Normalizing Trauma

Trauma is a very human experience. You can’t live on planet earth and not experience trauma at some point in your life. And the longer your life is the more likely it is that you will experience trauma. There’s different levels of trauma. There is a trauma that is emblazoned on your mind and triggers feelings of panic and depression. And then there are types of lesser traumas that trigger grief sadness or a mild sense of melancholy. These lesser traumas will not leave you in bed for weeks at a time or contemplating suicide like PTSD level trauma. Lesser traumas are the blues, they are the times when you remember something or sometime that hurt you.

As we go through life we either seek help and healing or we push down our traumas deeper and deeper into ourselves until they morph into an illness we didn’t see coming or become a state of permanent melancholy diagnosed as depression and treated with a pill. The important thing about trauma is to recognize it. In all it’s forms it must be recognized, it must be spoken about, it must be brought into the light, and it must be healed. According to Dr. Bessel van der Kolk MD, in his book The Body Keeps the Score, trauma is stored in the body. Only by releasing it from the body are we able to find healing.

The other interesting thing about diving into your trauma work is the reality that your family lineage also holds ancestral trauma, trauma from wars, traumas from sudden deaths, traumas from loss so terrible that they have left a ripple of pain running through your family that shows itself as alcoholism, domestic violence, drug abuse, isolation, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, and even the total avoidance of love, of feeling or interaction with others. Not being seen and not being heard is one of the cruelest forms of child abuse and yet millions of children suffer at the hands of parents completely incapable of feeling.

When we recognize the trauma that we are holding, when we honor it, we subsequently normalize it so it is no longer the skeleton in the closet ready to jump out and disrupt our lives. When we realize that nobody on this planet is playing the victim, and that hurt people hurt people, then we can open our hearts and extend love to even those individuals who seem so bent on trying to create pain. Find forgiveness for yourself and all people, practice self compassion, find a good trauma therapist who will help you uncover your pain and heal it. And honor your path. It wasn’t easy to get where you are but good or bad, you made it.

We are all humans having a human experience in a world that is very difficult to traverse. Let’s normalize mental health issues, let’s really talk about how we’re doing instead of always playing at “JUST FINE .” Let’s normalize the beauty and pain of living. Let’s do this hard thing together.

All my love goes to you as you walk this world. I am your sister in this moment and every other,

E. E. Orme

Why We Help

IMG_1561_1

I recently had an enlightening exchange with my psychiatrist. We were talking about the nature of love and mothering. I’m a mother hen and always have been and the question was, why do I do it? What do I get out of looking after people? Our conversation went something like this.

 

Doc-“So, what do you get out of it? What’s the payoff for wearing yourself out caring for others?”

Me-“I guess I help people because I think life is hell and we need help to get through it.”

Doc-“We are animals. We make life a misery for ourselves and others. Coyote’s don’t help each other, neither do bears or lions. Why should people help each other? Why do you help?”

Me-“I help because I know we are sentient animals. We are aware. It is our spiritual duty as aware animals to seek God and to help everyone, every day of our lives. I feel it’s our prime directive to seek peace and love and to help everyone we can.”

Doc-“We are sentient animals but most people only live for themselves. People go to church and they do their charity work and they help but it’s usually because it makes them feel good, or it makes them feel a part of something. Spirituality and religion are no more synonymous than ape is to human. Not many people put others before personal investment. Most people are self-orientated.”

 

When I was young, I remember feeling a sort of narcissistic glow when I helped someone. I remember feeling like a good person for just a moment. Helping made me feel good about myself. But it’s been many years since my feeling good came into the equation of, “why I help.” Honestly, I believe it’s motherhood that changed me. After fourteen-years of giving, it’s become an unconscious act. I love people. They don’t have to be family, I just love them. They don’t have to be good or perfect to receive my love. We are all animals wandering through the same shit show together but what matters is that we are conscious animals. So, support your neighbor, help your friend, help a stranger, give money to Meals on Wheels, and protect school lunches. Help peacefully protect our human rights, civil liberties, and personal dignity. We know what is right and what is wrong. That’s why it is our absolute duty to help one another get through each day. No one gets out of here alive so let’s at least get through it together.

Love and Bless,

  1. E. Orme

The One I Loved Best: Part 6 of Rain on a Cloudless Day

baby nursery
I remember the day my sister was born. Everyone says I can’t but I do. The day Sis was born began in Holy Cross hospital. I feel Granma take my hand as I wave goodbye to my daddy who is dressed in green hospital clothes just like a doctor. Time slips by like empty space before the next memory returns in the form of a brown and yellow flower patterned blanket spread over a bed. At two and a half I am too small to see over the edge. Daddy lifts me and I see Mommy looking tired and alone, the baby I’d expected is strangely gone.

More time passes from memory in empty waiting until I am standing under a glass window crisscrossed with diamond patterned lines. I feel my white fur coat gathering around me as my father’s hands take hold of my waist and he lifts me and points. “Not that one, no…not that one either.” He is pointing at babies in glass boxes behind a glass wall. “That one.” He says and waives at the nurse who walks to my sister and holds her up. I can already see her red hair peeking out from under the cap they’ve placed on her head. In that moment I love her. It’s not the passing love one feels for a pet or a doll but a blinding, body breaking, all consuming love that I can’t imagine I’ll ever feel again. In that moment I know that she will be my world and I love her, I just love her.

The home coming takes a week. I see Mommy from time to time and I see the baby they call Alexandria. Sometimes she is in Mommy’s arms, sometimes she’s in the glass box behind the glass wall. I want to hold her, kiss her and hug her but I’m not allowed to touch her. Everyone’s afraid of germs so I go with Granma and wait.

When Sis finally comes home there is a party. My grandfather and his second family arrive with his three kids who are little like my sister and I. There is also my cousin Little Robin, who is half grown and strong. He sits on the sofa and holds my sister. I watch feeling jealous and angry but I’m only allowed to touch her hand. This anger is a new feeling. It’s the first time I’ve felt it. It eats at me telling me I’m not enough, that I can’t be trusted, that I’m dangerous. I throw fits, I sneak baby kisses and get in trouble more than ever before. I know I’m supposed to help but I can’t and I’m frustrated.

The babies old long name is quickly shortened to Sis and Sis quickly proves herself to be an angry baby. Mommy walks her in circles for hours, singing the same songs in the same order while circling in the same direction because if she does anything out of order Sis screams. Some nights she screams no matter what Mommy does. My bed lays besides the old crib in our nursery where no one sleeps. I see Mommy pace circles in her long white nightgown as Sis screams and will not be soothed. I see her lay Sis down in exhaustion and leave while my sister screams on alone. through her screams I feel her anger, her discomfort and her confusion in every part of my body.

Slipping from bed I slide my arm between the bars of the crib and hold her hand. The old green linoleum floor is cold but I hold her hand for as long as I can. Her fierce dark eyes turn towards me, searching for my face in the shadows. Slowly she grows quiet. I stroke her face with my other hand, listening for Mommy who will be angry that I’m touching her baby. If I could I would climb my old crib and hold my sister to my heart. I would pull the string that makes our wooden jester dance and I would show her the little lamb that is painted on the headboard. If I was given a chance I would show her how not to be afraid or angry. I would keep her warm with hugs and let this love I feel for her spread from my over full heart into hers. But I can’t so I hold her hand and tell her again and again, “I love you.”