How I recognised my trauma


It literally sounds so dramatic doesn’t it?

We think of a traumatic car crash, or a soldier returning home from combat in a shell-shocked mental state.

In reality trauma doesn’t have to be something as huge as that. Put simply, trauma, is something – anything – which overwhelms the nervous system and psychologically affects or changes you in some way. Giving birth, a close relative dying, being a victim of playground bullies – all of these things can be traumatic.

Prior to 2021 I would have never of classed myself as someone living with trauma.* However, a series of events changed all that and opened my eyes to what trauma is and how it can affect an individual and their life in so many ways.

Living with trauma

Things had been a bit ‘off’ with someone in my life for a number of years. I was used to it. I’d learned to accept their foibles and faux pas as just part of who they were. They offended me sometimes and, looking back with hindsight, occasionally made me feel like poop. But that was just the situation. It could be worse. I should be grateful for what I had, right?

“[they] just looked at me as if I was trying to peddle some bat-shit crazy conspiracy theory.”

Certain, ‘big life’ events shone a spotlight on this relationship. My wedding in particular opened my eyes to some slightly peculiar behaviour. It’s just who they are I shrugged off. Then I got pregnant with my first baby and, again, some things just didn’t sit right. I tried to raise this with the person but didn’t get anywhere. After my first son was born the spotlight was now a full-on set of floodlights shining down on a midnight football match. There was no hiding that this situation just wasn’t normal. I tried to research my way out of it. There had to be a reason why this person treated me the way they did. I queried friends but they weren’t in the same situation and just looked at me as if I was trying to peddle some bat-shit crazy conspiracy theory. I overshared my situation with colleagues and friends, desperately hoping that someone would have the answer. No one did.

I muddled along accepting things for what they were. Never really feeling content, but this was as good as it was going to get, so I guess I should appreciate that. Then my second son came along. My expectations of this person weren’t so high second-time around but still some niggling things arose that if I questioned them were batted away, I mean, obviously they were just joking.

“I stumbled upon a book that had me screaming YES! YES! YES! with every page turn.”

The research continued and I stumbled upon a Facebook support group for people in a similar predicament to me. I joined and as soon as I scrolled through the posts I saw a common theme and one that rang true for me and my situation. I didn’t want to believe it but it just made so much sense. I’d read numerous books over the years to try to understand what was happening but now from a recommendation on the Facebook group I stumbled upon a book that had me screaming YES! YES! YES! with every page turn. It described my situation to absolute perfection. Unfortunately, it also meant that there would be little hope of salvaging the relationship I craved so badly to nurture.

A few months later the relationship imploded in a catastrophic way.

A dealing with trauma bootcamp?

Whether it was fate, or a clever algorithm, shortly afterwards I was introduced to a lady on the internet who specialised in this specific area. She was running a free online bootcamp. I signed up and I learned so much. Not just about the way I had been treated and why, but also about the effect this had had on me. The way my brain used my protector parts to ‘look after me’ when it thought I was in a risky situation. My particular protector part seemed to be migraines and because of my previous situation my brain couldn’t tell the difference between what was really a threat and what was me just doing something different, or just a situation that I needed to get through. This meant I was getting migraines aplenty which was pretty much flooring me and meaning I couldn’t go after the things I so wanted in life. If I tried to push myself, my brain perceived risk and stopped me with a nice migraine complete with aura. Boo hiss.

I learned so much from this fantastic lady’s seven-day bootcamp. I now understood more about the nervous system and for the first time I understood that trauma wasn’t just big things like coming back from war, it can be different things for different people. Just like some of us are scared of spiders and others are scared of snakes, what creates trauma in one person will be a walk in the park for another and vice versa. I cried huge, salty, snotty tears during guided meditations. I started to understand the concept of neuroplasticity and the fact that I could rewire my brain to think differently.

Seeking counselling for trauma

Not long after I had finished this online course I decided to book myself in for counselling. I realised that I was stuck and I needed help. Counselling was hard, really hard. At first I went in talking about the main problem – my relationship breakdown, but counsellors are clever and before long, without saying very much, my therapist had me opening up about other events in my life. It hit me that I had actually been through quite a lot in my, then, 41-years and most of it I’d just had to keep a stiff upper lip and get on with it. Not processing those events – those traumas – had left scars on my mind. Life was dangerous. Bad things happened. My brain wanted me to be safe, so my brain slowed me down with migraines to stop me from getting in any other dangerous situations. “What are you doing?” my brain would scream by way of a foggy head, “why are you taking a risk? This is DANGEROUS! You could get hurt, you could make a fool of yourself. I don’t care if it’s for the betterment of your career. Abort! Abort! Or I’ll make you about with a pesky migraine that means you can’t string a sentence together.”

Talking through those events, those traumas, those scars was painful. There was ugly crying, anger, resentment but at last I was starting to process them.

Getting comfortable with discussing trauma

I tend to talk about trauma with a lower-case T. It’s my way of feeling comfortable with the term. My ‘don’t make a fuss’ upbringing means I still feel awkward talking about having trauma. I likely have CPTSD (the ‘c’ stands for complex and, from my limited understanding, differentiates it from the sort of trauma you would expect a soldier to return from combat with) and I feel even more awkward talking about that. But I also want to break the stigma of these things, and so talk about it I will. Working through all of this is a work in progress and one I will write more about in upcoming blog posts.I’m no expert, but I’m hoping that by sharing my experiences may help others, especially those like me who may only come to realise why they are the way they are later in life.

If any of this resonates for you, please seek someone to talk to. It helps immensely. You might find the following resources useful.


Samaritans –

You can also speak to your GP.

Sending healing thoughts your way. xx

*I’m loathe to use the word ‘traumatised’ as I still struggle with associating with the term ‘trauma’ to a certain degree.

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