I’m not sure where to start writing today, my thoughts feel like tiny flickers of light in a thick fog.
How I feel shifts so regularly it feels hard to keep upright sometimes. I think at the moment there has just been too much and I've been left flat on my arse. I'm not sure if the way my thoughts and feelings shift is drastic compared with other people or maybe it is the same and it is the way I respond to it that is the problem. Sometimes I feel confident, I don't agonise over every decision, I feel bigger and stronger then all my fears, I don't feel weighed down my tonnes of guilt. It feels like that first breath after you've been swimming underwater for a really long time and you finally come up for air. Sometimes I feel so awful and anxious I want to take my skin off and escape from it, I don't want to be anywhere near myself and I feel afraid but I have no idea why. I cry (a lot) and I struggle to see how this is ever going to get better, I wonder if I am depressed and if I am what do I do about it? I feel so full of rage and I have no idea who or what is to blame.
Depression is often described as someone’s ‘black dog’ which is a brilliant way to describe it. Sometimes I think you could visualise trauma in a similar way, a creature spoiling the good things in your life. The Black Dog of depression drains you slowly over time, it wears you down, it becomes and bigger and heavier and you become buried by it. Trauma however is small and vicious. It's there with you, constantly tugging at your clothes all day giving you the impression something awful is about to happen, jumping out at you, startling you before scurrying back into your mind leaving you to wonder what the hell is going on.
Sometimes for me trauma feels like sitting a cinema. You take your seat watching the movie that is your happy life then suddenly all the lights go out and the movie stops. You look around at everyone else; they are all still sitting there calmly, laughing and smiling. You look back at the screen, it’s still black, how are people enjoying this? What am I missing? The screen lights up again and the movie starts again but this time it’s different. It’s not your happy life it’s a nightmare. All these terrible things happen over and over on the screen. You close your eyes in the hope it will stop in a minute but it continues. The volume gets louder, the colours get brighter and you cannot ignore the screen. You can’t take it anymore and you scream, cry, shout, try to hide while everyone else watches their movie oblivious to what yours is showing.
Or perhaps trauma is like a giant bull in a ring. I see it and I run in circles dodging its horns for as long as I can even though I know eventually it is going to get me.
I don’t think birth trauma is very well understood or is even heard of by most people. I had never heard of it until I experienced it and even then a professional had to point it out to me. Sometimes I feel like a liar talking/writing about it, it doesn't seem possible. I sometimes wonder what motherhood would be without these feelings and thoughts.
I am anxious to admit (although I try not to be) that I am seeking professional help for this trauma. That's right, the 'professional' needs professional help! It took a long time to swallow my pride and say 'yes this is such a problem that I need help' but it was the best step I have made on this journey. My life right now is the hardest it has been since Alice's birth but I know the process of therapy, recovery whatever you want to call it...the difference is this time it's me recovering instead of helping someone else.
The colour of Trauma.
Green, almost electric,
Reminiscent of slime but with the skin of milk.
It flows, warm, sometimes hot,
The picture of a bath, almost inviting
But it could easily drown you.
Never aggressive nor violent,
It never shouts, only whispers.
It lives in the centre, secure, safe,
It flows up, spills up and over,
It is not as sluggish as lava but to call it a
Wave would be untrue.
It wants to be my friend!
But I think if it were to choose it would be female.
It is like a sea of voices,
But it is never still.
Sometimes it spits...
So I guess it can be aggressive after all.