As an advocate for alternative ways to thrive, the process to mental wellness is better suited to those with mild to moderate mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety and depression. Those who have the mental capacity and are looking for alternative ways to take responsibility for there health and wellbeing are those who may benefit from my blogs.
A few weeks have gone by and what a few weeks they have been. I’ve been called a Drama Queen a few times in my life, and to a degree I am. However, my drama could be equivalent to Trauma. Events in my life have given me a label that I choose to accept as the birth of a warrior, a warrior that understands, within chaos must come order.
My last two ‘Epic Blogs’ were really more about allowing you guys to be in my mind to understand just how my mental health manifests, and where it came from. Now I have decided to give you a short series of blogs, explaining the journey through the interchangeable phases, of a ‘Survivor’ seeking to ‘Thrive’
We are in an age, where we are all suffering trauma and yet we suffer alone. Many of us go about our daily lives consumed with anxiety, stress and depression. And yet, we still judge each other. Rather than being condemned to a life of shame and punishment for speaking up or even worse bursting at the seams…we stay quiet and make our chaos become our norm, a mind busy worrying and a heart overworked with stress, is not sustainable order.
I hope to encourage all of us to create dialogue, that is open and demonstrates that mental health is just as important as going to the Dentist or the Chiropodist and so on. I believe, to create a culture where Trauma-Informed Practice is seen as a way to support those with mental health issues, is to validate we have a public health issue in the U.K. Once we admit this, we can begin to achieve our mental, emotional and economical wealth.
My aim is to share stories, opinions and real-life experiences, from not just myself but others who also hope to begin a new way to engage with our vulnerable.
From the ‘non-existent parliament’, to the looming unknown of ‘Brexit’, most are feeling the pinch of the pennies, the crippling isolation and the fear-driven society that has ensued due to our decaying democracy.
Ultimately it’s part of life that chaos will ensue, but so will order. Some sort of trauma is going to be experienced. What we perceive to be trauma is down to the individual, however, the trauma is still experienced and true to the effect of the observer.
Whenever I found myself triggered, victim mode would kick in. I had to dig deep literally – and address my mindset. Fear is not our enemy it is a form of survival that is instinctual and needed to thrive. We cannot avoid this emotion, but what we can do is harness its power. I’m most certainly a survivor and speaking of these experiences does not mean I’m still a victim.
I speak of my experiences’ in the hope to inspire others to do the same for their own health and well-being. when I was in survival mode, I had to continue to fight. I had to level up my mindset to stay above water, see surviving is a stage I found to be like treading water. Yes, you fought off the great white shark, you survived, but now you’re left with vast oceans to contend with and of course, finding dry land and safety.
Its a particular group of people I am specifically talking to. Those that are alone, those who have no support network, who have to teach themselves everything about everything. And as a result, fumble through and learn the lessons in life the hard way. Being an adult care leaver, the depth of loneliness never leaves you. if you allow it too, it can be debilitating. It’s a club you are thankful that others are apart of when you meet them but sad that trauma was the initiation to become a member. This innate feeling of isolation, coupled with the repetitive traumas, only solidifies the feeling of isolation and the reality of not being loved or wanted. Cue low self-esteem, poor life choices, declining mental health and the come back of the inner critic…
As I got older I was so numb to my feelings, I couldn’t inspect, reflect or detect anything wrong with me. All I felt was anger or love.. what I have learnt is the multifaceted ways in which I am able to now feel and express my emotions and thus help aid my mental wellness, rather than its decline. I hope you get to do the same.
As I fight to survive to thrive once more, my victimhood mindset would fight against the current. What I realised was rather than fight against the current, if I let go and continue to do what I can i.e (stay above water) it wouldn’t matter what shore I arrived at, as long as I arrived all would be well.
Having faith in the unknown and something higher than myself gave me power and the understanding of alchemy. When we have a thought, chemicals are released into the brain, which sends information to the body and creates our reality. When we speak from a place of victimhood, we only empower these thoughts through words, to become our reality. Be careful what you think and say about yourself as YOU WILL make it so…
It takes practice but like anything you are trying to master, you do get better…. and so does your reality…
The unknown scared me. All my life control and power have never been mine, so the little control I had, I was fiercely attached too. I had to change my relationship with a lot of things. What the unknown taught me was priceless, not being in control is liberating It’s emancipating and ultimately divine. In other words, when I allowed the current to carry me to shore, I always arrived safe, at the right destination, at the right time with little collateral damage…. metaphorically speaking.
I had to go and get lost ‘at sea‘, experience dehydration, starvation and hysteria to truly find the true me. Within my own vast ocean of mental turmoil, I had to learn that ultimately we are our own saviour.
The conundrum to being the hero and antihero in your own life is a beautiful ironic set of circumstance. Accepting no one is going to save you is a freeing feeling but depressing too, especially when we have Disney films, as the blueprint for young girls and how romance should be. However, when reality hits, it actually serves as a right to passage, an up-level that knocks a lot of obstacles out of the way. But what’s left? you, me, us… The hardest obstacle of all.
What happened next was the crossroads to whether I would allow my mental health to dip once more or whether I could stay present and not allow my issues to kick in old programmes (how I dealt with stress). I had to reflect on what programmes were kicking in and why?….
Each subconscious behaviour is a programme given to us by our caregivers, good or bad these programmes determine who we are, how we see the world and how we respond to it. What have I learned about myself and love, how has it reflected in my world?
Since the age of 15 years old, I had been in long term relationships – back to back. As toxic as most of them were, I truly believed I was in love. It was enough for me that their presence was present for me to feel loved. Those stressful times were a way in which I felt connected. Trauma bonding is an interesting explanation for my romantic choices and my perception of love. What was bonding me to these toxic relationships, which made me a victim more times than a thriver? upon further research, a common theme occurred. Emotional Unavailability.
why did my programming teach me that emotional unavailability was love?
I began to research further, I attracted emotionally unavailable men, because I myself was emotionally unavailable, yet I still felt that this was love? As someone who has experienced abuse, it is common for those who have been abused to become emotionally unavailable.
Being a thriver of abuse, I came to realise the pattern and the effects of what repetitive abuse can do to your brain. We all express our programmes differently, I would advise you to get to know what they are. Therapy, personal research or spiritual practices, are all avenues to healing and finding your true self to ultimately thrive. No matter what external resources we choose to access, I want to stress that the power for change is within you and is only activated by you. True alchemy.
Doubt and worry will always be present, its what makes us human. At the beginning of my journey to healing, I thought that I had to be a fully self-actualised person to provide inspiration. Now I know who I am, is human and some days due to my own traumas I still have moments of doubt where I’m back ‘out at sea’ re-configuring. The difference now is I’m never there long and I understand the necessity of it. I’m proud to say I’m perfectly imperfect, and so should you be, maybe that’s my route to self-actualisation?
I had to understand the philosophy of when things fall apart its to rebuild something new. I must have compassion for my failings and forgiveness for my behaviour when I didn’t know. Ultimately the question we should always ask is ‘what did I learn from this experience?’
So has my trauma created a ‘Drama’ queen or a ‘Trauma queen?’ I’m not sure, what I do know is I now smile when I try to make sense of this question.
There have been times that my trauma has caused me to act in ways that have been perceived to be ‘Drama Queen’ qualities. For me they were my survival skills, some served me well and were needed, other times I reigned over a kingdom of chaos.
And whether we ask or not, life will be sure to keep pushing us to transform, to accept the dark and light within us all the while creating growth for the better. If you allow it too. All you have to do is ask, surrender, follow the signs and trust. The narrative will change, this my loves is called alchemy. This is life and its never going to change its how we react to life that creates the desired changes.
our vulnerable young people and individuals in our communities are living and breathing the very issues I have experienced and so many sadly don’t survive. Some of us are silently fighting, and don’t understand we can unlearn what we were programmed with to truly thrive and live happily. Some of us are so lost, we never make our way back, the victim in us is too comfortable with who we feel we are. instead of being a victim to circumstance, we become victors of self-sabotage without ever knowing the true enemy within.
I say, its a social responsibility for more of us to educate our vulnerable on the notion of trauma and its effects. If more of us professionals became reflexive in our delivery and educated on the true potential of trauma informed practice, we may have a chance to shine a light on some dark corners of our community. As an individual who has lived in those corners, I most certainly will endeavour to shine a light in those places, most turn away from.