Trauma, Needs and Letting Myself Be Held

This morning I woke from broken, hardly formed sleep, knowing I could not move. I could not get up and face the day, my body would not allow it. Fatigue had physically kicked in and was holding me captive. 

I lay still, yet unable to rest my body or mind. Unable to move or escape, I was drained and fatigued to my body’s core.

On high alert, I was jumping at each noise, my body jerking with fear and crying out for rest. New and old traumas were screaming for attention.

All I could picture in my mind was a small child reaching out to be held and rocked gently, but she could not find another to comfort her. 

And it occurred to me, I needed to do it. I needed to comfort her. I needed to comfort me. 

image © Mariann Martland

 
I put my arms around my body, curled myself into a foetal position and closed my eyes. I softly told myself that I was okay, that I was safe, that I would keep me safe.  

I didn’t fight my feelings, I didn’t berate myself for feeling scared and small, I didn’t beat myself up for not being able to move or do anything other than lie still and let the feelings flood through me.

Instead, I held my scared, drained and hurting body tight and rocked myself into sleep. 

I let myself be held.

Daytime sleep is not ideal, it sends my body out of sync, more than it already is, and it wasn’t a gentle sleep either, but I woke knowing that finally, after a couple of weeks of trying to be, do, think, act better and ‘get over it’, I had finally been kind to myself and sunk into my greatest need – to be held. 

I woke knowing that I needed to continue to hold myself, mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

The fatigue has not lifted and my mind is in tatters – everything is raw and here. I’m on high alert and know that I’ve not helped myself in my sleep difficulties. But I’m hearing the lesson, that this is my body’s way of making me stop and realise how much it needs me right now.

When trauma is released, when we remember horrors that we have locked away and our bodies are finally allowed to feel them, maybe the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is not to fight and lock them away again, but instead to let them be felt for as long as they need to be (and who knows how long that might be).

It’s not easy, it hurts, it hurts so incredibly that it is unbearable at times – I wouldn’t have blocked most of it out in the first place if it was all easy to feel and hold, it was protection after all. And I’m not saying that tomorrow I won’t start fighting it again or that life won’t get in the way and shunt me into other needs or priorities. 

But, for now, I’m listening and allowing the feelings in. 

I’m holding space for myself; myself as I am now and the ‘myself’ who experienced all of the traumas along the way. 

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