Understanding Trauma – learning to understand me

I was fortunate enough to have gotten a place on some training called “Trauma-Informed Care” I attended the one day course this week and quite frankly I could do more training on it. When I thought about the word trauma, I would always associate it with something bad, like abuse, rape or neglect something I personally haven’t experienced, but with the client group I work with I was keen to learn more, little did i realise that from that one day training I would come to learn more about myself.

Definition of trauma

‘Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening and that it has lasting long term effects on the individual’s functioning and physical, social, emotional or spiritual well-being

(SAMHSA, 2012)

In fact what I learned from the training was that there are different degrees of trauma and that you didn’t have to have been raped, attacked or neglected, there are many other subtle forms of trauma that can build over time from childhood that can affect, shape how you perceive your own world and how you react to certain situations in later on in life.

We covered (not in enough detail though, hence my desire to learn more) different theories, attachment, insecure attachment, adverse childhood experiences, how this can affect the brain, how this affects and impacts on our levels of tolerance and resilience, something I have spoken about in previous posts we all get stretched emotionally and have even snapped at some point in our lives. The fact is that some people are more flexible and adaptable to change in certain circumstances than others (and that’s not a negative neither) that not all of us are the same, take two people and one experience they will both respond and react differently and that’s OK!

Attending the training served to affirm my existing belief that we are all unique, never one the same, whilst there will always be similarities, some stronger than other’s we are ALL uniquely our own person and whilst we all need a shoulder to rely on, some guidance from others who may have walked on the same path as us, we all wear our own shoes and you and I have to work out our own shit for ourselves – whether we like it or not.

Some people don’t like this statement “We are responsible for our own feelings and emotions”, it is so easy to blame someone else, but in order to take responsibility, we have to learn to firstly understand why and how we tend to deal with certain situations in our lives and ask ourselves and explore the why’s?

Why did I turn to drugs?

hy did I depend on unhealthy relationships?

Why did I act up as a kid?

Why do I doubt myself?

Why do i have a tendancy to procrastinate?

Until we understand the why’s, can we then start to accept and come to terms with who we have become and start working on who we want to be?

Right that’s enough refelction for one day 🙂

Love Fordy

The experts are the people we are trying to help

I was in London yesterday at a national meeting to discuss how using diverted giving schemes could help reduce homelessness. I left the meeting feeling uneasy, frustrated so much so here i am still sat reflecting. There were many around the table who were pretty well educated, but only two including myself who had any actual REAL life LIVED experience. I get it that services need money to operate in order to deliver some essential services, but what really gets my goat is sometimes there is a view that more resources = more results, conversations focused on if we

Provide a roof over their heads, then we can get them off the streets!

Provide them with scripts then we can get them off drugs !

Provide them with training, we can get them jobs!

A lot of these people who are vulnerable who we are talking about have developed coping strategies that don’t quite fit nicely with the social norm, they have developed coping strategies based on past personal experiences. They take drugs to block shit out, they prefer the streets than the prospect of dealing with the responsibility of managing a tenancy, they resist help because they have been let down before, whether that be by the system, families, their up bringing, the coping strategies that they had developed have been developed over years and sometimes will not be resolved by providing a roof over their head, getting them clean from drugs or getting them a fucking job.

People talked about diverted giving campaigns ya know like sponsor a donkey, pay five pounds per month and you can get regular updates on how your donkey is getting on, are people actually going to go down that route!!! I mean are people seriously considering this option? a marketing ploy to get donations out of people to fund essential services? isnt that just another word for BEGGING?

Adopt or sponsor a rough sleeper?, adopt or sponsor a drug addict? REALLY?

What these people really need is time, a safe space away from all the external shit and time to almost deprogram themselves, with guidance, of course, but this is a longer-term strategy the government are fucking deluded if they think by throwing 40 million amount of funding to local areas is going to eradicate people sleeping rough by 2027. now i am not saying it wont help, don’t get me wrong, but its gonna take more than money to help our societies most vulnerable, we need a change in attitude.

Some of those sat around the table yesterday was essentially marketers using the meeting as an opportuntiy to sell their own products and ideas, with claims that their way will attract funding to solve the problem. If someone helps get someone off the streets ‘they have succeeded’ if someone gets someone off drugs “they have succeeded” if someone gets someone a job “they have succeeded” but it’s not the charities who have succeeded or who can claim the success stories, it’s the fucking people themselves! 

People aren’t fucking robots, they are complex beings with their own unique varying challenges and to for some individuals to make claims assume that one person or one organization can solve all the issues and problems of some of the societies most vulnerable individuals are fucking deluded. 

No-one except myself is ever going to make a claim to my “success” or my “achievements” YES there were some people who helped and guided me along the way, they were vital, but ultimately it was me who took a risk and made the change’s and no one will take that away from me. 

So you can fuck off with your degrees and research projects, you are fucking playing at it, people will always respond better when they are listened to when they feel heard when people make time for them, no amount of scripts, roofs or jobs can replace human connection, however human connection takes time and 8 years ain’t long enough in my humble opinion.

Rant over, offload over, reflection time over, grounding myself in what i believe achieved, for today at least

Jealousy ain’t Pretty

Off to London today, and I thought i would share an excerpt from the book with you..

We didn’t have any regular contact arrangements with Dad and Pat his new bird, I remember we occasionally we would have tea around at hers, dad wasn’t always there, I always felt unwelcome, like a spare part, in her home, even though she never gave any real cause to feel uncomfortable and was always nice to me and my sister, it was always there. And when dad was around he always seemed to favor and fuss over her sons rather than us (I supposed they were the sons he never had!). Dad was hard to talk to, he wasn’t interested in us, he took no interest in how school was going? precious our lives in general, always leaving me feeling like we were never enough, always feeling that we were just two annoying kids that got in the way. He’d talk and have banter with the boys about football and girls, laughing at their latest antics, but never interested in what me and Sarah had been up to. It got too disheartening at times, my heart would sometimes physically ache for the same kind of attention that was always reserved for Pat and her boys. 

There was one time that me and Sarah had sleep over at Pats house. We had been at her house hanging around with the local kids all day one evening Dad and Pat were going out to the local pub leaving me, Sarah and Stephen in the maisonette alone, we were playing darts on dads darts board in the dining room. There was music on in the background and the night was going great until Stephen dropped the bombshell that Dad was planning on taking him, his brother and his mother away on holiday abroad later that year. Like what the fuck!

I remember feeling extremely jealous, after all the furthest I had ever been on holiday was to the coast to Cleethorpse or Skeg Vegas on a caravan holiday with mom and adrian, (not that I was ungrateful or anything) but I already envied all my friends who went abroad for their summer holidays and now I was being told Dad was taking them away, it didn’t help neither that dad had NEVER taken us away before and now he was talking another woman kids? I felt the rage and feelings of hurt engulf me as Stephen bragged about where they were going, what they would be doing, the water parks, the sun, of course I made out I wasn’t bothered, but he was on a roll (he probably didn’t realise it was such a big deal) and he wouldn’t shut up rubbing it in, it felt like salt was being rubbed into an open wound! Like an elastic band being stretched to its full capacity, I snapped and in one split second I had gone from having a friendly game of darts to stabbing him on the top of his arm with one of me dads darts! I didn’t know where it came from, (well I did) I had never felt the need to use a weapon before other than my fist, all I know is that it worked, (well it shut him up bragging about the holiday at least). Our Sarah just stood there stunned, speechless as he fled the room crying, heading straight to the phone at the bottom of the stairs to call his mom at the pub to snitch on me. 

At the time I didn’t feel sorry for him at all, in fact, all I could think was ahhhh sharrap ya little puff He got off the phone to his mom, who must have told him to go straight to his room and wait there until her and dad came home, he placed the receiver on the phone and in between his sobbing and climbing the stairs, he shouted behind him “I would never be welcome in his house after this”. I felt no guilt at all about my violent outburst, I mean the dart didn’t even really go that deep, it wasn’t like he was losing blood or owt, it was a fucking pin prick for crying out loud! If I could have gone home then I would have, but it was too late for us to be going home (I did briefly consider running away, but decided I had best stay put and await my fate) so me and Sarah went to bed and waited until dad and pat came home.

They couldn’t have come home straight away, because I had felt asleep, into a deep sleep, I remember being woken by lots of shouting and screaming, at first I thought I was back at home, but then I heard  Stephen crying in the background and remembered where I was, I had flash backs to what I had done earlier, now wincing to myself acknowledging that perhaps I might have gone too far this time?

I heard someone coming up the stairs, I was shitting myself, fuck me I was in for it now, I lay in bed waiting to get a pasting of a life time, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Dad came into the room and said to me “what’s gone off?”  I remember bursting into tears, but trying at the same time to compose myself (as dad didn’t do crying) I was scared shitless that I was going to feel the wrath of dad, dad had never hit me before, he never had too, his angry voice alone sent shivers throughout my body and just the thought of those hands like shovels giving me a pasting could send me into meltdown. I told dad what had happened and why I had stabbed Pats precious son and tried justifying myself saying it was only a pin pick, it’s not like he needed stitches or owt! 

Rather than get angry, give me a slap, or shout dad calmly said to melisten, ignore what he said about the holiday he then chuckled telling me “not to worry about it and to go back to sleep, he’d sort it” For one moment it seemed like he was actually proud of me opposed to being angry, which was a first! He then stroked my head, before turning to leave the bedroom, silently closing the door behind him. I can still recall the relief that washed over me as I laid in bed, but what I remember more is the feeling that I had done dad proud.

I listened as dad descended the stairs, then I heard Stephen climbing back up them sobbing quietly before going into his bedroom and closing his door. There were a few raised muffed voices between Dad and Pat, and then the front door slammed and then there was nothing, just a deathly silence. 

The next morning when I woke, I was not looking forward to going downstairs meeting last nights victim nor his mother Pat, who would surely hate me after this! And there was nothing to say that dad might have had a change of heart once he’d sobered up from the night before, so I knew I wasn’t out off the woods just yet! I recall the moment I walked into the dining room, Pat was sat there at the table alone with her back to me, (I was already dressed and ready to leave)  but I knew I would have to apologise first and even try and explain my actions, after all she had never done anything wrong to me (well, apart from shagging me dad) and it wasn’t her fault her son was a puff! I did wonder if after my actions whether or not she might never let me in the house again and if she didn’t, I couldn’t have really blamed her, but it would mean that I would see less of dad.

She was sat wrapped in her dressing gown, having a fag,  upon hearing the door she turned her head slightly,  saying “good morning?” Nice as pie, as if nothing had ever happened the night before, she didn’t seem angry at all, in fact she was quite the opposite, her tone was really friendly. I took this as a good sign and went to take the seat next to her to try and explain why I really stabbed her son, would she understand that it wasn’t because I hated him,? it was because I was jealous? Dad had never taken us on holiday? Would she understand? 

As I took my seat and Pat lifted her face, I had only seen one side, when she turned full on the other side of her face, was black and swollen, the bridge of her nose which was once small and petite was now swollen beyond recognition, her nose looked broken, there were remnants of blood from the night before encrusted on the inside of her nostrils. I was stunned, speechless, I didn’t know what to say apart from “god what happened?” She tried telling me that she had fallen coming up the stairwell the night before, but it wasn’t anything to worry about “Actually it looked worse than it was”  Now where had I heard that line before? 

I remember thinking, nothing to fucking worry about? Pat, you look friggin deformed! Have you seen your face? She didn’t mention anything about what happened between me and her son Stephen the previous night, it was like nothing had never happened, it was weird, she was weird, her face was disfigured, her once pretty face was deformed and would take weeks to heal. I instinctively knew in the pit of my stomach that dad had done this! Then the guilt quickly engulfed me. This was my fault, this was because of what I did last night? Dad you didn’t have to hit her for fuck’s sake! It was only a pin prick and it was her son, not her? She hadn’t done anything wrong. 

So why had dad hit her?

It’s ok to do you

Hi, guys, it’s been a while – its the end of a full week of being back at work today, I am feeling a lot better physicallu and mentally health wise, i have been writing a lot, which has been cathartic but also requires a lot of reflection and more importantly making time for good honest quality refection time. I am pleased to announce that after sharing my first four chapters of the book with two people who I had entrusted them to, I got my first ever feedback and critique on the book to date. 

This was a BIG deal for me, especially as one of them is already a successful published author and it wasn’t as bad as I first thought it would be. I am feeling pretty chuffed as I have downloaded this chart that helps you map your daily writing, I have transferred all my chapters to date onto an online site called Trello that sets out each chapter, including a heading and a summary of the content. I am now working on chapter 8 – Exploring the Valley (as in Gleadless Valley, the estate I grew up in)

So here’s todays refelctions taken from my personal diary

It’s not a secret that I am pretty opinionated, particularly when I comes to how we as individuals have to take total responsibility for our own lives this includes our own feelings, how we act or  how we react, the decisions we make, the directions we chose to take which ultimately (fingers crossed) carry us to our final destination or goal what ever that may be. 

For me, the destination the goal that I strive for or I would even goes a far to say “crave for” is not all about the destination, but more about the journey. I have written about this previously, about easy it can be soooo easy to lose our footing, to lose that sense of wellbeing, that feeling of contentment, that feeling of being satisfied, satisfied with our lot (what ever that looks like for each of us). 

When starting out this page, blog I genuinely had no aspirations other than to use this as a platform to off load my thoughts, observations on life, someone asked the other day “How many people do you have subscribed to your site” and my simple answer was “I don’t care about how many people see my blogs/post/rants/offloads because this isn’t about anyone else, this is about ME I keep a personal journal and I could choose to keep all of the nonsense shit that goes through my head private, but by keeping it private or feeling ashamed to share only serves to reinforce the narrative out there in society that its not ok to not be ok!” And that my friend is what I passionately believe is wrong and unjust!

Because it IS ok to have a shit day at work, it is ok that you don’t feel 100% ALL of the time, it is ok that we sometimes feel crap about ourselves, question ourselves, doubt ourselves, it’s ok that sometimes we might get frustrated or angry #Shithappens

Sometimes I might not get involved in things I do care about because I recognise that simply caring about something, caring about someone else for example doesn’t mean I can always make a difference or change and thats ok too.

It’s ok not to get involved in all the debates about the injustices that take place across the world every friggin second of the day, 24 hours, 7 days a week, 360 days a year, because if I got involved in EVERYTHING I do care about, I run the risk of caring too much “does that make sense?” If I focused too much on the things I cannot change I would feel very sad, feel permanently defeated, feel permanently deflated and generally not a happy person. I am slowly learning on this journey I call life that giving and caring too much about things you cannot change can inadvertently hurt you more. 

SO going back to my original as of November 2018, it was estimated that there are over 7.7 Billion humans currently living on this planet, thats not including animals, now thats a lot of fucking caring.

So just for today I chose to care about me and I’m not ashamed to own that statement I chose to not be ashamed or admitting that I cannot change everything or others around me, I am not ashamed to say that sometimes I fail at not caring about myself as much as I could, because it’s 

It’s ok to not be ok

It’s ok to say “I’m doing me” 

It’s ok to say no