It was Sept 11th 2001 & I woke up in my new home, the YMCA. The sun was shining outside & I was getting very excited about the prospect of starting my new job. Today was my 1st day & it was to start with training. I went to the open window and breathed in a gulp of fresh air & I felt free!
I went with my new colleagues into the training session & then we went for some lunch. After lunch we walked through the foyer of the YMCA where there was a big screen TV and many people stood around it pointing & staring in shock and whispering to each other. Intrigued, I walked over & looked up at the screen & I saw for the first of many times the twin towers of the world trade centre. One of the towers was on fire & as we stood & watched we saw a plane fly into the other tower. I was transfixed in unbelief. Who could do this? How many people were in those buildings? Nobody could survive such an atrocity? Not long after that we saw both towers collapse & I started to cry as I heard the words terrorist attack. For the rest of the day I was in a daze & I couldn’t stop thinking the world is no longer safe, the world has changed today for ever. Like many other people I was shocked by the events I’d seen live on TV.
That night I cried myself to sleep. What I didn’t realise until a lot later was that watching that footage had triggered something in me which would set of a chain of events in my life that eventually would lead to healing. But I had to go through the pain of remembering first. I started to have nightmares, & during the day I saw flashes of events that left me feeling fearful, dirty & guilty. It seemed that the events were happening to me & yet it was as if I was watching them from a distance. I had started to remember the domestic violence, the child abuse I had suffered at the hands of my father.
Eventually, when I was afraid to sleep & when I was exhausted I went to my GP who gave me sleeping tablets & I told my friends who helped me to find counselling. Often I would be left exhausted after the counselling or just couldn’t stop crying & then my friends would sit with me, look after me & hug me. I was very low & at times suicidal & the pattern of nightmares & flashbacks continued for a long time.
After too long, I was diagnosed with complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I had to face the reality that the awful events I was having nightmares & flashbacks about had happened to me!!! I had to face this truth before I could face the memories. I had been abused by my father & I didn’t know for how long & more than that the abuse was now coming to haunt my days & nights. This abuse happened to me & was still happening to me in my nightmares & flashbacks.
During this time my friends helped me, supported me, loved & encouraged me to keep getting the help I needed. They encouraged me that I would get through this. Friends who I had not know for longer than a few months hugged me as I cried after many counselling sessions. I was BELIEVED!!! They reminded me again & again “It was not my fault”, “I had not done anything to deserve this”. They didn’t ask too many questions. They went at my pace & didn’t expect too much from me. They LOVED me!!!
But there was much more to come out, more memories, more understanding of what was going on inside me to come but I’ll tell you about that at another time. Know that if you are in the middle of remembering & healing & counselling there is a light at the end. Keep on walking the journey, you are not alone & you CAN do it.
To find out more about PTSD go to Mind @ http://goo.gl/b5yvlr
Trouble is a part of your life, and if you don’t share it, you don’t give the person you love a chance to love you more. Dinah Shore
Recently I had a great surprise. God surprised me with his healing. He healed me in a way that I never expected. It was healing you wouldn’t see or know about unless you knew me well because it was inner healing. I never imagined I would be healed because it was emotional healing of deep wounds. It happened one day on the way back from a weekly jog. I came to the part of the jog where I have to run down hill and as I came running down the hill I felt as if I was soaring like an eagle on wings. I felt all the fear I felt leave me, a deep fear that I had carried most of my life and it left, it fluttered away like a butterfly and left me with peace and freedom!!! As a Christian I believe only God could have done this healing in me.
The result is I am changed! I feel free, I feel more able to be me than ever before, more cheeky, more funny (so my husband tells me). I feel free and therefore more confident in life. Wow! It’s changed me. I feel I can breathe deeply, instead of short sharp breaths.
As I reflect on how I have been healed, the journey of healing I have experienced I am reminded also that there were many people involved who have loved and supported me through this time. People who walked with me & believed in my healing. I am glad that I chose to share my troubles with them. As without their love and belief I know I wouldn’t have made it this far.
I encourage you to be brave and choose to share your troubles with those you love.
Give them the chance to love you more!
“There is more to us than we know, if we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.” Kurt Hahn
I left home a hurt, broken and destroyed 16yr old, over 20yrs ago and today I write knowing that much of my hurt and pain has been healed. I write knowing that so much of my life has changed and I have so much freedom. I write knowing that now I can breathe and live life instead of living terror.
Trauma has been a word following me around for so long, pain has been my clothing. I have felt vulnerable and exhausted by nightmares and flashbacks. I have relived and remembered so much of the abuse and violence done to me as a child and now I am on the other side. I am no longer defined by the abuse, no longer living in the trauma and nightmare of the aftermath, aftershock of it. I am now living life knowing I have made it through so much. I have survived the abuse and violence itself, I have survived the shame, I have survived the results of abuse and violence. I have learnt to believe in love, trust people. I have learnt that there can be joy and happiness, fun and laughter and I still stand.
Like one who stands after being constantly shaken I stand in disbelief that I am still here. I am me and I am still here!!!
I am free. I have hope and I feel good!!!
Fear no longer holds me captive. He no longer controls my thoughts, my body or actions. He has no say in how I live, who I speak to or how I dress.
I am no longer a lonely hurt little girl now I am a survivor, a wife, and able to love those around me. I am still Hannah, I am able to be more me than ever before. More the fun loving, free spirited, rebellious, loving butterfly, Hannah. I am me but I am also one who lives the struggle, fights for the sake of others, speaking for those who have no voice. That’s what this blog is about. Follow me as I continue to speak about violence against women, freedom of belief, mental health and other themes in my book. Hope you’ll join me on this new part of my journey and enjoy the read…