Possibly, it may seem like a strange choice to some… to write a blog about such an intensely personal experience as being assaulted and having depression/post-traumatic stress disorder.
I thought that in this post, I’d paraphrase an email I wrote to my friends to help explain the path that led to the first keystroke of Svasti.
If you’ve read any of the posts here or my About page, you’ll know I went through a pretty traumatic experience at the end of 2005 – being assaulted by someone I thought I knew in my own home. Nasty stuff.
I’ve had counselling, energy/other healing treatments galore, done plenty of meditation practice etc. But trauma doesn’t go away as easily as you might think – and I’m just learning how much work it takes to really shift.
From January-May 2008, I developed incredible pain in my shoulder that wouldn’t go away. The sort of pain that meant I couldn’t do much exercise. In fact, it hurt to breathe sometimes. I had numerous chiropractic, massage and acupuncture treatments but nothing helped. I then had x-rays and CT scans to see if anything could be picked up that way. All to no avail… which was most frustrating.
In early May, I took my scans to my chiropractor to see what he could make of them. Basically he told me all they proved was that the pain didn’t really have a physical cause. He started very gently talking to me about depression by asking me what else was going on in my life.
About how physical pain can be a symptom of emotional pain (oh der! I knew that!!). But I assured him that I’d been there, done that. I knew what depression feels like and I was positive I wasn’t depressed. I just felt… very flat. And as though life was pretty much pointless. That something was missing…
Although I’d been a patient of my chiro for over three years, I’d never told him about my assault. But right there and then… I did. At this point, our conversation changed. I could sense a much greater energy working through him (I felt the atoms in the room change!). There he was, telling me things that I already knew but needed to hear. Things that some of my dear friends had tried to suggest. But this time it hit home… Hmmm, I’m still depressed?? There’s still possibly more to deal with here??
As he talked I started bawling, but the tears were completely unbidden. I couldn’t feel the emotions behind them. My chiro however, had all the right words – You must have so many trust issues, no wonder you haven’t been in a relationship since that time, it must be so hard to feel safe… Its very important, what you’ve just told me. You’ve been very brave and strong, but now its time to take another look. Depression, he said, has many guises – it doesn’t always look like “I can’t get out of bed”.
And then this… he just ‘happens’ to work with the director of psychology on some board of health and he would help me with a referral. And he did. Convenient coincidences perhaps? Or perhaps some kind of sublime synchronicity?
Luckily for me, I’d driven to work that day. Which saved me from crying all over strangers on the train on the way home.
I felt as though a band-aid had been ripped off and now it was time to let the air in. I felt good, and at the same time, incredibly fragile. But now I wanted to preserve that state of openness/fragility instead of push it away. Allow it to be, to express. Most of that evening was spent in a flood of tears, which I tended with the care of a new born child.
Now, it feels as though I’d been carrying around an improperly healed wound, and through grace, I’d been given an opportunity to open it up once more, so the healing work can be continued (properly this time).
The very next day after my chiro visit, the pain in my shoulder dropped off by about 80%. Its now almost 100%.
I’ve started seeing the psychologist to whom I was recommended (a trauma specialist). To date we’ve had three sessions, and all appears to be going very well. I won’t pretend that it’s easy to sit in a room and re-live these experiences, because its not. But I do know it’s very necessary if I am to move forward in my life.
So, down to this blog. I’ve always loved writing, but its been a while since I wrote anything substantial. Mostly because I’m extremely hyper-critical of my own work. So I decided that I wanted to turn this journey into a blog. Mostly to project outwardly the things I need to look at (in order to see them objectively). But also, hey – if it can help someone, anyone else – that’s brilliant.
P.S. The deal I struck with myself in order to write this blog was to give up caring too much about the quality of my writing. And whilst I can’t entirely ‘not care’, I’ve sacked the ultra-critical editor in my mind and I’m just letting it out…