It is starting to seriously feel liberating to finally talk about my journey with trauma with emotion behind the words. I saw my chiropractor again this morning and she explained it beautifully: by only using words we keep ourselves disconnected and separate from the experience to make it easier. And I realised I had done this for so long: words without feeling without freedom without permission.
what does trauma mean?
A person with PTSD has three main types of difficulties, which include: reliving the traumatic event – through unwanted and recurring memories and vivid nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions when reminded of the event. These can include sweating, heart palpitations or panic. I got this from this link.
So here you are just having experienced the trauma and it is all happening around you: pain, emotions, fears, reliving the trauma and staying in the drama of it all and which do you tackle first as it all feels so front of mind.
There is the haze around you, a fog, a veil so that you cannot see out and beyond. Your world has shrunk to what is right in front of you and what is immediate. It is inexplicable and thus frightening. Basically, it is what the f… has just happened and how do I deal with this? And even that is too much.
It was on for young and for old: the childhood nightmares, intense fear and anxiety, not wanting to go out, let alone get in a car, let alone drive one. I kept replaying the scene moment by moment second by second and the what ifs? If that car had not pulled out in front of me and stopped to turn right, I would not have had to stop.
And then, what if he had not turned, I would have been sandwiched between this car and the van with a roo bar squashed as I was only in a Honda Jazz – very tinny and light. What if, what if, what if? until it drove me to distraction.
what happened to me
I would not go outside, I wanted to stay in bed under the duvet and not show my face. In addition, I did not want to see anyone or be with anyone.
Would I get hurt again, would I get ridiculed, would I be seen as weak and pathetic as I had nothing to show for it: on the outside anyway. I went into deep shame, an old and familiar place,. Comfortable like an old bunny rug.
How was I to run my fledgeling business when I felt like this? Who would want to do business with me? Who would take me seriously? Round and round it went grinding me further and further into the ground. I felt hopeless and helpless – unfamiliar to me.
In comes the trauma psychologist giving this all a name: PTSD. What is that? That cannot be me. I am strong, independent, and have already survived childhood trauma.
I can get through this. Well, she was patient with me and held my hand so to speak as I went back week after week as I needed to be held, supported and to have help to make sense of this chaos around me.
How EMDR helped me
A process called EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) was used to help decrease these symptoms. Gradually she helped me be able to get back into the car as a passenger at first and then on my own to drive past where it had happened.
Even before I got there the palpitations started, the sweating, the tensing of the body, hyperventilation and the reoccurring of the accident. With the loving support of my partner, we did it. Relief. And nothing happened. Nothing at all.
And now 6 years later I am driving without most of my fear anywhere. I still do not like being in small cars. However, that is all.
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson
Namaste to the next instalment. I trust this may help you or help someone you know. If we do not share we will never know that we are not alone.
Please share if you feel someone else would benefit from this blog.
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 www.unfoldyoufreedom.com.au
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