At the beginning of the year I was with someone who had a severe panic attack. I could not bring this person down from the very real state of trauma they were experiencing, so I called the emergency services team and an ambulance soon made its way to where we were.
Externally I was filled with a calm and a peace that I knew was not all me. I stayed on the phone with the emergency services operator, while keeping my companion in as comfortable position as possible to help with breathing. I spoke tenderly, calmly and reassuringly that everything was going to be okay and that help was on its way.
Internally I was a child thrown into a adult’s world having to deal with something so huge and (what felt like) life-threatening. I wanted to curl up in a ball, let my body shake uncontrollably and just cry until my waters ran dry. This was to big for me to have to deal with, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was utterly terrified that death would walk through the door on my watch.
The ray of light was not snuffed out that day. The ambulance arrived with their skilled and amazing experts and the someone I was with was taken to hospital with a family member that had arrived not long after the ambulance. I was left to myself once the ambulance drove away and my body succumbed to shock, adrenaline and raw, overwhelming emotion.
The experience, one which was not my first affected by trauma, shook me to the point that if I did not express myself in some way my internal instability would over ride any other sense of reason. So I sat and I wrote. I put a name and a picture to what my body and emotions were going through and it helped me breath. This is what I wrote in the face of how I experience and have experienced trauma and the aftermath it brings with it:
Trauma, similar to death, is like a ghost in the night: the approach is unseen and unheard.
Trauma, similar to death, leaves scars, so deep and at times seemingly invisible.
Trauma, so much like death, creates a ripple effect.
The waters are quiet, the surface calm but oh underneath the waves make their way beyond the horizon…
Those that stand by and walk alongside another in this time of horrifying reality we are never prepared for, are the silent hero’s.
They are the ones that go about their daily life without the wonder of the world suspecting anything different. They go about life, because they have no choice but to continue urging one foot in front of the other. They go about life because it is the anchor that holds them. All the while the ripple effect that carries on under the surface attempts to heal the new wounds that have appeared.
Wounds that will turn into scars of experience. Battle scars. Scars that show the depth one person can and has travelled. Scars that are unseen. Scars that came like a ghost in the night.