I walked home from the dentist a few weeks ago feeling hurt and angry.
It’s a feeling I’m familiar with; and I know how to deal with it. I put on some music and I spent 30 minutes on the swings* in the local park until a child arrived to play. Then I came home and had a large glass of vanilla milkshake.
* This is called “self-care”, by the way.
I know the emotion well. It’s the feeling of being judged by someone who knows nothing about me. And it’s a really big trigger of anger in me.
Ellie wrote a post a few weeks ago about how she wants to include more of her story in her blog; the links between the theories she uses and her life experiences. As I walked home, I had a similar feeling. I wish it was acceptable to include my story in my life.
I hate how ‘inappropriate’ and stigmatised sharing life experience is.
When I am judged for having panic attacks, or for not liking needles… when people say that “everyone else does it” about something I don’t like doing, as if I’m the same as them… It upsets me, and it infuriates me.
Because I know the power of having reason.
When you have a reason, when you can explain you actions ~ understanding, compassion and acceptance arrive.
The Power of Explanation
That girl who has panic attacks when people get too close to her? She’s not being “overly sensitive” or “a weakling”. Let’s say she was violently raped.
Would people maybe be more understanding if they knew?
That man who just cut you up on the road. He’s terrified of driving because he was in a car crash as a child; and his mother died from the injury. But he needs to drive to the hospital to see his dying wife.
When we can gift someone with an explanation, we can connect with them as human beings, having human experiences… and we can be understand, kind and accepting.
~ *** ~
As I write this, I’m angry because I can’t tell that man about my experiences. I can’t tell him that I was in hospital unable to eat, drink, or breathe properly. That each time I fell asleep, I began drowning in my own saliva. So no, Mr Dentist. I CAN’T let you cut off my airway. That throat has been traumatised and my reflex will not allow for this.
~ *** ~
We live in a society where being abused means being ASHAMED. Where being a kind person with a heart is “being weak” or “too sensitive”. Where if X can do it, anyone else her age and education level can.
I’m lucky I apply for jobs in mental health: where personal experience is a positive; where I can answer “when did you deal with an emotionally stressful situation well?” I can say “when a patient completed suicide hours after I told her I couldn’t help.”
I live in a society where I am told to “get over” my trauma. But that would mean I couldn’t be human, couldn’t care for others in the way I do now, and I couldn’t let life enrich me. I wouldn’t be LIVING if I didn’t experience and have those experiences change me,
I live in a society where I am told to “get over” my trauma.
And I’m saying No.
What are your experiences?
Do you have trauma you can’t tell people about?
Do you believe it’s right that we shouldn’t tell our stories?
Next time you don’t understand someone’s actions – could you gift them with a reason?
– Rose –