As time moves on, I have more appointments with my psychologist and I use the time in between to recount and recall. I go over and over our session and then I try to interpret things.
My session last Tuesday, involved looking at pictures of art. I chose a picture of a woman warrior for me now and a wise woman for how I hoped to be in the future. I am looking at trying to turn this all into a positive. I don’t want to be the wounded animal who is maimed permanently. If I can use what happened as a positive, then it will be much better for me and my family in the future. The picture of the warrior was one of beauty. She had flowing curls (much like my own hair) and stood behind a shield, wielding an axe. Her mouth was open as if to scream a battle cry of defiance. Looking at her clothing though, she was only wearing underwear. She was so strong and courageous, but exposed. Probably terrified on the inside.
I saw the above picture on Pinterest this morning. Yesterday an organisation called Heartfelt, who takes photographs of dying and deceased children for their families, posted a link on Facebook to a fascinating article on families in the Victorian era, taking photographs of their dying and deceased loved ones, which was known as Memento Mori. Heartfelt have personally helped two friends of mine when their own children died, so it’s an organisation that is very near and dear to me. As a result of the fascinating article, I have actually spent much of last evening and then some of this morning googling images myself. I find it fascinating and not at all scary (even though I understand some do, so I won’t be posting a link here) which somehow led me to this image. It was actually captioned in Russian (I think) on the original website, so I unfortunately can’t cite the artist or even if the meaning of the artwork is known. If anyone happens to know the artist, please let me know so I can cite them properly here.
So not knowing the back story, I only know how I interpreted the image. It made me feel so sad. Here is this woman, with an empty belly, left exposed. Nobody has covered her with a blanket. Nobody is with her. Is she cold? Where is her baby? She’s on her own. Her right hand is behind the exposed belly. Is she holding on? Is she trying to cover herself?
The feeling of sadness though, is overwhelming. Her eyes are closed. She is still so beautiful with her flowing hair and her milky skin. She looks angelic in her sadness. Serene.
I have been having flashbacks this week. I don’t know why. I wish they would just stop. I’m done. I’m tired. I just want it all over. I’m avoiding everything to do with pregnancy and babies. I’m avoiding my known triggers. I don’t go near theatres, I’ve stayed away from the maternity ward, I haven’t driven past the hospital. But still with the flashbacks.
I’m fairly certain by now that my brain just hates me. Really, there’s no other explanation, is there? I’m a rational person, I know what happened, I understand what happened, so why the trauma, brain?
I know control played a huge role. I had none. I am normally in charge of my situation. I consent, I say yes or no. I call the shots. I advocate for my patients. I have a really high standard of care and expectation on myself to deliver them optimal health.
I was failed.
That day I was paralysed from the waist down. I was literally tied to a table. I was silenced by a team of very powerful people. I had no voice. I had no control. I had no consent. Everything about that day was everything that I would never normally let happen.
I was let down. Failed by the people who were supposed to care the most.
I need to run. I want to run. My legs are crying out to run. But what am I really running from? My brain comes with me, taunting me, whispering out to me, sometimes shouting out to me. Making me remember the stuff that just hurts so much. Some days are so so bad and others are only a little bit bad.
I did bump into an old colleague yesterday and she was asking me about everything. I have no shame or stigma. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I am recovered from Post Natal Depression, where I had Suicidal Ideations. She seemed genuinely sad. I don’t want to make people feel sad or upset, or uncomfortable. She said to me “I had no idea”. Nobody did. Nobody knew. Not even my husband. Not my mum. Not even me. I was sinking into a pit that was slowly drowning me and I had no idea.
My breakdown in a backward way, saved me. My head was starting to fall beneath the waterline and I was starting to suffocate.
I look at my baby girl and my heart is consumed with love. I can’t put into words how grateful I am that I didn’t hurt her. That I knew how to love her even though I was so traumatised. I just feel so grateful that I could separate what happened from how I treated her.
Loving her is easy.