Affected. 24/7

A few years ago I went along to a 5 day course, dutifully fulfilling my professional development requirements for the year. I expected to walk away with some new perspectives and techniques on assisting people with trauma.

It’s safe to say my expectations were not met. I, for the first time, was at a loss for words. I wasn’t able to describe what happened in a way that felt accurate but didn’t erode my own privacy.

What did happen was a game-changer. For me personally. So much so that it took me over a year to work out what happened and embed the practice into my own life in a way that feels just right.

So when I say I’ve attempted to write this piece a few times, that’s really what I’ve been doing. Working out what happened, the words to describe it and then how to extend the practice to others.

Fast forward to when an interesting chain of events unfolded delivering the clarity I’d been fumbling for.

The chain of events started during a clinical placement for uni when, and I’m fairly certain of this, the universe intervened by connecting me with this particular supervisor.

Every question I ask him is met with the same response. “What does the evidence say Paige”?

(On a side note, this evidence based context makes me fairly certain he would disagree with my comments about universal intervention given the lack of evidence for such a thing occurring.)

Answering my own questions has been frustrating but as it turns out exactly what I needed to gain clarity.

Depression. Anxiety. Trauma. PTSD. Stress. Chronic pain. Autoimmune conditions. The link between all of these is they are not curable. Treatment plans can never discuss eradicating but rather how to manage symptoms as they escalate and abate from day to day.

In the words of my evidence lovin’ supervisor, what does the evidence say?  With this intense focus on evidence I realised another word for it. History. So I substituted the word evidence for the word history. What does history tell us about these conditions?

  • They don’t cripple people from productive, constructive lives. They are not mutually exclusive. Amazing lives can easily hide depression, anxiety and trauma. Look at history. Avicci. Kate Spade. Robin Williams.
  • The problem is when you operate from that space too much of the time. Can you run a marathon for five years straight? There will always be a point of combustion.
  • A safe space is required to let depression/anxiety/trauma soften away. It will inevitably percolate and resurface so the safe space needs to be easily accessible.
  • What if the safe space was not attached to a physical location. What if the safe space was internal.

What I now have is a process for creating this internal space, in very certain, not weird, not religious, not airy-fairy stages. The process is Affected 24/7.

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