My friend Trauma? Really?
It’s an incredibly hard concept to fathom that companionship can develop with trauma. How can you possibly build a deep and comforting relationship with an event, a feeling, a pain, even a thought that has had such destructive consequences on your whole being?
Trauma is one very powerful force.
You experience the cause, you move through the shock, you may be left with the physical scars, but you’re also left with the memory, often developing into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (in this piece, however, I wont be discussing PTSD). You try everything your conscious self allows to “deal” with it. This could be counselling, psychotherapy, medication, natural remedies, homeopathy, meditiation, healing, whatever you chose as your methods of care. But something remains, you just can’t seem to extricate yourself from the repetitive thoughts, the replaying of the experience in your memory, over and over again, until it becomes a narrative.
It becomes your story.
At this point the relationship may shift, it feels as though your story has entered every cell of your body and becomes such an intrinsic part of you that an uneasy friendship starts to form.
It might be a deeply uncomfortable bedfellow, but you begin to find that you can’t be without it. It gradually takes on a persona of its own and eventually you find yourself having the urge to say to people “Come and meet my good friend Trauma…”
This friendship has power.
Maybe it gives you an identity, a purpose; you actually feel safe with the discomfort as it shows you’re alive.
Beware though, trauma isn’t exclusive – trauma hooks up with a bad crowd – the leader being your inner
critic – you know the one who shouts, sometimes far too loud at you, and for women, mostly when you’re premenstrual, but she can pop up at any time! Trauma hangs out with her.
Sometimes it consciously doesn’t feel right to give up the trauma.
It’s too hard to step away from the friendship. How will I be able to feel after breaking up? What’s there to replace the strength of the attachment? Maybe I’ll actually feel lonely without this companionship. You may even feel an intangible connection that is almost imperceptible but far reaching, perhaps there’s a generational or even ancestral link that binds you to your friend?
This relationship can keep you in a cocooned world.
In a world where you don’t have to expose your true inner self. I don’t mean that self who is holding hands with the trauma, but the one who can fly, who can create, who truly feels life, sees colours in their full brightness, see beauty around them, the one who allows the world to be seen in HD, rather than through a slightly fuzzy-screened 1970s cumbersome tv. That self is kept hidden away.
But what happens when you want the friendship to end…?
I had my story, my own relationship that developed when I lost both parents and my baby all within six months of each other. I recall times, months after, when I had to just cry and cry and cry. I’d momentarily check in with myself – which loss was I crying for? The wrenching sadness of not having Mum? The deep emptiness of losing my baby? The sometimes debilitating disbelief of Dad passing so unexpectedly and suddenly? All traumatic events individually, but squeeze them in to a six month period and you have yourself there some deep dark trauma!
Sometimes I would just be sobbing from the overwhelm of all three. But with each sob, I knew I was where I had to be. Comforted by the trauma; my new friend sat with me as a cried those tears – not just for the losses, but for almost every sadness I had felt throughout my life.
The friendship deepened and sadly pervaded so many areas of my life that it almost stopped me growing. As my personal work on healing the trauma developed, the realisation came, that what had become integral to my being, actually no longer served me.
I spent years trying to free myself from the now unwanted friendship, but the companionship persisted.
We will each have our own methods of breaking off the friendship with trauma.
For me counselling and psychotherapy, and many other forms of treatment each eased feelings and emotions, but the friendship persisted. As my journey continued, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or tapping and Womb Massage come in to my life. Both of these therapies finally facilitated the much longed-for break up with the wholly unhealthy friendship I had with trauma.
The dichotomy of trauma being an uncomfortable yet deeply reassuring companion is breakable. It is possible to see the beauty again and to fly.
I understand that this will not be everyone’s experience and I wish those who do and those who do not identify with this premise, a peaceful journey in your healing.
As I work with these therapies alongside my Aromatherapy practice, I continue to be moved and in awe of how beautifuly they allow someone to be held in their experience. Witnessing shifts, whatever the source, is so incredibly heart-singing. If you would like to get in touch and see how these nurturing and healing therapies can support you please do contact me
For a list of therapists trained in Fertility Massage click here
Top artwork: “Moonlight Walk” by Lucy Calhoun
Lower artwork: Lisa Rough