover for a terrible event that was wrong. You have helped me in my work and helped me to help others. You are the pebble in a pond, radiating compassion and understanding. Thank you for all you do.

      Reply
    • I am beyond words. But my heart heaches out to you in your pain and you incredible courage. Thankyou for the gift of YOU. 💕💕

      Reply
    • Dear Carolyn .
      First may I say,
      Your are brave in speaking out and sharing your experience.

      I am so sorry to hear what has happened to you.
      This should not have happened to you.

      I want you to know that I am thinking about you and sending you lots of healing thoughts.

      I had the privilege to attend one of your workshops on working with dissociative disorders in 2019 and I meet you in person.
      Your were very helpful and kind.
      Most importantly you and your team encouraged me in my learning and personality recovery.

      So much that I have passed my level two in counselling skills during lockdown last year and looking to continue to study to do my level 3 this year.
      Because I want to help survivors ,and aspecially people who ,like my self break free from cults and cohesive groups
      and stay free from.

      I am sharing this with you because when we spoke you said to keep writing and journalling and keep on my personal road to recovery and helping others.
      Which I am doing .

      Your an inspiring person and professional , and you are making a big difference in people’s lives for the positive.

      You do this by showing up in you blogs and courses and resources your making a life changing differences to others.

      Thank you Carolyn for your hard work.
      Even more so at present as you are recovering from more trauma.

      Wishing you get all the right support and help that you need at the right time and that your recovery goes well.
      Be gentle on your self and go steady.

      Kind regards

      Annette Wincott

      Portsmouth,UK

      Reply
    • Dear Carolyn,
      I am so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story and journey to recovery. Enabling a deeper understanding for therapists and clients. Much love x

      Reply
  2. Your honesty and ability to verbalise the impact of trauma inspire and engender hope. Thank you,

    Reply
    • Im so sorry to hear this has happened to you. You were and still are an inspiration to me. Your honesty and courage is valued so much. I met you briefly a few years back and your warmth and compassion for others suffering shone through. You have helped me as a counsellor who has had her own historic trauma and was diagnosed three years ago with chronic fatigue. You helped me see the importance in taking time out to support myself so i am able to continue to support others and enable them to heal and have a new found hope for their future. Thank you

      Reply
    • Thank you for your honesty and ability to share your experiences at such a deep level. Thinking of you as you take time for recovery.
      Your training courses are excellent and so helpful.

      Reply
  3. How I wish to pull you through my iPad and hug you, be with you in this time and if you don’t know it in this moment, tell you that you have a light within you that outshines the darkness inflicted upon us. You matter so much. It is your light which helps to illuminate the path to recovery and self compassion for us all. We are with you, and will always be with you. An unstoppable force of nature, stomping down the barriers put up by our abusers and by our own displaced shame..

    Infinite compassion to you Carolyn.

    Love to you and your fur baby 🐶

    Reply
  4. I want to say thank for being honest, I am glad you told us and that you took that time to get therapy again. You have always role modelled what boundaries and vulnerability looks like and I’ve no doubt this blog will reach people who need to hear it because they’re going through it too. We’re always rooting for you.

    I’ve been using what I learned in your courses to start therapy myself; I’ve been able to tolerate weeks of telephone, video and breaks in sessions during lockdown and got to face to face therapy with a psychologist practicing EMDR. I’d done so much on grounding that we could get started and after a session yesterday on my bathroom trauma, I took my first shower in SEVEN YEARS where I was not dissociated, I was 100% present and totally calm. I can shower and feel safe. I cried with happiness afterwards. No more wet wipes and shame.

    Thank you for equipping survivors like me.

    Reply
  5. I always read your words and feel nothing but huge respect and awe for you. You have experienced domestic much and yet you manage to rise up and carry on. You are a true role model and a fantastic teacher. I’m so sorry to hear about your awful year but so proud of you that you have used all that evil and suffering to help others to heal. That really is your best revenge.

    Reply
  6. Wow Carolyn, I’m a bit lost for words but thank you for your honesty, vulnerability and for sharing with us all. I’m devastated reading all you have suffered and I’m so sorry about it. Your courage and commitment to healing is a beautiful thing. I am praying for you today.

    Reply
  7. Geez Love….Im going to breathe and slowly digest all this , Yessss…..Our Suffering does matter and Your year sounds like you’ve moved through a truckload of shit. Its been a touch year and with the great bodily intelligence of dissociation and wisdom to seek support and clarity to redirect Yourself You got through . I am so inspired by your bravery to jump into therapy again , capacity for self reflection , commitment to your wellbeing and Ours, tenacity and ability to move house with broken ribs ouch!. Yess Your voice speaks for many who haven’t found theirs .May spaciousness continue to meet You in your new home , in a new place and Joy keep knocking at Your door each moment .

    Reply
  8. We are not defined by our trauma experiences and recovery is always about taking back our power. From one survivor to another, from one healer to another and from one human to another I send you compassion, kindness and love. Thank you Carolyn for sharing your story, I’m a better person for reading it. Go gently.

    Reply
  9. I’m so, so sorry this happened to you, it breaks my heart to hear. Your courage & integrity to share all you have experienced never ceases to amaze me! So eloquently written with such rawness. Keep shining like you do, you truly are a remarkable lady & a gift to this world xx

    Reply
  10. Oh Carolyn….. my heart goes out to you. I’ve been on your mailing list for a while and have bought several of your excellent programs/products. I deeply, deeply admire you for writing this up, being so vulnerable and honest, sharing your deepest parts with us. Thank you. It begins to give me insight into a world I do not personally know, yet so many around me are experiencing every single day. May you be deeply, deeply blessed in ways that none of us can imagine right now. Much love and healing and peace to you.

    Reply
  11. Oh Carolyn, what to say. Thank you for this truth.Part of me does not understand why so much can happen to one person or one family, or one gender or one community and yet it is understandable if I allow for the truth of horror and the realities of life beyond my sphere of experience. As a counsellor I meet it and we all have our own life stories to tell, that is why we are here!
    I find I want to do what I often wish to do, wrap the pain in a loving blanket , ply it with tea and scones and sit with it. Sit with you.
    It is not always the answer I know but it is one of my wee truths, as a mother and a grandmother. Go well and thank you again, you help me to help others in their pain and grief and my own.

    Reply
  12. I was tempted to read this, and not leave a comment (I usually don’t) but just couldn’t do it. Not sure what ‘comment’ to submit though – what could I possibly say? OMG!? Thank you? F***ing hell!? I’m so sorry? What could I do to help? How have you been able to write this blog? I just know I’m glad you have, and I’m glad I read it. I met you once Carolyn, and greatly admire your approach to people and life – and your ability to communicate. Long may you continue with your very important work. Take care.

    Reply
  13. Welcome back Caroline. Thank you so much for sharing this. What has happened is totally shit but it sounds like you are doing amazingly. Speaking up like this will help so many people, I know you have helped me! Take good care of yourself

    Reply
  14. I just wanted to say thank you so much. That doesn’t feel like enough really, but I wanted to share how deeply thankful I am for this latest (heart-wrenching) email update, for your transparency and vulnerability and deep determination to heal no matter what it takes. As a fellow survivor it means a huge amount. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Reply
  15. Oh, my dear, your story saddened me so much. I want to laud your strength, but I feel I should talk to your more vulnerable part, and say I am so sorry, honey, it should have never happened, it is so cruel, so unjust, so unfair. The way you described this whole experience, that came after the trauma of rape, is so honest and so accurate. I also believe and I hope that putting it into words is a way of healing as well. Thank you for doing this, for sharing.

    Reply
  16. Thank you for sharing. What an absolutely brutal time you have been through, I wish you hope and healing for your future.

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry that this happened to you Carolyn. Thanks for your honesty and wish to share your ongoing journey to help others. Your courage is inspiring.
      I have struggled with being locked down alone, I don’t think I could’ve coped with anything else on top of it.
      Warm wishes for your continuing healing X

      Reply
  17. Hello Caroline
    Thank you for sharing what happened to you over the last year. Your resilience is inspiring and hopeful for others. The self is so creative. I am sorry that you had to go through that.
    I cannot express how much your work has helped me to overcome my own trauma.
    Thank you for your website , your podcasts, your training, your new weekly messages.
    Kind regards
    Patricia

    Reply
  18. Hi Carolyn, sending a big big virtual hug! Sympathy for your many challenges, but bless you for your courage and commitment to life! I only met you once in person back in 2012 but you have been part of my journey since then – you are in my thoughts and in my heart. Love to you and your fur-baby, from me and mine (3 of them, one a traumatised rescue much helped by all i have learned about helping traumatised beings including myself!) 🤗🐶🐶🐶

    Reply
    • Hey Carolyn, my heart sank when I read this. I just wanted to reach out and tell you that you are an inspiration for everyone who has encountered trauma and for therapists alike. The honesty and rawness of your writing was so powerful and I can’t imagine the horrors of what you’ve endured and continue to endure but here you are, continuing to fight . You are are true survivor in every sense of the word. I am a Counsellor and saw you twice in Manchester and Leeds and was blown away but you and I still am. Sending much love and light to you Ruth

      Reply
  19. Wow Carolyn. You have been inspiring this fellow lucky unlucky one for several years now. My heart broke for you tonight when I read your latest post. Life is cruel and trauma hurts so much that it is a revolving door.

    You are stronger than you think and I pray you get through the challenges that life is throwing at you. You are so brave; beautiful in your genuine care for others and in your willingness to be vulnerable and honest. It’s refreshing in a world where everyone pretends everything is always ok, creating. Silent pressure to keep your own pain hidden. Keep riding that horse mate. You don’t know how much difference you make to so many of us. Thank you for sharing. You’ve got this…

    Reply
  20. Dear Carolyn
    How shocking, how awful, but how amazing and beautiful that you have turned your trauma into therapy for yourself and for others.
    I want to say “Well done!” for getting back up again. My heart goes out to you. Bless you for your penned thoughts and know I’m cheering for you on the sidelines, hoping for sunshine and hugs, flowers and good friends to come your way. Take good care of yourself. You are worth it. Xx

    Reply
  21. good morning Carolyn We’ve just read your blog, not quite as One or in one go but almost. May We send you Loving Healing Energies now before Our DID protective system KICKS in; especially those parts who persist in blocking Our engagement with your courses. Thank you so much for this blog as there is much that resonates with Us, especially but not exclusively It’s the penultimate paragraph that I wrestle with continually; at times I feel that We were born with an irremovable automatic flashing neon sign on my forehead visible only to rapists and those who would choose us for their particular prolonged perverse victimizations of Us, which as a man I reluctantly unsuccessfully attempt to compute/accept; and even if I could We know deep at Soul level has failed to protect Us.
    Thank you again. Warmest, from Us All

    Reply
  22. I just wanted to say that I am so sorry this happened and how remarkable you are to be able to share it. Go well…..

    Reply
  23. Blessings & continued healing to you Carolyn Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Oh, Caroline, what awful, awful news. However challenging and difficult it has been for you to get to be in a new home, I really hope you can turn it into the most soothing and safest of spaces. Your strength, wisdom and enormous capacity for allowing yourself to show us your vulnerability, and your gift for writing about it, is truly awe-inspiring. Put yourself first and please don’t hesitate to do everything and all you need to heal. I’m sending you gentle, non-rib-cracking hugs. May your recovery be deeper than ever.

    Reply
  25. You write so poignantly, I was clinging on to every word of this blog. I can’t put in to words how I feel now, that someone who’s journey has been so inspiring to me in my journey of recovery following ACEs and further trauma in adulthood (as you rightly say – suffering so much in childhood does not make me immune from further trauma however fair that would seem). My heart totally goes out to you, my admiration of how you have used the skills you have still – despite how much the past year has thrown at you grows and grows. I don’t think I could ever convey how much you’ve helped me – and I know, for sure, helped others. This is your time now, Carolyn, and I trust you will take it, as much time as you need.

    I can’t leave this reply without saying thank you for sharing what you have, in the way that you have. This lockdown has been so hard and my disassociation has returned for the first time in years. Your post has showed me that I could be kinder to myself over this – I’m ok.

    The lack of human contact is so hard – so I hope it’s ok for me to virtually hug you, so very very gently so that I might not physically or emotionally harm you any further and to say that I’m here, I’ve read your post and I care.

    Take good care (((gentle hugs))) if ok.

    Reply
  26. I’m so sorry that it’s been a truly shitty year for you. Thank you for sharing your journey, with all its twists and turns. I admire your ability to express how you heal and grow from all the adversity that life throws at you. You are an inspiration to all fellow childhood trauma survivors like myself who know the path to recovery is never straightforward and easy. I walk alongside you now and in spirit I’m holding your hand. Sending you warmth, care and compassion in your healing.

    Reply
  27. Thank you for all your work, which is a big part of my recovery journey. I am so sorry you have had such a shitty year. Sending love and hugs.xx

    Reply
  28. I am so sorry.
    I. am. so. so. so. sorry.

    I can’t imagine what you are going through. While those with ACEs in childhood tend to have more trauma in adulthood, what you have been through, what you are going through is SO VERY NOT FAIR. You have had so much.

    You are a very brave woman, who has survived and continues to survive.
    I salute you, in awe and with so much respect.

    Reply
    • Utterly shocked and dismayed to read what you have been through and the new suffering you have endured again. And to know I spoke with you early on in the pandemic, sought your guidance and support… and you were with this trauma yourself.
      Your courage and selfless determination to help others is a true gift to the rest of us. Sending love and hope xxx

      Reply
  29. Wow. . . My heart feels so broken for you! But also so amazed and astonished and deeply comforted by your honesty and self-compassion and vulnerability in sharing your heart with us.

    I’m so so very sorry that this has been beyond hard, Carolyn! I’m so so thankful that you managed to write it down in the way that only you can, but it is so extremely unfair!! It boggles my mind how so much can happen to one person, and yet I know it can and does. I’m only so deeply sorry that it can and does and it has and it did.

    Somehow, you keep getting up, you keep holding a light for all of us to use to find our way ‘home.’ For that, for all of this really, there are no words. Except, somehow you keep finding them—words. You dig them up from hidden places and when they don’t exist you make new ones. And we use them, these words m, as guideposts. It’s a gift that probably comes with at a cost to you, yet you keep giving it anyway.

    Thank you. Sending you so much love from Canada.

    Reply
  30. Sending you love Carolyn, pure, simple, no agenda, love.

    Reply
  31. My dear Carolyn.
    How shocking to hear what has happened to you. When I read you wanted someone to say, ‘You’re home now; you’re safe; I’ve got you; you’re not alone’, I wanted you to know you are safe. We’ve got you, even from afar, in our thoughts, and in our memories of your brave and generous sharing of your recovery. To help others through your experience and to teach us help others too. You made us a part of a wider circle that now surrounds you. You are not alone. Fondest love, Eileen x

    Reply
  32. Carolyn, I am sorry to hear that you have been through a terrifying time. Your sharing this with suh open vulnerability is heart warming and you are helping many people who cant speak up and giving them hope that it is okay to do so. Fierce Compassion to you.

    Reply
  33. Hi Carolyn

    What courage you have to be able to write and share your story. I’m so sorry that you have had an awful year ,
    Your spirit is wonderful . Take care of yourself.
    I have found inspiration to move on after 2 very difficult years.

    Reply
  34. Oh Carolyn I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve experienced more trauma and had such a dreadful year.
    You have been a big part of my journey to recovery which is still ongoing. Your courage and tenacity and your vulnerability are such an inspiration. I’ve really missed your blogs, pods and courses and have looked at the website every week hopefully. It is so good to have you back.
    Maybe one day I will be able to encourage others as you do. I wish you all the best in your journey back to recovery so that you can continue us to get to our recovery.
    Thank you xx

    Reply
  35. Thankyou so so much for sharing this. Your openness is truly helpful to others as they journey towards healing. Sending huge virtual hugs to you.

    Reply
  36. Carolyn I am so sorry for you that you have had to live through such traumatic events. That you find the courage to share this with us is amazing when I am sure all I would wish to do is hide away in the same situation. Your way with words to communicate your visceral experience to us and thereby help us to help others is inspiring. Sending you love and compassion.

    Reply
  37. One other comment said “I wasn’t going to comment” and I was in the same position but I do hope and pray that the fact that it takes awhile to scroll down the comments to make a comment shows you how much you are held in mind by so many people. I have appreciated your training and your openness in what you have been willing to share in order to continue to heal.

    Reply
  38. Hi Carolyn,
    I was so touched reading this… and struggling to process what you have been through from afar. My heart really does go out to you. I’m not sure how anyone reading this wouldn’t want to swoop you up in their arms for a huge hug.
    You are incredible. Take good care of yourself.

    Reply
  39. Thankyou for your honesty and your website. So sorry to hear all that you have been through- hearing from another survivor means a lot as I have only just come to terms with what happened to me years ago. Thankyou for speaking out- carrying on your work and above all your honesty. Best wishes for a healing and positive future heidi

    Reply
  40. Hi
    So sorry for whats happened . Its frightening isn’t it? Our brains are amazing yet terrifying at the same time. I really like your page and think your so courageous. Its really lovely when survivors have a voice. I hope you are taking care. Lockdown has been so devastatingly painful enough without anything additional added. Be extra careful with your self. I hope you have a close friend near by. Best wishes

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  41. Carolyn, you are such an inspirational person and your blog has moved me. Even with all that you are dealing with, you are able to open your heart and share with us. Recovery is your best revenge and I wholeheartedly wish you well on that journey.

    Reply
  42. Dear Caroline, I am so sorry for what happened to you, and in awe at your resilience and courage, you inspire me so much and have taught me so much, you are a truly special being who has helped so many people. Wishing you all the warmth and kindness you need.

    Reply
  43. Thank you for sharing Carolyn…you have been through quite a time of it, I am sorry for what you have been through & can relate. You are an inspiration to so many going through their own struggles… honest and authentic, you write so well and touch hearts of both survivors & therapists. You give a voice to those who feel they haven’t got one, and encourage both vulnerability and expression as well as resilience and strength. Connection…so important in these times. Thank you & I wish you continued restoration & recovery, and the gift of words, nature, friendship, and rest.

    Reply
  44. Carolyn, you are one amazing woman who has helped so many, please take as much time as you need for you, you are always in my heart, life is and can be bloody brutal but you are a survivor and i believe you always will be, a beautiful, open honest, real human being with one beautiful healing soul. Thank you for being you from the bottom of my heart, i send huge virtual hugs for whenever you want them, with love, with peace, with light. xox

    Reply
  45. When I read your first paragraph, I felt like someone was reaching through the page and strangling me. I couldn’t tolerate the idea of this happening to you. I mean, if it could happen to you, it could happen to me.
    My parts got loud and disjointed trying to get through your post, but I did.
    As you wrote it reminded me I know your story. It wasn’t rape for me, but another event that completely traumatized me in adulthood. It was hard to get through. To be splintered so badly again. But eventually, I got through it.
    Interestingly, I too started falling after the retraumatization. I had many injuries. Doctors were so confused, doing scans and giving me all sorts of diagnoses. And then, as quickly as it came, the falling just disappeared.
    Though I hate to read what has happened to you, I am so glad to see that you worked your way through it.
    I sometimes hear a voice in my head that says I couldn’t handle being raped again, and that would be it for me. But, you reminded me of how special we are in our ability to survive horrific things.
    I hope you will climb your way to the other side of all this. We with DID need you. You give us hope that we can climb out of our madness and disintegration.
    Sending love to you from the US.
    Take care dear Carolyn.

    Reply
  46. Dear Carolyn
    I have never read anything so moving and transparently powerful as what you share, here and in your other writing. It has so much value for others who have suffered. You are a gift to us all in this broken world with so much pain in it. You show through your person and in your writing, that connection with others, loving, courageous, patient, empathic, truthful connection is the greatest healer and you bring that to me. I am so grateful. Thankyou. I feel part of a huge community with you, who suffer in your suffering, and hold you with love in your difficult year. May the joy return for you with the snowdrops and arrival of new life, and a new home!

    Reply
  47. I am so sorry to read that you have been through this. I admire you strength and openess. Thank you. Your honesty and vulnerability is inspirational. I hope you manage to continue writing and know that you have much support here. Take care x

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  48. The generosity and grace evident in your words and you recovery are remarkable. Much love to you as you take care of yourself in this awful time. x

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  49. Thank you Carolyn. Words just cannot adequately express my heartfelt gratitude. In this podcast in particular, you have given voice to my pain and suffering and my journey too…. the shocking awfulness of sexual violence on top of childhood trauma and the aloneness of dealing with all of that in a pandemic. It’s raw, vulnerable, and the truth – things I dare not express myself. Your incredible strength and tenacity shine through and embolden me. I am so glad that your trauma-induced brain fog (I experience that too and it’s probably the symptom I hate the most!) has lifted and that you created this courageous podcast from your blog post. I will come back to it again and again and again. It is such an incredible gift to others. I hope you take as much time and space as you need to heal, you have already done so much for others. Sending you love and light.

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  50. Hi Carolyn, thank you for sharing what you have been through over the last year. I feel helpless in knowing what to say to you. Your resilience knows no bounds. I am always amazed by your strength and your courage to carry on and win the battle. If your words give at least one person the strength to battle on through, consider that a job well done. The fact that your words enable so many to battle on shows how amazing you are. As you say Recovery is the best revenge. Wishing you well on your continued journey or recoveryness.

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  51. Love you, my friend.

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  52. Thank you so much for sharing this, Carolyn. What an unspeakably brutal and cruel year you have had, and through it shines your toughness, courage and honesty. You are inspiring. I am sending you love and fortitude.

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  53. I’m so very, very sorry Carolyn, thank you for sharing with us all. Yes recovery is your best revenge. Sending love to you. Take good care of you.

    Xx

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  54. Dear Carolyn, I am truly devastated to learn what you have gone through in the last year. A shocking and brutal event followed by others creating obstacles and more hurt and pain. Your courage, tenacity and ability to communicate this journey so openly and honestly is remarkable and, once again, you are the voice speaking to survivors and therapists alike. Sending you healing, much love and a virtual hug.

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  55. Sending love, warmth, gratitude and joy for your resilience…

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  56. Dear Caroline,

    Words are inadequate to say how sorry I am to read your news. You are a wonderful and inspiring person and I wish you well on your journey. The impact your story has on many people is immense and profound at a deep level. Be well and do good things in the world.

    Reply
  57. Carolyn, I am so deeply saddened to hear what you have experienced this past year and enormously grateful to you that you have been able to put into words the trauma you have experienced. I have attended many of your meetings and I have always seen you as a woman of great courage, extraordinary strength and determination and belief that change is possible; that somehow (and not always knowing how) that deep within us is the miracle of survival: that love and hope and joy does exist in spite of the darkness.
    I don’t know your spiritual convictions, but I hope you won’t mind if I pray for your healing.
    The work you have done and continue to do brings so much healing to others and I am so grateful to for this. You will stay in my thoughts and I hope your recovery continues.

    Reply
    • I echo this Carolyn, you have been an inspiration to many people over the years and an integral part in not only their healing journey but mine too. Thank you. Sending love. You are a lovely kind caring person whome I have great respect for and huge empathy. Thank you so very much for being vulnarable and open with us in this blog. That takes courage. You are in my thoughts. Sending love to you and strength and all you need in order to recover from and heal from this crap time. Be kind to you Carolyn. You can get through this. Xx

      Reply
  58. Dear Carolyn, I had noticed your absence and was concerned. I must say I was devastated to learn what you have gone through. You are my DID hero. I admire everything about you. Your vulnerability your honesty and your grit come to mind immediately but are just a few of the many words I use to describe you. Sending warm healing thoughts your way. Come back only when you are ready. We will all be here for you. Be well.

    Reply
  59. Dear Carolyn, sending you much love. You are my hero! I’m so sorry life has been so hard, I hear you! I’m so sorry you were alone and have been alone with this. Your courage is remarkable. I’ve always loved the way you speak and write and I’m pleased you felt able to write about this and share it with us because you have been missed, your absence has been felt and now we know where you’ve been. I had a gut feeling things were not right with you but I’d hoped so badly that you were ok. You matter so very much, your suffering matters. I (and many others) care about you, we are alongside you, supporting you on your journey and in your work. Please know that you are in my heart, you’ve helped me in more ways than I could ever begin to explain! So, yes, together ‘let’s do this’. Xx

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  60. Carolyn
    So sorry to hear of your difficult year and sending you best wishes for your continued recovery. Your sharing will help so many.

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  61. Carolyn, yet again I find myself deeply moved by your raw honesty and vulnerability. WE have been moved. Thank you for this. We send you whatever comfort you (all) would like. A younger one would like to share her bear with you as well.

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  62. I hope you give yourself the love, compassion and kindness you share with others, through your strength of spirit you have inside you.

    I know trauma doesn’t have words and needs time to move through. Sending my best wishes to you.

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  63. I’m so sorry to hear this Carolyn, bless you. Thank you for your honesty and determination not to let this win. Thinking of you x

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  64. Dear Carolyn, thanks for your incredible courage, your valuable work, and for sharing and writing so honestly and powerfully. Sending care and connection.

    Reply
    • Dear Carolyn, you have been through the mire to put it mildly – I really want to swear! But do keep getting back on the writing-horse and delivering your courses. I have learnt so much from you for helping others myself. Take care, Alan

      Reply
  65. I feel very moved by what you have written here Carolyn. I have not met you but I find your commitment to self-compassion, recovery and helping others thrive awe-inspiring. Thank you.

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  66. Hi Carolyn
    Thanks for sharing your vulnerability, thanks for all your writing..blogs and books…. especially thanks for your excellent and extremely helpful shame course (highly recommend to others) and especially your image of shame gremlins. Your sharing of your mission and purpose helps me massively. Hope you too receive all the help you need including from yourself! Thanks so very much. Take care of yourself and keep encouraging us with your example. Liz x

    Reply
  67. Reading your blog brought me to tears. It brought such a gamut of emotions to the surface and I’m so so sorry to hear of the harrowing events you’ve endured recent. The overriding phrase that comes to as I write this is THANK YOU. Your posts, your courses, your authenticity, just you being you, please don’t ever underestimate the beacon for hope, learning and healing that you provide for sufferers and counsellors alike.

    Thinking of you and sending much love.

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  68. Much love to you, Carolyn. It is shit and awful what happened to you. I missed your presence from your blogs: your honesty, vulnerability, courage, determination, wisdom, and much more. You matter and your writing gives me and many others hope. ‘Let’s do this.’

    Reply
  69. i readyour words that through a fog of disbelief that this has happened again to you……..and yet the authentic way you have expressed your process is healing as the words bounce up and down to a rhythmn that speaks….Recovery is your best revenge…….

    Thankyou…..for writing…for sharing……for honesty…..and being authentic…..what courage that takes…….thinking of you as continue on this present road to road to recovery and healing and I too am so sorry you have had to walk this way again……..we truly are beneficiaries of your adversity and your courage.

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  70. I’m lost for words, not only for what happened to you but also how you’re able to see yourself in a whole new way on you’re continuing journey towards healing. What stood out for me was that ‘self compassion and trauma are not good bed-fellows.’ I’m working hard to look at myself with compassion, and boy it can be such a struggle at times, as any journey can be. Thank you so much for the hope you share even when times seem so hopeless.

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  71. Dear Carolyn,

    I was totally shocked and saddened to hear what happened to you, and am as always in awe of your ability to be honest and open about your life experiences and your responses to them. Your past year is off the scale in terms of its overall awfulness, and it’s amazing that you have been able to get to this point where you are beginning to embrace recovery once again.

    Please hang in there – you are an inspiration and an extraordinary role model. Be kind to yourself and know that we are all rooting for you.

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  72. I am more sorry than I can say: you also have my admiration for dealing with it ……….

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  73. Wow you really have been through the mill. Thank you for sharing that it was both brave and helpful. You really are a special person to be able to survive and to carry on having looked at the trauma and decided it’s not going to beat you but rather to use your recovery as your best revenge-as before.

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  74. Absolutely gutted to read this Carolyn. I have no idea how, despite all you have described, you have managed to get back into the saddle of the writing horse. Well done you! Hope you reach a place where you can feel safety again very soon. xx

    Reply
  75. Thank you Caroline for your courage in sharing this. I was moved to tears seeing how many messages of admiration, support and compassion have been sent your way. I do hope it’s been of comfort to you knowing how much love there is around you. You’re a very special person and deserve no less. Thank you for being you. The world is a better place with you in it.

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  76. My heart goes out to you Carolyn. Your courage take my breath away as I feel the deep grief at hearing what happened to you. You are an inspiration to so many. May you find healing, safety and connection for this part of your journey and know that you are cherished by so many.

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  77. Sending you huge virtual hugs and much deserved love. I truly admire you Carolyn, your bravery, determination and the drive you possess, to get yourself better and get back in that saddle. In spite of, the horrific ordeals you have endured in your life. You truly are remarkable and one special lady. I have met you a couple of times at your training events and felt completely in awe of you, this has increased ten fold. Your passion to help others, shines through. I don’t know how you do it but, I am personally so, so grateful to you. You are incredible. So much love, support, admiration and respect to you. Much Metta

    Reply
  78. No Integration

    I’m wearing someone else today
    She’s peeking through my cracks
    Her sadness, scars, and stories
    weigh so heavy on my back.

    I remind myself of who I am
    What I believe and what I do
    But my vision clouds with her around
    and I don’t always make it through.

    Her wounds give sign I am not whole
    Though healed I long to be
    Wrapped round my neck are 13 songs
    I no longer want to sing.

    Give ear, O God, and touch my soul
    Take all and make me one
    Take shattered and torn, and fix it, Lord;
    Have mercy on what’s undone.

    There’s a me whose song I want to sing
    There’s a me who has survived
    Why can’t this me walk away, be free
    from shadows of former lives?

    I am queer, an anomaly –
    So many, yet not “we” but “I”
    He and she, combined with me –
    this way until I die?

    Oh, but no, no sorrow’s win
    I have triumphed after all
    In harmony my voices raise
    a glorious victory call!

    ©2011kelleyrenz

    I wrote this, Carolyn, in 2011. I remain un-integrated, yes, but I have moved so far forward. I now see DID as a gift from God, a gift that enables us to survive trauma.
    I am so sorry for your recent trauma. How some can visit their massive disorder on others escapes my comprehension. Oh, how I wish you had not suffered this! But, what I do know is the massive power of God to bring good out of it. You bring that good. You light that candle. I am lighting one for you and keeping you in prayer.
    My website, Juniper Pact, will be up soon. It is about the sacred ground of suffering, when we’re willing to meet and fight with God right in its midst.
    I send you healing energy!

    Reply
    • Beautiful poem Kelley. I also believe in the great power of our God. Far to big for us to ever comprehend.

      Reply
  79. Dear Carolyn, so much love, concern and empathy expressed towards you and I would add mine to all of that and value all the words expressed, but one thing has struck me, what can we do for you? You have done so much for so many, if there’s anything we can do for you, it would be a privilege.
    It’s a privilege to work as a counsellor and it’s a privilege to be able to send you a message here.
    The very kindest thoughts for you and others walking horrendous paths of pain.

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  80. Dear Carolyn, like so many others here, I am awed and humbled by your openness and courage, and generosity in sharing something so painful, so personal and so awful: thank you so much. I too am so angry and grieved it happened to you, that all that you have suffered at the hands of evil people has happened to you, and that it matters to me, to those who care about you even though we only know you professionally that you have been so hurt. I can only express what value you have brought to me by your work, your example, your determination to bring something to others of healing through understanding trauma – to appreciate the cost of that decision to use your experiences to benefit and help others. You have enriched and informed my practice as a counsellor and as an individual enormously, and continue to do so; grateful, respectful and heartfelt thanks to you.

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  81. Carolyn, so so sorry to hear how this past year has been for you. It was heartbreaking to hear of this horrendous latest trauma you have been through, my god, haven’t you been through enough I thought 🙁 I’ve attended all your workshops and have read your books and know what you’ve been through in the past. So glad to hear that you re-entered therapy and that you are rebuilding yourself back up again. You are an inspiration to so many, hold onto your mantra of ‘recovery is your best revenge’, it certainly is and with the right people around you and the resources you know you will continue to recover and thrive once again. To others you appear strong (I’m sure you don’t always feel this). Dig deep Carolyn but don’t do this on your own, there are many people who admire, love and want to support you. Reach out and continue reaching out even on the hardest of days. I hope you know so many of us are thinking about you and wishing you well as you continue your journey….back to recovery. Sending you one BIG distanced hug. xx

    Reply
  82. I’m so sorry to read what you’ve been through, Carolyn, but I salute your determination and courage to seek the help you needed, and to share your experience with others to give hope and encouragement. Thank you for your honesty.

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  83. Wow, Carolyn, such powerful words… I’m so sorry for what you have had to go through in the past year. Huge love and respect to you. Thank you for all you do – the work you do is an inspiration. You are an eloquent writer, great teacher and wonderful human being, and you shouldn’t have to experience such suffering.

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  84. Dear Carolyn

    I hope that sharing your trauma with us has helped you on your journey to recovery. I attended one of your events less than a year ago, just before lock-down, where you inspired me with your warmness, compassion and kindness even though you have experienced such evil at the hands of others. You helped me to understand the devastating effects that trauma can have on the lives of the young people I work with, for this I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To read that you have experienced (again) such trauma and pain is difficult to bear, but I can bear it because it is something I can do for YOU, and I hope that it helps you to recover, and to know that you are held in such high esteem, and with so much love and affection, by so many people.

    Take good care of yourself, and I hope that you (and dog) are enjoying settling into your new home.

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  85. Oh Carolyn, I am in awe of your bravery in writing your story and how you are healing yourself. Thank you for sharing from your heart – I have learnt much that can help in my work. My heart goes out to you – may you know continued healing and be blessed daily. Thank you for all you do to educate us and help others heal. Huge love to you.

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  86. Carolyn,
    Thank you for the gift of your words. As a therapist in training your experience is invaluable for me to understand. Thank you for teaching me how to “show up” in authenticity as a healer while also healing. I am left mostly speechless and in awe of how you have taught me the value of self-compassion in the process of healing. I wish I could wrap my arms around you and fill you with my love and admiration for you.

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  87. I was so sorry to that this has happened to you. Thank you for sharing so openly and once again helping others with your honesty. I wish you continued recovery, honouring all you need to be and feel.

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  88. You are the most inspirational person I have ever come across. Keep fighting on Carolyn.

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  89. Dear Carolyn, I wanted to add to the fountain of warmth and love that is being expressed to you. Like others I know you from training days and I have so much admiration for all that you bring to those days. In equal parts I am sad and outraged that you have been so hurt again. I am in awe of the courage that has allowed you to get back on the therapy rollercoaster and I sincerely hope that the love and kindness that we all send to you surround you as you take the time and space you need to heal.

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  90. What you have been through is unimaginable and I am so very deeply sorry for you and sad this has happened to you. Evil will not and cannot win and you are demonstrating this through your raw honesty. What happens to us does not define us. Your bravery and courage is a beacon of light in a sometimes dark and difficult world. Keep moving forwards and allowing yourself to heal. Much Love!

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  91. Carolyn – I am truly saddened that this happened to you. That you have suffered such unimaginable pain in your life. I am just working through your online course on Working with Shame and had only just heard you speak about your childhood trauma 2 days before reading this blog. It knocked me for six, that once again life had dealt you another sh*t hand!
    I just want you to know that what you have to offer the world is so great. I love listening to you – you have the wisdom BECAUSE you have experienced such trauma. It’s so sad, sick and twisted that you have had to go through this BUT the HOPE and HEALING you will give to others will be GREATER than you can ever imagine. I am so pleased that you are here. Much love

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  92. Thank you for sharing. We’re struggling through the pandemic having only found a therapist who understands DID shortly before the pandemic hit. Hearing how the buried trauma affected you was like hearing us described. Finally we might have some words to stop my wife worrying about some of our physical symptoms. Thank you again.

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  93. Hi Carolyn, your work and training have been hugely inspiring for me as a therapist working with survivors. I was so shocked to read this blog and hear about the appalling attack you went suffered. I could barely believe you had to go through this abuse again. How much cr*p does one person have to experience?!
    I wish you so much love and support in your journey back to your self.
    Xx

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  94. Dear Carolyn,
    I am so sorry to hear about your horrific attack, how much can one person experience? I wish you well in this new therapeutic journey and I am sure you will get many new insights into the human condition. Thank you for being such an inspiration both as an educator and a compassionate women who wishes only healing for those who have suffered trauma.
    We need you Carolyn heal well and may a new joy inhabit your heart.
    Kindest wishes
    Mary

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  95. Hi Carolyn I am so saddened to hear what has happened to you. You really are an inspiration to so many people and brave beyond words. I offer you love, support and healing as you continue to recover one moment at a time.

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  96. Hi Carolyn – I recently listened to your Podcast version of this blogpost. I was so happy to hear your voice again as I had wondered what had happened to you. I am so very sorry to hear of your most recent trauma. I appreciate you being vulnerable and sharing your story with us. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for all that you give to the trauma community.

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  97. Carolyn, I’m so very sorry that you have had such an awful experience and the ongoing pain and still more problems you’ve had to deal with. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for your honesty and courage in continuing to be vulnerable and share your own personal journey with us so we can help others. I so appreciate your courses and books. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself, however much you need.

    From the book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,
    “Do you have any other advice ?” asked the boy.
    “Don’t measure how valuable you are by the way you are treated.” said the horse.
    “Always remember you matter, you’re important and you are loved, and you bring to this world things no one else can.”

    Reply
  98. Shocking to hear what happened to you. That’s utterly shit! I’m inspired to read about your mind stepping in to protect you until was safe enough for the rape to be revealed. You stepping into that space with your sleeves rolled up. Trusting there would be healing form this like there had been before. Wishing you well Carolyn. I appreciate you being on the writing horse again for as long as that feels right for you as you lovingly care for yourself.

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  99. Dear Carolyn, thank you for your bravery and vulnerability in sharing this. I’m incredibly sorry to hear of your suffering, so utterly unfair and cruel. You are truly an inspiration to me and I value what I have learnt from you professionally over the years.
    May your healing continue with each day, sending much love.

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  100. I am so, so sorry. That is horrifically unfair.
    All the very best for your continued recovery, and future joy.

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  101. I’m so shocked and horrified and so very sorry this happened to you Carolyn. You never deserved any of it.
    Keep talking about it. Keep writing about it. You are an inspiration and so very strong.
    Saying a prayer for you.

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  102. Ps. my brain can hardly acknowledge and handle that this happened to you on top of everything else you went through….

    Life is so cruel sometimes. Trusting you can begin to find a way through it all. With you all the way.

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    • Dear Caroline, I am fairly new to your site and have found it invaluable as I begin to find a path to healing with a new DID diagnosis. The work facing me feels incredibly hard but with your postings, I feel less alone. I feel safer.

      As you have written and felt and sadly seen again, safety can feel fleeting. It’s a reality we must all live with. But we can’t live in such fear of tomorrow that we are paralyzed today. Wondering if we could ever even try to get up again. It feels impossible.

      Your bravery and honesty have shown us that it indeed can get hard again. Life happens and because we worked years to heal, doesn’t mean we are “the man of steel.” We are humans still. Life can happen in terrible ways. And does to the most incredible people.

      It’s interesting that your mind wasn’t willing to accept hurt, trauma, until it was forced into your physical body again and again. I felt the pain and struggle in your words.

      But what I get from your writing is healing is not linear and we can be as done today as we can be, but then there is tomorrow, an unknown. What we do know/eventually remember, is we know how to do this.

      We know our strengths, not everyone does. And we instinctively know when we are over our heads – even if admitting it can take some time.

      You have shown me that Dissociation is not an evil being inside that must be banished which is how I feel right here at the outset.

      You have also shown us that the old cliche is real. It’s not in how often you fall, but in how many times you get back up.

      I am so sorry that once again a person, an aghast event, can take us down a rabbit hole. But we know that hole and over time we can remember how to get out.

      In the end, each time we fall, it’s humbling. Each time we rise, we prove over and over just how strong we are.

      You, in all your wisdom, esp when sharing your pain, are inspiring. I can’t tell you enough how important all your words are for me. And I wish these sorrowful things stopped happening, esp to such kind givers, as yourself.

      Don’t we want to say “enough with the freakin’ lessons.”

      Reply
  103. I was so shocked and saddened to read of the events and subsequent impacts that you have endured Carolyn. It’s seems so unfair that you’ve had to face such devastating suffering all over again. I have such a lot of admiration for you in your retelling of your journey, and which inspires hope and resilience both in yourself and for others too. I wish you healing, peace, and strength.

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  104. In a state of disbelief, complete shock and asking myself if this is real? I check again, and think again, it can’t be, but it is. Carolyn, since I saw you at Amnesty International a couple of years ago you have been such an inspiritation me, you gave me hope when I needed hope, understanding and answers to questions I have felt lost with for many years. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers, constantly.

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  105. I am shocked and appalled at what happened to you. I could hardly breathe as i read it. I wish i could give you a huge hug.

    I am amazed and inspired and awed by your spirit, your ability to express yourself so poetically.

    I feel privileged to be reading your extraordinary words, to see the beauty in your gift for language, and your extraordinary inner strength and magical spirit. Thank you for being here, for sharing this with us, for trusting us, for inspiring us, and for all that you are.
    A truly remarkable woman.

    Reply
  106. Dear Carolyn
    So sorry this has happened to you, with all that you have been through already. I have been so inspired by your courses, books and words. Thank you for your bravery and sharing your healing journey. May you fully heal, recover, restore and rise. Wishing you much joy and love. You are a huge inspiration professionally and personally.

    Reply

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