Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Trauma Alchemist - finding healing, wellbeing and post traumatic growth

Welcome to the blog of the Trauma Alchemist.

People don’t automatically get better from difficult experiences: growth often occurs when we reflect on what’s happened to us and when we challenge our core beliefs as a result of what’s happened. We want to provide a space for other people to find a pathway to self-compassion. To become the Alchemist of their own lives by using the symptoms of their trauma as a gateway to healing. This is not about purging a traumatic experience from our very essence, although grief and mourning have very important parts to play, more about gently holding our tender wounding and caring for it in a more intimate, expansive way. 

We are working in the community in South Devon and we:

  • are offering community gatherings with a warm, welcoming atmosphere - a safe place in which to share from the heart.  
  • will be heard and held and hear and hold.  
  • want to collaborate and explore innovative approaches and trauma sensitive tools, therapies and techniques.  
  • want to create a more trauma informed approach to health care and maternity services. 
  • are raising awareness about birth trauma and perinatal PTSD as this is creating emotional, psychological and physical health challenges for Mothers, Partners, Babies and Children and in terms of relationships, bonding and attachment if left undiagnosed and unsupported.
  • want to support new parents as a growing community of elders - which is something we feel our society really needs.

So if you are looking to dig a little deeper into your life and into the foundations of your narrative, your personal evolution on this planet in the context of your life experiences, traumas and feelings of overwhelm then this is the right space for you be heard and held. When I had a near miss birth trauma, I didn't feel held or heard. I felt lost and abandoned. Isolated.  I personally carried on for 17 years without really realising how profoundly dissociated I had become from my body and how I had lost a lot of myself along the way.

I was profoundly affected by the traumatic birth of my son.  So was my husband and so was my son who too was battered, bruised and barely alive.  He is 19 now and I give thanks every day that he and I made it.  I hadn't realised until very recently that I had undiagnosed perinatal PTSD and by this time my body was screaming at me to pay attention and listen  Does this sound familiar to you too? Yet no-one has ever asked me about the birth.  How my body felt like it was being raped by a giant set of salad servers... (the NHS term for forceps) and how I also felt that the 12 or so people (including my husband) that were in the delivery suite with me were watching this happen and not doing anything to help.  Who says that this is OK? 

I have been on my own journey since this happened in 1998. Once I came out of being frozen and shut down (which is a whole other story!) I have travelled with confusion, sadness, grief, rage, shame, feeling like a failure all whilst maintaining my Super-Mum armoury! It hasn't been pretty!  It has, at times, been scary and isolating. I am here to share my learning and insights about how trauma can be truly transformative and how, by listening to our bodies and practising self-care, we can release the trauma and hold ourselves and our experience with loving kindness and compassion.  I am also passionate about trauma-informed approaches to care and supporting medical professionals to understand and care more about our unique trauma histories and personal narrative.

Come along to one of our gatherings, email or give me a call.
If you or anyone you know anyone who has experienced or witnessed birth trauma - meaning that they themselves feel it was overwhelming or traumatic or where it was a birth that was described by health care professionals as a near miss, emergency/assisted delivery that required physical intervention (ventouse/vacuum, forceps) or caesarian section, then please share our contact details.  We are here for you.  We are holding storytelling/talking circles and are available on Skype and Facebook (Julie Horsley).

The Trauma Alchemists can be found in Teignmouth, South Devon and work across the South West of the UK and over Skype.  

Julie - Call or Text 07976 646392 or email and Skype Weaver of Wellbeing

The Alchemy of Trauma - Part One - Learning to trust myself again

Hey.  Hello.

I am glad you found me.

Where do I start?  Well, where I am now I guess. It is almost 20 years since what I would call my big trauma.  THE Trauma.  The one where I forgot who I was. Though now I know that so much had happened already in my childhood and teens that were the foundations of the Big T. The Big T was the precursor for several other Big T's. 

Mmmm... that seems to be what happens a lot of the time.  The intervals between traumatic events get shorter and shorter.  What at the time seems like a mysterious acceleration of traumas and overwhelm. Now what and how it happened all seems to make so much sense. Weirdly. Sometimes I ask myself what if I had made different choices.  What then?  Catching myself thinking these thoughts, I remember being kind to myself and accepting all that is. It has been a slow and, yes, painful journey at times.  Delving deep into unfathomable darkness. Searching for safety. Remembering who I am. 

Being able to hold myself and make meaning. Transmuting the experiences and suffering and yes, reframing what happened to me whilst at the same time accepting that there are some things I don't know, will never know.  They will be the mysteries and that is OK. I can hold this space. 

I was shut down for so, so long.  Not knowing.  Not realising.  Not even aware that I was rigid, frozen.  In desperate need of thawing.  Mine has been a drip, drip, drip of a thaw.  No taking out of the freezer and putting myself on fast defrost.  Oh no!  My body knew.  It hasn't let me down. They don't you know. By 2008 it was screaming at me to pay attention and, sigh, finally I did.  I found people with whom I felt safe to explore my brokenness.  My denial.  My abandonment.  My distrust. My first experience was during transformational breath.  Through the caring facilitation, I made contact with something that felt so much bigger than me.  With an all encompassing light source that, at that very moment, shifted my perspective.  It was breathtakingly orgasmic energy in the truest sense.  I thought I wouldn't ever stop crying. Or howling.  Or screaming.  It felt like rage with no label. Shame with no name.  Anger - the healthy kind.  All the most intimate corners of my being were sparked into a state of aliveness I had not felt since I was a child.  I was deeply humbled and grateful. 

This was the start of my personal alchemy. Bringing that which was hidden or exiled back onto the dance floor of my life for a most gentle of waltzes.  Slowly titrated, deeply personal, individual rememberance and reverance for sacred embodiment.   I started a love affair with myself for the first time in my life.  My whole being started to feel alive again. I was releasing the contracted, armoured self, sensing again and getting radical realisations that can shake me to my very core. Of long-suppressed grief, shame, guilt, disgust. Other worldly disturbances. Visions. Starting to gain clarity over so much of my own story and that of others.  Loved ones. Family. Generations. An evolutionary narrative. My purpose was here all the time.  Embedded in my timestream.  My story is my purpose.  My story of the Alchemy of Trauma and how it has shaped my story.  My choices.  My life. Transmuted into wisdom to share, as an Elder, with others..

Radical generosity

I have felt like I have been tested time and time again by life.  Recently, though, it has peaked! Sometimes it has meant that I feel incr...