Did you see the waves come through?
Did you feel the tremors?
Did you notice everyone hold their breath and freeze, go faster, do more or panic out loud with previously unheard screams; loss and pain that may yet reverberate through generations.
Did you scream? Cry? Hold your breath? Did you stop, retreat, collapse, or push through, push on, push out?
2 years…. And still counting…
It is not over.
The waves are still coming.
The tremors still rumble and all around structures are being shaken, falling, failing, disintegrating.
Danger often comes from outside. We are held safe and supported or impacted – even threatened, by what is going on around us. Jobs… culture… services…structures… leadership… legalities. Squeeze. Contract.
And the hardest part. The additionally traumatizing part of it all… is when leaders don’t see.
When they hide their eyes. Deny impact. Disconnect. And like a child shutting down in a classroom, can’t help their behaviour. They simply live out their patterns. Their own curated collections of trauma still unseen, un-visited, pain unacknowledged. Upper lip stiffened years ago. Lip service all they can muster. Bluster. Souls still toughened with danger-proof steel. Focus narrow. Numbers. Tangibles. Tables. Survive chaos by control. Deflection. Distraction. Control.
When they keep going and going and going and….
When they get smaller, and bigger, and tighter, and less authentic and more powered. More power-fuel. Their conundrum of mis-alignment growing with each new challenge. Shock. Blow. Still unbroken. Lips unquivering. Unflinching. Unaware without and within. Perpetuating impact for others. Amplifying Pain.
When they deem the best way is forward. With blinkers and denial and blame and formulated standards. Power used for preservation. Subconscious intention.
When they grab back the boxes. Grapple a way back to ‘normal’.
But it is not normal.
Normal got swept away by the waves that were higher than the highest buildings.
Normal was buried under the rubble of these times.
We need to bring you flowers. To place candles and vigil in the streets. We need time to mourn you too. It would help us, to demonstrate and collate, to slow and be still and acknowledge our loss of precious, steadfast, idolized, idealized Normal.
These times. Now. Not familiar. They are turbulent. Still.
Life has been changed. We have all been in the sea of it. All of us. Some got boats. Some died. Others are drowning. Still.
Gasping. Desperate. Too long spent existing beyond themselves. It is not over. Still.
Change and uncertainty remains. Exhaustion flooding. Tolls are being taken.
We could survive together. We have better chances together.
All of us need…all of us.
But when leaders continue to cling on to their survival patterns of disconnection. When leaders remain ignorant of themselves. They can not empathize. They cannot be together. Their bodies simply cannot be.
There is no allowance for grieving Normal. No tolerance for tangible truth. No sense in wasting time being still. Not good optics to be seen standing in streets acknowledging such cosmic change. Impact.
Trauma from years back changed them. Then. Now. It is no longer possible to connect with others. To acknowledge pain. It is too much. May crush what’s left of them… their survival selves… their remains… they cannot allow that. They cannot stop. CanNOT be weak. Must not be broken. Must not look back. Must carry on. Pretending. Functioning. Freezing. Desperate. Numb. Brains on over drive. Doing the only thing they know to do. Survive. Preserve. Power. Assert. Rules. Direct. Clamber back control.
And all the while appeasing those leading them.
STILL by CLAIRE WILSON
Founder of GROUNDEDGrownUps®
For more insight on nervous systems and the impact of the past, check out her book
GROUNDED – Discovering the Missing Piece in the Puzzle of Children’s Behaviour
or her TEDx talk
This is an important message for anyone starting any professionally supported healing journey.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am an advocate for people of all ages, getting help and support when we need it. There are times we all need someone who is professional, appropriately trained, qualified and experienced to walk with us for a bit. I have been there. It can really help.
However, I recently heard the experience of a dear lady who had been referred for counselling by her GP.
She is a sweet, caring, funny, and well mannered lady. She comes from the generation who grew up before technology. No TV, phones, texts, tweets or Facebook. And as do many survivors of childhood trauma, she has strong values around not hurting people, or doing or saying anything that might make someone upset.
She had been struggling with physical and mental challenges for over 3 years, and finally found the strength to ask her GP for help.
Desperate to start to feel better, she plucked up all her courage and arrived for a counselling session – the first of the 6 she was allocated.
She didn’t like it much. When I asked her why not, she explained ‘the lady’ sat behind her table and spent a lot of the time staring out of the window. “It was strange. She didn’t look at me, I’m not sure if she was listening, she just kept looking out of the window – I thought she must be on the look out for a nice young man!”
This is not ok.
It is SO. NOT. OK.
When she told me this I kept myself professionally together, but noticed an internal volcano erupt. It was a combination of sadness for this precious lady who was treated this way, and absolute indignant rage that she was treated this way by a ‘professional’ who is supposed to help her get better, not make things worse.
This is not how it is supposed to be. And the truth is it is not how it is for many, many people. But it had been her experience and sadly it can happen. So should it be of interest to you or anyone you know, here is my advice. This is my plea.
DO THIS TO HELP FIND THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL FOR YOU
1. If you ever find yourself meeting someone for the first time, who has the credentials to see you through a journey of healing (mind, body or spirit) then please, please, please, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If you do not feel safe in every way, with them, your journey with them will be a superficial one at best, a waste of time at middle, and further damaging to you at worst.
2. Please vote with your feet, and if you are not comfortable, and don’t feel you can challenge the practitioner (I know this would have been impossible for me when I was post-trauma suffering with depression or anxiety symptoms) just don’t go back again. You don’t need to. It’s about getting YOU the right help match for you. Either you could ask for a different professional from the same organisation to work with or go somewhere completely different.
3. See your first meeting as an interview or audition... and it’s not you on trial; it’s the professional. If they don’t meet the simple and appropriate criteria of making you feel SAFE, HEARD, RESPECTED and UNDERSTOOD, or if anything feels ‘off’ to you, then just be grateful you didn’t go any further down the line with them and move on.
I fully understand that it takes some real emotional energy to do this – much easier to go along with what the ‘professionals’ say. However I think many people don’t realise that they can and SHOULD have a voice and need to OPT IN to working with someone you feel will be a good match for you.
As my conversation continued, I was hoping to hear how this lady’s horrible experience got resolved. It didn’t get better – she just stuck it out. She kept going – attended all 6 of her allocated sessions, “but I didn’t really say very much. It didn’t help me at all really.” After her final session she was sent a feedback form through the post. She dutifully filled it in and sent it back. What did she put? “Oh I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I just ticked good or excellent for everything.” I understand why she did this.
Whilst the improvement of mental health is a massive deal at the moment, so is keeping the standards of the professionals privileged with this work appropriately high.
I never agree to work with anyone, adult or child, until we have had chance to meet and they have a chance to check me out and see how they feel with the journey to get to me and being in the room. We know who we feel safe with. We know when we don’t.
If you don’t feel safe, don’t go back there.
4. Do not assume all counselling experiences are the same. If you have already been through a similarly ineffective experience, and know you are still not OK, then consider trying out some different types of therapy.
Creative Arts therapists are a great choice for people who know there are things in them but not sure how to get the words out.
There is a whole new approach where a therapist works with you to release tension from your body, without you having to talk about what has gone on at all if you don’t want to (TRE).
Thankfully, on the suggestion of a close family member, this precious lady, came to try TRE and is already well on the way to living life better now than she has in years / decades.
You don’t have to stay stuck.
There is healing.
There is HOPE.
There is HELP – when you find the right person and approach for you.
Life starts throwing things at us from when we are small – and we learn to navigate, deal with, overcome or stuff them.
Regardless, they have an impact on us, and so many parents find that ‘parenting’ brings many of these unresolved experiences and tensions to the surface. Being with an anxious parent always has an impact on children.
I am so proud of this Mum who trusted me enough to take me up on my suggestion she try learning TRE.
In just a few sessions she felt and LOOKED so different!
In her own words though…
My journey started with Claire in January 2017.
I’ve always suffered with bouts of anxiety throughout my life,
usually when the stresses of life, illness, loss, family, work, etc, become hard to deal with.
Over a number of weeks I’ve tried to fix everything, everyone and myself when this happens.
But sometimes you can’t! and that’s when I’m in trouble.
So you try to hide it, carry on, and store these feelings.
In the past I have had to go to the doctors.
But this time I met Claire, and decided to try TRE.
I suppose at first I was unsure about it, skeptical, not quite sure whether it would help.
But after 2 sessions I started to understand it and feel the benefits in my own body.
I started to release underlying tension, stress, thoughts, aches and pains, that I’d tucked away for a long time.
My body and my mind feel so much better,
relaxed muscles, neck pain gone, and even foot pain (from Plantar Fasciitis) getting better
and my mind doesn’t worry so much.
I suppose I concentrate more in today rather than what might happen.
I practice TRE at home now 3 times a week, and it does work.
I would like to thank Claire for her time, patience, and helping me heal myself.
We all have these times in our life, TRE helps so much, the natural way.
Thank you x
TRE is a powerful tool being used across the world to help people of all ages release tension from their bodies.
If you would like to find out more you can explore the TRE section on this site and search the TRE blogs in categories on the right hand side. 🙂
Sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned…
As many of you will know, Hinton has been a big part of my life for the last 16 months (make that 20 if you want to include the 4 months of crazy excitement and preparation from decision day until he actually arrived!!)
The plan was; be a puppy socialiser, and learn everything I can about that experience, then when he goes on to the next stage of his training to be an assistance dog, enjoy perusing my options and consider whether I
- a) want to socialise another puppy
- b) want to get a pet dog
- c) have had enough of dogs through this chapter of life and am happy to move on to life’s next adventure dog free..
As I chose to take time to have a sabbatical from my clinical work, I knew I would need a stop-gap. Hinton was to be my sabbatical ‘project’. (Unbeknownst to me he was actually born on the first day of my sabbatical).
He was a project.
I could write a book about everything I have learnt.
However, this post is not about any of that, it is to let you all know that that plan; my plan, isn’t happening.
Hinton is being withdrawn from the charity’s training program due to the challenges he has with his health. Now, if you are like every other person who I’ve told that to, your next thought will be
‘so are you going to keep him?‘
And there it is.
The question that was SO BIG to me it ground me to a halt for a few days. I’m not exaggerating. To you it may seem strange, but I was overcome by the enormity of the decision… a decision I had never planned on having to make…the life-changing impact of something I had to use my voice to choose what next…
Sometimes life happens to us.
Sometimes we need to use our voice to choose life.
I am grateful to have some people close to me who appreciated the bigness of my decision and gave me space and time to explore it from every angle. If we have experienced trauma of any kind in our past then it can be easy at times like this to take cover in our favourite survival pattern – run away, argue or hide and wait for it all to go away. Have you noticed what you do?
This decision needed to be made, and while I certainly had wisdom enough to put some self-care boundaries around it, to take the time I needed to make it, it had to be made. The decision wasn’t going anywhere. I had to get myself grounded, moving, thinking and processing and listening to my head, my heart, my spirit, my fears and my desires.
These are the things I asked myself to help come to my decision.
- What do I love in life ? What are my core passions, my values, the things that bring me life?
- Does this change support me in being more me or less me?
- Does this change mean I will grow forwards to new or go back to the old?
- Do I feel what I am letting go of, has grown me or shrunk me?
- Will the future I choose to move into grow me or shrink me?
- What about this scares me? (Acknowledging that there is fear or that something is hard, doesn’t mean you don’t do it – you just get more clarity about the root of the fear and power to overcome it).
- Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Or do the positives carry MORE WEIGHT than the negatives?
- Am I ready to be responsible for me and the development of my life?
- Am I ready to choose life?
AND to you..
In case you too are at a fork in the road, be it work, a relationship, or whether or not to keep a dog, hear me, yes it is a big decision. I know whatever you are facing, it’s an important decision. It is important because you are important.
Join me, whether for you it is yes or no, find the courage to choose life 🙂
P.S. Hinton is staying. x