7 Years Ago: Living With Trauma and Making Memories.

It would be a disservice to others and myself to write about how I feel in the present as my reactions are those of a trauma informed perspective which is loaded with exaggeration, intensity and a desire to control the swelling emotional reactions. It’s only with reflection that I can see and examine what’s really going on for me, I so want to be able to do this in the present and have some moments where this is possible but so often with strong emotional reactions I need to manage the emotions in the short term, to pause and withhold my immediate interpretation and delay any conclusions until the tide withdraws and I can feel more clearly. Experience has taught me this is the only way to be accurate, if I’m impulsive I often regret what’s said. I need impulse control in certain areas and more instinct and impulse in other domains. I want to write about now but that’s for my journals, I can share snippets here but as I’ve said above, I can only offer brief reveals because nothing is concrete until the trauma goggles dissipate.

Trauma impacts in so many ways and it’s only over the last year that I’ve really considered how far these impacts reach for me, reviewing my journals as I wrote my memoir about addition made me aware of certain issues faced and these were often clearly evident as I was trauma in action, engaged with sex work, maintaining a large heroin habit, trying to manage a co-dependant relationship and feelings of responsibility towards others and the world. My journals show a scattered mind, and it reminds me how trauma leads to an inability to decide, I’m so often plagued by indecision and doubt, especially in times of high emotion. Trauma has prevented me from committing to things, it’s led to interrupted career and education pathways as I’m often sent into instability when emotional issues surface. I dropped out of uni when a long-term relationship ended, I ended jobs for similar reasons or I lack confidence in my ability to move forward with careers and progress up the ranks. Often my trauma related reactions can lead me to feel disillusioned with the world, I can suffer an over-empathy or sensitivity that highlights injustice and can easily feel that life is meaningless and futile.

When I’m facing an intense emotional issue like I am now, the emotional upset can trigger a shut down and inability to feel anything. I currently feel like a void and it reminds me lots of how it felt to have a heavy heroin habit, just a desolate expanse of nothingness, a coldness sweeps over me and I recoil. I’ve been struggling with this issue since the start of the year and it informed my decision to write the memoir in a bid to try and understand my issues better and hopefully work through them.

I was in a relationship with a lovely chap who already had two children from a previous relationship, I struggle with being in relationships and still do, it was nothing to do with the chap, it was my stuff about giving up autonomy and independence, and the struggle I face with such a high need for solitude and retreat. Being a step-parent of sorts was remarkable and I love his kids, they’re awesome and it made me aware for the first time in my life that I did have the ability to be a parent, and I started asking myself if it was something I truly wanted. I’m 40 next year so it’s something I need to work out pretty soon. Being in a maternal role triggered something inside and I never expected to feel such things, but with those feelings came the impacts of trauma. With trauma all things become conflicted, what should be happy is tinged with sadness or doubt, what should lead to unity often leads to separation or withdrawal. I’ve had moments of being sure I want become a mum and moments of being sure I don’t, I’m a bit lost in ambivalence.

I struggle with my need for space and have always benefitted from living alone. I’m so sensitive to the energy of others that I find it near impossible to relax fully when others are around. I’m constantly absorbing and responding to others, it’s a constant state of assessing risk, threat or trying to read others. I’m often tense inside and trying to make my escape, even when out walking and someone stops to talk I start edging away and attempt to end the exchange as quickly as possible. It’s hard work for anyone to be in a relationship with me because I’m so self-contained, I’m so inside myself at times that I’m hard to reach. I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed work and social relationships as they have limits and boundaries, whenever relationships become intimate or too close I struggle.

I can’t help but wonder that if I’m struggling to manage the unpredictable emotions around all this that perhaps it is a sign that I wouldn’t cope with the journey to becoming a parent and being a parent of course. I don’t want to pass on my trauma and I’m aware my mental health requires certain self-care that maybe in conflict with the demands of children, I couldn’t live with being a bad parent, I’d rather not be one at all. I also can’t be sure that it’s something I truly want or am I caught up in what should want. Before having these maternal urges triggered I was quite happy to live life without becoming a parent myself, I always saw my life as a different journey and one in which meaning was acquired through other pursuits, creative, intellectual and spiritual. I’m wondering if I just lost my way and got swept away in the idea, that’s very easy for me to do and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what I really want.

Maybe I would struggle, maybe it’s best I don’t follow that path and just work on finding and maintaining stability and balance for myself, perhaps that’s enough. I’m all for signs and can’t help but see this as a big one, a sad one but likely very valid. So I’m in a time of reassessing my motives and direction, what is the meaning of my life, where does fulfilment lie and what does this mean for my relationships and choices. With all this going on in my head it was a welcome break to look at my journals and see where I was at seven years ago. My situation may have been different but my headspace was still one clouded with trauma. There are lots of jotted notes and random entries about strange stuff, I’m confused and unable to focus, I flit between things and thoughts, and once again I’m longing for time to be totally alone, I feel that way now.

September 2013

I keep putting my head in the sand, I feel quite stuck, I’m always trying to help Marcel and sometimes I would rather just be alone but when I do spend time away from him he always drinks heavily and I worry for him, he can’t seem to keep it together. I have to remember though that he managed before I came into his life, well sort of, he just got in with a chaotic crowd and drank all the time. I want him to do the constructive stuff he mentions, it’s not my responsibility but I do worry, especially as when drunk he so often goes over or needs help. I have to let it go and focus on me, I just feel so stuck and I hate telling anyone I can’t be there for them in the same way, I love Marcel but I can’t keep adjusting to make his life easier and mine harder.

On the news, a paedophile got 14 years for indecent images and abuse of young girls, that’s a good result, although sexual offenders always seem to get off lightly in my eyes, you get more time for drugs than abusing children or committing sexual violence, how is that right?

I keep watching tv shows and get ideas for scripts and screenplays, maybe one day! Beverley Hills 90210 was on tv, I remember watching the orginal show when I was younger, the first thing I ever won from a tv competition was a Beverley Hills 90210 video, I was well chuffed at the time, must’ve been about ten I think. It made me want to got to America, and I would still love to visit some places there, New York, San Francisco, maybe one day I’ll head off on a solo mission and write as I go, I’d love that!

Memories – you need others to help preserve memories. If nobody ever discusses memories with you it’s so easy for them to fade and grow extinct, they cease to exist if not kept alive through shared experience. Perhaps that’s why I have so little memories from childhood, there is nobody to talk to about them, nobody to help keep them alive. I expect that’s why those with siblings and parents of younger years have more vivid childhood memories, along with those who stay in the same geographical area, there are more people to share and preserve memories, it’s a group effort, the more memories are shared the more they are reinforced I guess. Writing in my journals is my way to preserve memories, it didn’t start with that aim but it’s certainly a nice part of keeping a journal, you keep memories too and they’re precious.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed the content, if you’d like to support my creative work and the continuation of this blog please contribute below, all support is much appreciated. Enjoy your day, be safe and well xx

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