Now to the physical pain of trauma. This is the third part of my journey with PTSD.

‘I am in pain, you just don’t know it.
Cause I smile through the rain
 and refuse to show it.’ (Unknown).

As this quote aptly says “I refuse to show it” thinking it was a sign of strength. And looking back I know it wasn’t. Furthermore, I didn’t quite get the actual physical pain I was in and how long it was going to last.

I thought I had experienced pain before through my migraines. I had watched my mother and grandmother experience intense pain and clearly did not get it, until I had my own. And this was nothing like what I had experienced.

I was not prepared for these violent headaches and the ramifications they would have on my life and those around me. As mentioned in my previous blog, it would take two years to manifest and it did. I had a headache of some sort for about 3 years which dictated my life completely.

I felt hopeless

Everything seemed so hopeless, pointless and magnified feeling caged, trapped and out of control. You have to be so very present as the pain creates that being in your body with nowhere to go.

It keeps you in your body. All you can do is breathe and take it breath by breath (as I was taught in meditation and now teach) to ease the intensity of pain, emotion and anxiety that goes with it.

I was totally incapacitated and emptied out each and every way possible. How much more can there be in my gut to empty out. Yet it still comes, up to 10 times or more at a time leaving me breathless, exhausted, scared, vulnerable, and very very fearful.

get me to hospital

Just get me to a hospital even though the thought of moving is agonising. Shoot me, give me anything to take this pain away. Your partner looks at you in distress as he does not know what to do and all he wants to do is alleviate my pain and make it go away.

I want someone around. Yet I cannot bear someone being around the pain is so great. Even the slightest touch vibrates all the way through and the gentlest of breath does, too.

It is like a clamp is on my head crushing it to smithereens and there is nothing I can do. I can feel it all happening, the disc in my neck shifting, and I know what I am in store for.

No painkillers help. No going back but through trusting it will pass. And it does.

Second, by second I sit still in the darkness and stillness of night in the lounge room so as not to disturb my partner as I run to the bathroom emptying my insides out again creating excruciating pain (and I did not lose weight!!!). In addition, I couldn’t even put my head on the pillow. I had to sit upright.

Out of control

I have no control over my muscles so I leak as I throw up – feel very degraded, demoralised, and humiliated even though I am in the privacy of my own bathroom. And only hours before I had been dressed to the nines presenting to a group of ladies for my business. If they could only see me now. Thanking God they could not. Not a pretty sight.

All I can do is sweat it out yet again. I have to keep telling myself it will pass. Daytime will come and it will be better and I can get to the physio or chiro to help me out.

My saviours, my angels. Even then at times, it made it worse before it got better and I had to stop on the way home so I would not mess the car. I had to learn to let go of the fear that I held in my body and in particular in my neck. It was so tight, even they could not move it or loosen it.

Gently Gently

Gently gently with love and care it started. At times all I had to do was move my neck the slightest amount and it would set it all off with no going back but through in all its ‘gloriousness’!!!

I learnt so much about myself in this time of trauma: acceptance, patience, self-nurture, and self-care. I also had to learn to receive, ask for help (had no choice really), serious vulnerability as you feel so raw and exposed with no will to fight, to protect yourself.

You know who your friends are and who are not and that hurt and hurt a lot. You learnt to buffer comments and not take them to heart. And it hurt. Can’t you see my pain??!! And it triggered feelings of shame as I should be strong, it was not that bad, drama queen, etc. Needless to say, I let them go.

Easier to withdraw when in trauma

Inhibitions go straight out the window. I had to withdraw from the world, hide and lick my wounds. This contributed to my growing sense of agoraphobia and social phobia. I did not want to go out into the world. Or be in the world it was too harsh, too challenging, and too frightening. What if…? I talked about in my previous blog.

In addition, as my immune system was so low I had numerous infections which I had never had before. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and then to top it all off I contracted dengue fever. What next? At that point, I was exhausted on all levels.

My world got smaller and smaller as I cocooned myself in the safety of my home with very little movement and very little freedom. A mere dot in the world, a mere form in this world, an empty vessel. It was so much easier this way. Easier to cave into this – away, out of sight, hidden, not exposed, not connected to anything or anyone.

Now, I am excited to be showing it all and feeling the freedom and aliveness that comes with it. If you wish to share your story feel free to do so. This does help the recovery process and you do not feel so alone.

Namaste my dear friends, until the next time.

Please share if you feel someone else would benefit from this blog.


meet chantal

Chantal Vanderhaeghen is an intuitive guide, small business owner, creator of an international skincare brand, passionate philanthropist and meditation, reiki, tapping and mindfulness teacher. She works with women ready to make changes, shatters perceptions of beauty and perfection, and inspires people ready to become mindful entrepreneurs. She lives with her talented man in the Perth Hills and can be found online at



how you can work with me