‘If I could just get over it, I would,’ I say, and I’m trying not to sound irritated or hurt but I’m not quite sure what emotion my face is displaying and my throat is tight and my fists are clenched and really I’d rather not be here, and neither am I convinced that I’m a good enough actor to hide all of this.
It’s scary to think you’ve ‘gone mad’. It’s scary to think you have some serious, incurable ‘mental illness’. It’s scary to not understand what on earth is going on in your brain. And perhaps what’s even scarier is finding out that what is ‘wrong’ with you has a name: dissociative identity disorder.
If I said I could help you improve your life by 1% you might not be very interested. Especially if your life is filled with pain, suffering, dysfunction and struggle, you might think, “A 1% difference isn’t going to do any good! I need a 100% difference!” That’s how I thought for a long time.
Being traumatised is a tough gig. Maybe one of the hardest. It’s exhausting, it’s debilitating, it affects every area of your life and it can feel insurmountable. So it’s difficult to think that recovery is possible, even a little bit of recovery. Maybe it feels impossible to think in terms of significant recovery. And harder still to think in grand, magnificent, skyscaper-type ways about recovery.
What do you do when the worst thing you think could happen to you does happen? In this searingly honest and vulnerable piece, I talk about how I coped with a double loss of attachment figures and how what I had feared the most actually became a springboard towards new growth.
‘Can we heal?’ she asked, quivering with the significance of what she was saying, as if her very life depended on it. ‘Can we really heal?’ I could well understood the agony in her eyes. I lived for many years overwhelmed by trauma, the symptoms of unhealed suffering. And if recovery is impossible, then why are we even trying?
It feels a long time ago now, the time when my abuse sat silent within me. It’s been over ten years. Back then, I didn’t understand any of the dynamics of abuse. The things that had happened, the things that had been done to me, the things I had been made to do – they sat silently within me as heavy weights on my soul, fetid non-reminders of my badness, this toxic mush that I thought was me.
Recovery from trauma is hard work, but it is possible. However, there are number of things that inhibit that process, and this article looks at ten of them.
Get a free 104-page Trauma Survivors’ Resource Guide when you join my mailing list.