Still Sitting under the Trauma tree

My working life came to an abrupt end in April 2019. I could do it no longer, aware that I was becoming more reactive and despondent by the changes in the work space to an open plan office, and the pressure of Government contracts and KPIs. I resigned and left so that I could properly care for my son full time.

Within weeks of resigning, I was looking for a new direction, a new career that would build on my training and work experience and give a new significance, without taking the time to recover from five years of supporting others. I was accepted into a government sponsored course, I had the free time … then reality hit. I could not drive into the city, be with other students, or hear their stories. Like Molly Mallard, a cat who thought she was a duck, it was time to stop doing, and start listening to my pre-adoption being, showing me the way forward:

Molly Mallard, get out of the mud’, the voice of Spirit, the white shepherd, barked with a sense of urgency. ‘Get over here!’  Molly knew and trusted his voice and it gave her the strength to extract herself from the grip of the mud and waddle towards Spirit as he continued to guide her: ‘you just need to get out of the mud and come and sit at the base of tree’.  He joined her there and sat with her, his compassionate voice encouraging her ‘well done Molly!’.  His being there for her was comforting in itself without any more words needing to be spoken.  He understood her sadness and distress.

What happened?’, he gently asked after some time.  She could not answer.  She had no memory of what had happened, only the feeling of being triggered and overwhelmed by trauma.  ‘You fell out of the tree again’, he replied to his oft asked rhetorical question, concerned that the fall and the mud had almost destroyed her, she was losing perspective and the will to climb the tree only to fall again.  He saw the signs that staying in the mud seemed preferable to her rather than dealing with the cycle of climbing and falling, climbing and falling.  ‘I can’t keep doing this’ she cried feebly to him.  ‘Sh sh sh sh, it’s okay, just rest, we’ll talk tomorrow’, he whispered sensing that this time it was different for her.  She puffed herself up, wriggled her body to settle on the grass, head under wing and slept.