Hey Jude…. unresolved trauma now we have time to think….
I can’t write. I have so much to say yet I can’t write. I can feel it coming back but I have been flooded with so many different feelings I don’t even know what to do with.
Will I write any time soon? I don’t know. But today’s guest blogger may just get me going again….maybe….
I have a friend. We met through work and very quickly become good friends. She helped me to get help and support around my daughters needs. She has advised me on this and that. She is my go-to person for certain things. She is one of the few people I will choose to spend time with. I could talk to her for hours. Hearing about her past. Listening to what the future could hold for me and my daughter. I like her is what I am saying.
She contacted me a few days after lock down and asked to send me a blog. I said yes of course. I didn’t open it straight away. And when I did, I was eating some toast, chilling on my sofa and opened it to have a gander expecting it to be about the work that we do. Within seconds I put my food in the bin and sat up and gave this blog the respect it deserved.
I am going through my own traumas because of what is happening. But it was not until I read this that I got it.
People of the UK, todays gust blogger is a Queen….so make sure you treat this blog with the respect it deserves.
Trigger – Baby loss
Twelve years ago, my son, Jude, was stillborn. I rarely talk about him and you won’t find me posting on World Baby Loss Awareness Day or raising funds for Sands or Bonnie Babies, both charities that supported me at the time. So why am I talking about this now?
Well, first off- social distancing means I am out of my (very busy) routine and I have time to think. Weekends and days off are usually spent in a whirl of kids’ activities, seeing friends, going to the gym, eating with family, volunteer work etc etc, but back to my busy life and the reason for it, in a minute…
Secondly, at work, I am in the middle of rethinking how we support young people and I am doing loads of reading about trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACES)- how they might play out and how as services we can do better to understand and respond to this.
Whilst I might tick a few of the ACEs on the list, I don’t consider myself to be someone who has experienced childhood trauma but what about trauma that happens later on?
Trauma actually refers to our response to an adverse or distressing event. Losing Jude was without doubt, the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced. There was life before Jude, and then then there is life after. I think that most people would say I have recovered well- I am generally calm, not prone to displays of emotion and rarely get very angry (other than about injustice).
I would say I have been emotionally cauterised.That is my trauma response.
I now know that my way of coping with the trauma of losing Jude is to stay busy, keep it locked deep inside, throw myself into a million things and never do or say anything that draws attention to it. (I never even reach out to anyone I know who has the misfortune to go through the same thing, and those who know me well, know that this is pretty against my character).
All this has got me thinking about how we assume we can recognise trauma in responses such self medicating through drink and substances, self harm, toxic relationships and violence but it can also look very different – it can look like working way beyond our hours, filling our time with many different helpful roles, signing up for courses and qualifications, having 5 different hobbies and always being on tap for the people around you. In fact, when I think about it, the busiest women I know, are often the ones I know have had the most difficult and painful life events to deal with.
So social distancing is emptying out my schedule and the thoughts of Jude are starting to bubble up and fill those quiet hours, for the first time in a very long time. Not sure how that is going to pan out for me…
I know these times are going to be challenging for everybody and I am really worried for the most vulnerable members of society but I am now thinking we also need to look out for those who we usually think are the strong ones because it might just be that their coping mechanisms are disappearing too…
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