There’s a buzz in the air. We have sprung forward – aka moving into BST. Plus, we are now moving into the start of what our Prime Minister terms his roadmap out of lockdown.
It made me sit up and think yesterday. It is the time to be seen out in the world. We cast off our winter blues, our thoughts turn to sunny days and maybe, just maybe, being allowed to meet up with family and friends we haven’t seen in however long.
And all of this requires us to be seen, obviously.
Being seen is a normal part of life. We venture out into the world and are seen by those who we pass in the street. By those who we share public transport with. By those who we work with. It’s normal and we don’t pay it much heed.
There are those of us who have suffered terribly because of things that have happened to us. There are those of us who have anxiety disorders. Fear of going outside. Fear of being seen.
For me it is all about being seen because of a traumatic experience. I have spent over thirty years believing people were judging me because of what happened to me. They weren’t, they didn’t even know, but my hyper-vigilant mind had me believing that there were threats everywhere around me, and that everyone I saw was forming an opinion of me based on what happened.
When I finally broke free of that never ending cycle of fear I was left with a gaping big hole in my thought process. The idea was to fill that hole with positive thoughts, reinforcing what I had learnt in therapy. Only that somehow didn’t happen. I found myself gazing at what my therapist termed the wounded child. She was kind of healed, but she – me – I had no idea of who the hell I was.
The work we did when my therapy was nearing completion was geared to help me understand that for thirty odd years I had been emotionally trapped. Sixteen year old me was the forty odd year old me. Emotionally I had remained that age because I hadn’t processed one of the major parts of my trauma – the threat of being killed.
When my therapist had me reliving the attack over and over again I remembered things I hadn’t even processed. They were stuck. Inside of my head. Keeping me perpetually in fear. Always scanning for the threat. Never wanting to be seen. Needing to be invisible.
I have done the work on this issue. I have continued to do the work on this issue. It is a work in progress.
When Covid hit the UK I was just finishing my therapy, just getting started on dong the inner work that was required for me to continue to heal. I had a setback. The restrictions felt like I was being forced into doing something I didn’t want to do (please understand here that I fully understood the lockdown rules and the restrictions, I am just describing how I felt from a recovering from trauma POV). The threat of a deadly virus felt like the spectre of a ghost from my past. Enter hyper-vigilance once more.
This caused a breakdown. I was given medication and offered therapy once more. The latter I didn’t take, this time. The lockdown meant I would have to wait a considerable amount of time to see the lovely lady who has helped me so much. By the time she could see me again I didn’t even want to consider what state my mental health would have been in. So I began to work on myself using the tools she taught me.
The conclusion has been who the hell am I?
Well, in a few short weeks I will be 50 years old. A lifetime has passed between me of now and me from then. After a lot of inner work, facing my demons, and truths, realising I am not who people perceive me to be, accepting I am becoming who I want to be, and realising that I will be seen when I venture out into the world, and being absolutely OK with that.
That monster from the past has been dealt with. Yeah, he’s going to pop into my head,, probably several times a week, if not daily. But I don’t have to let his sneering face into my beautiful mind view. He didn’t conquer me. I lived. I maybe thought I hadn’t, but I did. I found love. I had a family. I have created so many beautiful moments in my life. Created stories that one day the world will see. Created a vision for women who have suffered what I have.
Springing forward this year feels so much brighter than last year. The year the was hell actually helped to heal me. I am different person. I am not who most people perceive me to be. I am not who social media portrays me to be – sometimes at the hand of others.
I am me and proud to be me.