Surviving Lockdown as a Survivor

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

I am sitting at my kitchen table. We have just finished a Board Meeting. They are fun, as much as I hate admitting that. We imagine Board Meetings as stuffy and boring, everyone wishing they could be somewhere else. I don’t. I love my Board. I love working with them. The universe has provided.



I am deflecting. The meeting finished and I went looking in One Drive for a form we had discussed during the meeting. I didn’t find it.


Instead, I found a poem I wrote a few years ago. It isn’t very long and it isn’t very good. Today would be my child’s seventh birthday, if I hadn’t miscarried. I had tried for a few years, through IVF ICSI to fall pregnant. I was only successful once, and I lost that baby. I have not shared this with anyone today.


I don’t know why. I share a lot.


We are in lockdown in Greater Sydney. I am emerging from a trauma spiral. I was unaware that I was in one, even though I knew I wasn’t feeling right. I only realised yesterday what was actually going on for me. But if I think back, I think it was the first six weeks of isolation that triggered this. I was going to the bush a lot, my safe space, and I was walking and running. Running was the clue I wasn’t okay. I don’t run. It isn’t organic for me. But the act of running gave me control.


There were other signs. I didn’t really see them at the time. I was missing my best friend, the person who knows me best, badly. I felt very unsafe. I felt abandoned. I was scared and I was trying to navigate this new way of being completely alone, uncertain of when I would reconnect with humans. I was crying a lot. I was picking at my nails and at my skin. I wasn’t making my bed. I was eating and then not eating. I was drinking Coke. I was buying bread. I was forcing myself to stay awake, long after exhaustion had set in.


And I didn’t, not once, see it for what it was.


I am an English teacher by trade. I resigned in 2018 to grow a tutoring business. I resigned to grow a healing business. I resigned to continue to consciously heal. I resigned to break patterns.


I am also a survivor. I was sexually abused as a child by several perpetrators. There was domestic violence in the home. Discipline often involved excessive force. I am the oldest of three children. I have spent the majority of my adult life living the impact of my early life. I have spent the last few years consciously healing the impact and learning how to manage it and the triggers. I know myself very well. I know trauma very well. I know how to do this.


And yet, yesterday, as I drove to drop work off for one of my students, I realised I was in a trauma spiral. I realised that lockdown has provided those same conditions that oppressed me as a child.


Minimal control. Restrictions. No freedom. Feeling trapped. Isolation. Shame. Guilt. Fear. Anxiety. Uncertainty. So much conflict. Arguments. Disconnection. Sides. Aggression.


Voiceless.


Unempowered.


Disempowered.


Alone.


After disrupting so many narratives and breaking so many patterns, I find myself, alone again, at my kitchen table, reflecting on a life lost and a life compromised.


I didn’t try to have kids when I was younger because I didn’t know how to have healthy relationships that would provide stability for a child. I didn’t know how to do this because I didn’t see it or experience it as a child. I am learning how to do this now.


I also didn’t believe I was worthy of being loved. I always felt I was broken and dysfunctional. I didn’t think anyone would want to love me. It would be too hard to break down my walls and break through everything one would need to break through to find me, see me, hear me, love me.


I do know I am worthy now. I have worked hard to understand myself and see myself from all perspectives. I am not willing to sacrifice that so easily, but I am also sabotaging, functioning from that lost and lonely little girl state, even though I know how to not do that.


I know I need to eat properly. Get enough sleep. Have balance. Maintain connections. Do what brings my soul joy and calm. Maintain gratitude practice. These are the strategies.


However, I am taking one breath at a time. I am removing myself from situations where I can cause damage or from where I will need to seek forgiveness. I am doing what I need to do to keep me safe. I sat for an hour and a half in the sun today doing nothing. I blocked someone on Facebook. I decided to take a break from social media (where work permits). I am not expecting myself to meet everyone’s needs. I am focusing on drinking lots of water. I am taking photos. I am seeking gratitude. I am reminding myself to trust the process. I am reminding myself that this is temporary. I am reminding myself that I am loved.


And, most importantly, I am reminding myself that I am not that little girl anymore, that these conditions are not identical even though they feel very much like it, that I am an adult and that this will serve, more than just me, in the long run.


Possibly not the first post one would expect from the founder and CEO of a newly formed not for profit. However, it speaks to the core of why we exist. We will empower survivors by providing them with a voice and support. We will advocate for changes to legislation. We will educate so that people understand that trauma impacts the brain which impacts behaviour and choices and the ability to be vulnerable and to reach your potential.


One step at a time, we will break down barriers to create a different world. A world where no one will feel shame when they share their truth, the reality of their experiences, and the stories of their comeback.

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