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Dealing with blocked trauma

It's been a little while since my last blog, but today I am wanting to share something with you all that really shocked me to the core.

This past week I have had to deal with situations that presented themselves to me and that I would normally deal with in a manner that gets us to the required result in a positive way. Isn't it interesting that for some reason I had taken these situations personally and found myself being extremely sad and agitated, which is not me!!

I am lucky enough to have wonderful people in my life both personally and professionally who took time to listen and help me get past these strange emotions that were suddenly overwhelming me. I must make special mention to Elizabeth McIntosh, an inspiring and insightful employer and beautiful friend. Elizabeth sensed my shift in emotions and with her expert advice and subtle guidance helped me come to some shocking realisations.

I have been dealing with some physical issues that began around the time I started finalising my memoir, Burnt Face. I have mentioned in a previous blog that when I put myself back in to the emotions of my younger self it changed my whole personality, but I was unaware that it also manifested physical trauma to my body. As I once again take myself back to the younger me whilst embarking on the second book, I am contributing more to this hidden trauma. For the past few months I have been doing all I can to recover from this and last week the physical and mental trauma came to a head.

I was extremely sad and agitated for no obvious reason and the physical symptoms were starting to present again. Elizabeth noted my unusual demeanour and sat down with me as we talked openly about what was going on with me both physically and emotionally. It dawned on me that I have never dealt with the trauma that happened to me as a 9 year old. I praise myself on being a strong and confident woman and it was worrying to me that I didn't have control over how I was suddenly feeling. I am a person who holds people to accountability and believes that if you have done something wrong, you own it, learn from it and try to rectify it so that everyone involved can move forward positively. It was brought to my attention recently that I am someone who calls people out and although it is necessary at times, it is also something that bothers others. As we delved deeper into my personality it became obvious that this trait of mine stemmed from many years ago when the person who changed my life was never held accountable and never took responsibility.

I became aware that when I am put in a situation where accountability is brushed aside, my subconscious mind goes back to my burns trauma and the out of control direction my life took as a result. Some of the things that came up as we talked openly was:

  • The person never owned up to doing it, so what did people think... I threw myself onto the flames?

  • If he didn't care about what he did, then it couldn't have been that big a deal, right?

  • Why would anyone want to read my story?

  • I feel awkward when I get feedback that I am an inspiration or I am brave. I'm just me!

Elizabeth pointed out to me that what happened to me was really awful, in fact it was pretty messed up. She made me realise that even though I am a strong and confident woman, I have never really confronted my trauma and allowed myself to let go of all of the emotional baggage that I carry deep within.

It was true that I have never grieved for the younger me who didn't have the counselling or support of other burn survivors that is available today, to help me through that traumatic time. I didn't know any other burns victims after I left the hospital. I certainly never wanted sympathy and I absolutely love my mother for all of her unconditional support as she did her absolute best to care and support me during that time.

I now realise that for me to continue on my writing journey and not be physically and emotionally affected by the memories that I go back to, I must let go and grieve for that young girl first and foremost. I know this is a process that I have to go through and I am extremely grateful that I have strong support of family and friends to help me throughout this new journey.

I am confident that over the next couple of weeks I will be back in my happy and positive place and look forward to letting go and releasing past blockages to clear the path for my future endeavours.

Annette xxx

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