Posted: 16:08 on 27-06-17
Lucy was part of the LIFE Recovery pilot trauma group launched in 2016. This is her story.
" I joined the trauma support group [to gain support] for ongoing trauma symptoms that hold me back from fully being myself and living a full life. I can honestly say this has been the best decision I’ve made on my recovery journey.
Having been through a lot of trauma throughout my life I found myself stuck, experiencing flashbacks, nightmares and times of extreme emotional distress and panic. A lot of the time I feel detached from my body, like I’m not really there but somewhere else. I had tried different therapeutic support in the past, but never regained much of myself through these. Having a faith in Jesus helped me through a process of forgiving people in each trauma, but I was still left with the emotions and physical pain being trapped in the body.
Up until this point in my life I haven’t had a safe environment to work through what my younger, broken self couldn’t process. [I’ve experienced] things like violent encounters of a person swinging an axe around, being suffocated, knives being pulled and used as a threat, being pinned down. These memories brought up all the emotions with them as well as the physical pain. When all the significant relationships in life have been abusive, frightening and damaging – feeling safe to build new relationships becomes nearly impossible. Day-to-day life was plagued with symptoms that I’ve learnt are all the unexpressed [emotions]: fear, sadness, anxiety, stress that had been locked into my body in order to survive. At times I lost all connection and sense of who I was. I could spend days hiding under a blanket in the corner of my room as this emotional and mental turmoil took over. I had lost all sense that I would ever do anything more than just survive.
Having tried different therapies and church courses in the past I wasn’t sure what to expect from going [to this group], but went along, hopeful once more that I may find some breakthrough. For the first time in 20+ years I’ve had permission to share the things that have traumatised me. Also there is a power in a group where others not only relate to your experience but become part of the restoration process. Restoring trust in others in a safe, meaningful way feels massively significant in the process of reclaiming my life.
From each session I come away with a better understanding of myself…each week uncovers more memories that were too frightening and painful to process as my younger, broken self. As they come up there is hope that each memory, each fragment of the emotional turmoil may be put in its rightful place. After years of trauma the best part of me has been ‘squashed down’ - kept safe – but disconnected – this group made me realise the fun, life-loving me has not gone forever. That’s given me hope!"
Project Appeal - we need your help!
The LIFE Recovery project is expanding to include trauma focused client work. This will provide six 8-week trauma support courses each year for 6-8 participants on each course. The expansion will also support ongoing assessment with each participant as well as ongoing connection with their support network. This expansion is dependent on funding and requires £12,000 to run for one year. Please be part of this vision to grow this service by donating. Click here to read about the background of the project.