Facing Trauma

(Trigger warnings for abuse)

I am a trauma survivor, or at least I believe I am. I know over my years of being in the world my go to strategy has been to box up anything which would give me paralysing fear. I would then stack the boxes neatly in a locked room at the back of my mind. This realisation that I have a room at the back of my mind reminds me of the description several people who discuss their Dissociative Identity Disorder (whom I have come to admire) describe their headspace.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, there is a room filled floor to ceiling with boxes labelled with warnings but no more. I can no longer remember much of my childhood, maybe those memories are stored in those boxes. I’m not sure it is normal to forget much of your childhood, replace what was there with a vision of an idyllic fantasy. Periodically, the room at the back of my mind starts to shake and the steel door gets hot. Somewhere I hear the caution alarms sound. I instinctively feel anxiety rise, dreading the idea of addressing the emotions which lie there.

I am aware I survived incidents of sexual abuse by people I knew and someone I didn’t know. What Do I do remember is in perfect recall of bits of what I must have seen. When I was first abused by a stranger there are the vivid memory of the State Troopers gray trousers with the yellow stripes down the sides and the brilliantly shined shoes. The smell of stale tobacco and alcohol breath. The fragments of memories I don’t have answers for. I’m not sure what some of them are, but I can guess.

I don’t trust what my mother has said as she is still very very angry at my Dad. I am angry too, for all the times he let me down and failed me. How he pushed me away while getting close to my brothers and my half sister. That anger is locked in one of those hundreds of boxes in the room at the back of my mind. I have longed for a close family relationship with the people I am genetically related to. I have that with my little brother. I am however, 3,500 miles away now. I have nephews I will never get really close to. I was hurt and I ran to a foreign country. At times I feel quite alone.

I do worry as I am approaching 60 that I may need to resolve what’s in all of those boxes. I know I am running out room for the boxes. I used to deal with just depression, medicated and coping. I now have a really stunning case of anxiety. Which is sometimes paralysing. I have so much stuff I want to do and when I get a an anxiety attack it wastes time.

I am sorry I am partially broken, but being me, has led me to all the interesting things I have done in my life. I never thought I would be involved in a National Organisation, meeting with politicians, in the Houses of Parliament. I may sometimes get all wrapped up in my own pity. I don’t know why my life has gone the way it has. I am not happy to be physically and mentally disabled. It has made me hard working, hard on myself and very very driven. I may never empty those boxes in the room in the back of my mind. I may never do it. I know I have to make a conscious decision to keep moving. If you find a way to get rid of the boxed emotions, get in contact. I have a major job for you.

Well, for now, it’s lights out. Cya again soon.

I met a human being

I met a human being, with a history I don’t fully know. They have shared some intimate details of what life is like for them. I have to admit, as an elected member of a council, not this one, I was appalled. My safeguarding alarm was ringing loudly. And I couldn’t do anything to help. My mind and emotions raged. The person I came to know was funny, intelligent, talented, with a rich history, not all of it suitable for a children’s programme. 

I met a human being, I’ve never met in person, because neither of us can travel easily due to the environment in which we live. As I talked with this human being, my heart has been ripped open. The horrors of some of what I have faced, are nothing compared to those faced by the human being I call my friend. 

I have been doing that reflecting thing that age and infirmity seems to force us to do in the twilight years of our life. My Grandmother told me that this would be a happy golden time in you life when you look back fondly. Not me, I can’t, not now.

I met a human being, who lives on the edge of the peaceful permanent slumber, alone. The situation this human being has been forced to exist in would truly make you cringe and even cry. Now I have not had a rosy upbringing and my mother, damaged herself from her own childhood raised me with respect for other human beings and to step in when someone is hurting someone else. 

Long before the pariah who disgraces my homeland’s highest office giving succour to the far right, I was taught that the right thing to do was to care for the sick, the weak, the vulnerable. My friend, the human being is sick and vulnerable but the agencies who should be taking care of them, is the persecutor. And this is what hurts me the most for my friend.

My friend, the human being, lived their life, in a flat that the RSPCA and environmental health would condemn, but they don’t. This human being, my friend, has been forced to lay in squalor, with black mould growing like a carpet on walls that are damp. This makes the bed that they lie in damp to the touch but because my friend, the human being has one working limb, battered by headaches caused by damage suffered in an accident, lies in a wet bed, their headaches set off from the noise of the dehumidifier which triggers the damage to their brain that screams with pain. 

My friend, the human being, who has been forced to lie in the damp bed, without access to the heating controls that should have been put a height they can reach. Rationed to incontinence pants that they must lie in because they are unable to change their undergarments when they are soiled because they would have to manage this with one working limb. Things were worse, before they became unable to walk, they lurched step by shaky step unsteadily in a flat that was unsuitable for this person to live in. It was only the kindness of strangers that got them a wheelchair that they could use, but this chair had to be chained outside because my friend, the human being was living up a couple of flights of stairs. My friend, the human being, was watched day after day risking certain death from a fall because the responsible people couldn’t deal with the complexity of my friend’s needs. They didn’t understand that it was wrong for my friend, a human being to crawl across the floor and down the steps that separated them from the chair which could carry their tormented body. Left alone because of their vulnerabilities and the ludicrous nature of the law, that the carers can not do their jobs in this unsafe environment.

My friend the human being, an artist inside, with hands that is unusable, ravaged by infection, still creates. With one hand,and a phone and sight narrowed by more damage. Every message and conversation painstaking in the extreme, with the hands that they used to create visual landscapes permanently clawed. Able to converse through limited technology with a stylus placed in their hand by a carer. Jammed into a hand that could be injured by rough treatment and become viciously infected. But still my friend still lives. They have overcome each assault having their dignity taken one layer pealed back and ripped off like the scab off a wound. This is done by those who are meant to keep them safe. 

They live on a knife edge, in conditions every bit as dire as the children shown on tv that good Christians should save. 

I can’t forget that my friend the human being has to fight for every action, actions so easily disregarded by the rest of us. My friend the human being, who is treated in this once great empire like a prisoner of war in prison camp. Sores weeping, soul screaming, discarded. The cynical amongst us, the ones that are vilified in the media as scroungers in order to justify the persecution, are being slowly tortured to death. And because the the ones, like my friend the human being, aren’t seen, they waste away in a living hell. 

So my recollections of life in my golden years are a dystopian nightmare perpetrated by those who BY LAW and by oath allow this to go on. Unfortunately they are not the only one, my friend the human being. They are one amongst many that the government is exterminating quietly but not humanely. Because THAT would be against my friend, the human being’s human rights. 

So that is only part of my tale about my friend, the human being, be patient, I need to recharge because the story of my friend, the human being, cuts as deeply in my heart as if someone physically stabbed me with a shiv. This is the reality I share with my friend the human being.