This is Victoria.
She was often very, very sick.
No-one helped her.
No-one took her to the doctors.
She thought it was all her own fault. She wasn’t strong enough.
She deserved the pain.
And then one day, she almost died.
And everyone said she should have told them she was hurting.
She felt so confused.
It caused unbearable suffering.
She didn’t understand.
She couldn’t understand.
And so, she split.
So it’s a very, very sad picture, full of pain, but it is old pain.
But the thing with CPTSD is that old pain continues to feel like current pain and old dangers continue to feel like current dangers.
Victoria endured an awful lot for such a little one. She’s incredibly brave, but now that she is being listened to, she is scared to stop shouting her message of “WE ARE SICK, WE NEED HELP, WE MIGHT DIE”.
But in truth, her pain and her illnesses are now being treated and noticed and cared for.
But in DID, the wounded parts still NEED to express how they feel. And be heard. That is the only way we can hope to put those feelings back where they belong – in our past.
Doing this helps us learn that we have the choice to never let bad things like this happen to us again. Because now, I look after me. And I get better at doing it every day.
I KNOW when I’m sick and when I’m in pain and how to ask for help. I’m not always perfect at it, but I’m learning. And importantly, each time I ask for help, I GET the help I need.
Last week Victoria spoke to my therapist for the first time was a HUGE step for us. One that has had a wonderful impact on my life and my feelings about my future.
For anyone struggling with similar feelings, if you feel safe to, try to access the parts that are feeling this pain. Let them express themselves (stream of consciousness writing and intuitive art are excellent techniques for this).
Doing this will be painful, I can guarantee that. Please don’t try it if you feel unsafe it has taken me a lot of work and slow progression to be strong enough to do it safely. And even then, I mostly need my therapist’s help. But if you do try it, it may help you process your pain. And I believe that the reason for that is that by re-experiencing it with an adult understanding and self-compassion, you are honouring and acknowledging it.
All pain needs to be processed in order for healing to happen. When we are too little to do that processing and no-one helps us, we split.
But we can still heal.
And it hurts like hell.
And it often gets a lot worse before it gets better.
But it does get better.
But it’s worth it for a chance to live rather than just survive.
Art Journal Sketch Series. Watercolour Pencil on Paper.
© Katy Matilda Neo 2018.