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Book. Introduction to ‘Survive and thrive after trauma’.
Subtitle“A personal account of life’s journey when alcoholism, (almost) divorce & death shatter the path.”
This book begins with the story of two people who started married life together in the time when it wasn’t chucked away after a couple of arguments though I doubt the players assumed it would end the way it did.
The main purpose of the book is to give hope, inspiration and energy to those doubting a positive future. So that you can
• believe and accept that life may change out of all recognition, and for the better.
• imagine a joy just ahead of you: baby steps taking you there.
• permit and allow yourself to heal.
It is not meant to cover all bases. I do not suggest one size fits all. This book will be scattered with signs, scattered with humour and warmth.
So why am I writing this book? I always knew I had this book inside me. The one I assumed would always stay there, tucked inside.
I could choose to stay safe. Not allow this book to be available to the discerning, critical and vast public. Hold it inside.
The last statement is important and relevant.
If it stays ‘inside’ what is the benefit of that? There is no benefit because negative memories and emotions are potentially damaging to our mental and physical health.
Vitally I believe I have something of value to share.
• a wound or injury
• an emotional shock producing a lasting effect upon a person.
I am writing about the latter. I chose the simplest definition I could find. I intend this book to be simple to read and to understand.
To thrive after an emotional trauma requires a form of action to remedy an unpleasant incident or memory. You have to choose to take action. You will see the word and the suggestion to choose on several occasions.
‘Choose and Choice’. These words are fundamental to my work within Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) based therapy. I believe many people do not appreciate or realise that there is always a choice how we live or continue to live our life.
No one can take that choice from us. It is in our hands.
I also believe it is wrong to expect others to always be there to help us with our mess. Sadly it doesn’t matter whether the mess was in no way, shape or form our fault. We only gain strength when we have managed to recover from it ourselves.
In 2001 my comfortable, although not always harmonious life started to feel decidedly unpleasant and unattractive. By early 2003 it was stunningly altered beyond all recognition.
The journey and decision to write my book was actually quite sudden. The complete laziness which I had always assumed was the reason for not sharing (or airing dirty linen) was turned on its head. The time was right. Quite suddenly or be it The Law of Attraction I attended Stephanie Hale’s Millionaire BootCamp for Authors.
On day three of the event I reported home that I had failed to save any money that day. I had invested in a programme to help me write my first book. To me the decision was a complete ‘no brainer’.
• I had this book inside me.
• It was really starting to hold me back.
• I knew I could do it.
• I wanted it done and out of the way.
So who am I to think I can offer hope, encouragement, belief to others? Who am I indeed!
I choose to quote from ‘Our Deepest Fear’ by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?
So who am I? I am an Emotional Wellbeing Practitioner and work in the field of Energy Psychology.
I work primarily with EFT and Matrix ReImprinting. Also known as ‘psychological acupuncture’ or ‘the tapping therapy’. I use these techniques to relieve stress and anxiety and to clear deeply hidden negative beliefs. The aim is to increase confidence levels allowing life to appear easier.
I may suddenly become humorous at inappropriate times. Humour is necessary as laughter can move us out of deep dread or distress.
There is a great funeral scene in the film ‘Steel Magnolias’.
http://www.starpulse.com/Movies/Steel_Magnolias/Great_Film_Moments/ I laughed, cried, gasped in surprise; many emotional reactions within that sequence.
Humour, a reality check call it what you will can be vital if we are affected by trauma or upset. Otherwise we become self- obsessed, over indulgent and feel sorry for ourselves for far too much of the time.
That said it is hard to forget traumatic events one has experienced. However it is not a prerequisite to life’s path that we are bound by them. With the life experience I am sharing it is quite hard to forget or block events when you have children. You have a constant reminder.
My daughter questioned that statement when she read my first draft. My belief is that in the early years after 2003, perhaps I could have booted those bad memories ‘into touch’ if I did not have my children. I could have tried to block the nasty stuff. But my son, daughter and I were all in this together. In time we would choose to address our pain in our own individual way. I now prefer and choose to remember the good times: the healthier choice!
You will see words written in bold. These words have their own place of importance in the Resources Section. Emotion drives us. I aim to give acceptable meaning to these emotive words and to portray how emotive feelings may keep you in a place of negativity. To move forward positively in life you need to release these emotions. Let them go.
So why might this book be of benefit to you or to someone you know?
• A big trauma to one person is a small trauma to another.
• A small trauma to one person is a big trauma to another.
Trauma is very personal.
During a tea break whilst writing I turned on the radio and received a sign. The Four Tops were singing ‘Reach Out, I’ll Be There’. Some interesting words in that song. It’s about gremlins and self-doubt.
I worried that I may hurt a small number of people by writing this book. Three of them are the most important people in my life. I feel an area of responsibility. In this case, I most definitely should be aware of a responsibility. This has not stopped me. I will not be using the important people’s names. This is unfortunate as I believe it suggests a lack of warmth around the book, but privacy is vital.
Fundamental is the understanding that we are only responsible to ourselves. Illness, death, divorce, whatever ghastly situation befalls, we adults are only responsible to and for ourselves. We cannot be responsible for the actions of others. And … we should not expect others to be responsible for us.
I am not permitting self-sabotage to stop me. By that I mean the feelings which make you or me nervous or anxious.
• The ‘Should I do this? Oh, best not do it.’
• ‘A silly idea: who am I to think I can accomplish this?’
• Or worse still: ‘They’ll all laugh at me.’
Interestingly after I had finished the first draft I suffered a trapped nerve in my right elbow. I am right handed. This could have been a sign to:
• Stop and forget the whole thing!
• Take a rest from writing and welcome quiet and clarity to do a proper job.
I chose Number 2. I trust that my loved ones will understand.
Key lessons learned from my lovely and generous contributors are shared for your benefit. They have been wounded by life but are now thriving. Take their positive message, embrace it, feel it, believe it.
Emotional pain can still be seen as weakness: ‘Put on a brave face. It will be better soon.’ I prefer to say that a quiet cry or a roaring of rage can be truly beneficial. Too many suffer in silence … or is this really just a British thing? I welcome your comments. www.surviveandthriveaftertrauma.com
Now to Chapter 1, The Golden Years.