familiesintrauma

Relief, Belief and Understanding


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Death of What??

This blog comes tinged with a bit of sadness today due to having suddenly lost a family member.  It is always a shock to take this in, no matter how long we have been expecting it – but for us we only ended up with 3 weeks – so we are still trying to process this as a family.

Death of a loved one can and does bring very mixed, confusing emotions.  If it is a young person, most people feel that it is unfair and they have been cheated ; if it is death of an older one – there always seems to be that feeling that it was still too soon – no matter what their age.  Yes, death is an age old enemy. For those with faith in something else it can be a sustaining power, but nevertheless the sting of death is powerful for everyone.

However, this recent experience has got me to thinking of individuals I have interviewed who have undergone the cruelest of trauma in their life.  They they often speak of the grief of losing hope,  and, the death of all their hopes and dreams.    This can often be as painful as the sting from losing a loved one in death for example – and is often much misunderstood.

They are often told that they  shouldn’t feel like that  – after all…… we still have life!  But, it really depends on what kind of life we are living and what we have been robbed of.  This could be hopes of a future with another person,  seeing our children grow up strong, healthy and happy, having good health,  strong physical and mental health, a good job, a decent house and so it goes on ……  All of these things are only natural desires in all of us – and yet some have to deal with situations in life that bring them to their knees and hating life itself.  This can lead to suicidal feelings – so please – never underestimate these feelings. .

If we know of anyone who is feeling like this – its good to remember the old saying “there but for the grace of God, go I”.  We could all be suddenly in a situation we cannot cope with and struggling to find out how we actually got there!  So if we have a friend or family member struggling, don’t just dismiss them and think that “everyone goes through these things – we all just have to man up and get on with life.”   We live in a world that needs more understanding and compassion, not less!!    Reach out to those suffering and share what we can with them – it makes the world a far better place, not only for others – but for ourselves too!!

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Gearing Up for our Launch – April 18th!

Before I go into the launch of our first 3 videos in April, I thought I’d share with you a little of where I visited in December as I haven’t done that yet.  It was touch and go as to whether we could actually get there, due to one thing and another – but finally we did.  Steve, my husband, had always wanted to get some lessons from a real flamenco guitar  maestro and in December that’s exactly what we did!  The rest and relaxation were just what we needed – and it reminded us also that we are still individuals, and that even if we are going through difficult times, it is essential to try to recharge our batteries.   We visited Malaga and all the other little villages and towns along the Costa Del Sol.  My favourite part was the weather as it was 25 degrees C – no one could complain at that!  Here goes:

 

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Up in Mijas – seems to be a favourite haunt for many visitors.

 

 

 

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Many people come from all over the world to see the lights in Malaga – we can see why!

 

The weather in Marbella was very obliging.  Steve, myself and our sister in law, Tina.

The weather in Marbella was very obliging. Steve, myself and our sister in law, Tina.

 

And finally - Steve and I enjoying a boat trip.  Apparently we look like  70's rockers here :)

And finally – Steve and I enjoying a boat trip. Apparently we look like 70’s rockers here 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that seems to be  the relaxation over for another few months as we gear up for the launch of the videos.  Just to refresh your memory the subjects of the 3 videos are:

“Suicide of a family Member”

“Stillbirth”

“Rare Genetic Disorders in children – Kabuki Syndrome”

As you can imagine, all families affected by any of the above go through very traumatic experiences trying to cope with the actual event, and the ensuing ripples that always surround these very painful situations.

The videos really highlight the ins and outs of these situations and could be extremely helpful to someone who is suffering – so please, please, please, share all information you can in the lead up to the launch and during the launch, as this is really a pilot project.  Hopefully we will get a good response from this, and it will convince funders to look favourably on the project and help us financially to be able to get out there and create many more and ultimately help families in a way that would never have been possible before social media.

We have a few really good high profile individuals who are keen to support families in Trauma, including Johnny Benjamin from the channel 4 documentary “Stranger on the Bridge” and the Twitter campaign “Find Mike” after a stranger stopped him from committing suicide on a bridge; Claire Baker MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife and also Margaret Hannah, Director of Public Health in Fife.

We have been able to get in a little help with the marketing of the  initial pilot from the social enterprise “Along Came Kirsty” who are based in Dundee and have been really excellent to work with so far.  I’ll keep you updated but was keen to use a local company that has the same type of social values as our own.

As we get closer to the launch – I will try to keep you informed as to what we are up to, but meantime – please share, share, and share again – and if you have any suggestions  on how to help us – by all means – get in touch !!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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New Year – New Families

 

FAMILIES IN TRAUMA IN 2016

Finally, I have managed to get back to writing my blog and will give you an update of where we are now and future plans for the new year.  I’ll keep it brief – as I know how hard it is to read all the information we are bombarded with every day, especially if you are going through tough times!!  So this should be short and sweet – I hope:)

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NEW OFFICE

During 2015 we managed to secure a tailored made office for ourselves down at Fife renewables innovation centre (the offices previously earmarked for the energy sector businesses – which sadly took a downturn).  We gladly received excellent conditioned furniture and board table from Havelock Europa plc who, fotuitously, were moving premises at the time and happily contributed to charities and non-profit organisations.   Their loss was our gain.  Glad to see larger businesses sharing with non-profits.  Thank you!!  Rent still being paid by myself – so hopefully funding should be on the horizon in next few months – eek!

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LAUNCH OCTOBER 2015

We were thrilled to be able to launch Families in Trauma at the end of October and enjoyed a good turn out and excellent publicity from our local newspapers .  Margaret Hannah,  recently appointed Director of Public Health in Fife kindly joined us at the end of a very busy day to find out more about Families in Trauma and also to share her insights into new ways of connecting and helping families who may need crucial support.

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PLANS FOR 2016 – PILOT PROJECT

ScottishEnterprise through Business Gateway have contributed a small fee to help with our pilot project which should be ready to launch at the end of January.  Along came Kirsty is the social enterprise who will be helping us with the initial pilot using our first 3 videos, covering suicide of family member,  kabuki syndrome, and  stillbirth initially , to test the results and hopefully be able to start heightening the profile of Families in Trauma.  We believe this is a sorely needed service and are really keen to get everyone involved in sharing the information, to help as many people as possible. Please do this whenever you can with any of FIT’s posts you feel will be helpful.

The initial test period for the pilot will be 30 days (as we can access the video platform we require for a 30 day free trial initially:)  )  So as soon as we have the results, we will share them with you.

Meanwhile please share, share and share again – you never know who you will be helping!!

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“Stay in the Day”

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that many of the people I’ve spoken to seem to be suffering with depression or anxiety.    Now it’s easy to get a medical dictionary definition of what depression is but that often doesn’t seem to help much at all. It seems, that if we have a shared experience – and we feel we can talk to others – it can be a really helpful tool as the sufferer does not feel quite so alone. In all the different areas of trauma, it seems that humans really need to “connect” with others.

Here are some of the expressions I’ve read or heard recently in personal conversations about depression:

“It’s like drowning, except you can see everyone around you breathing.”

“You feel like you are moving in slow motion.”

“You can see everyone else getting on with their lives, yet somehow or other, you’re not a part of it – it’s like you are in a bubble.”

“Everything seems hopeless.”

“Its like you have lost all interest in everything – nothing motivates you any more”.

So it’s not difficult to see why depression and anxiety are major problems when they hit!   In fact, one in 4 people will experience some type of mental health problem over the course of a year.

Most people know the usual advice given by health professionals and try to put some of it into practise. The tried and tested methods often work – but it can sometimes take us a while to get there. However sharing our experience with others, talking to trusted friends, keeping a diary, reading as much as you can about your own illness can all help – but one thing i found which was extremely helpful was to “stay in the day”!!!

What does this really mean though??   When our mind’s are racing, we cant sleep for our thoughts, its painful to remember things, we feel panic when we think about doing anything – its extremely important to rein our minds in  (just as a thoroughbred horse needs to be reined in to train it), we need to do the same with our minds. Its one of the most important things I learned along my own journey.

Tomorrow will always take care of itself – the past is done and gone – but we must live in this day – here and now!  Take little steps – do not let your mind race ahead to next week, month, or year as it is impossible to  know what these will bring.

So if you feel you may be suffering depression or anxiety, try to find out as much as you can to help yourself – and try this one tip “stay in the day”!!

 


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First Interview for Families in Trauma – Kabuki Syndrome

Hi,

If you were like me when you first saw this title – “what is Kabuki syndrome”, then you are like most of us.  We go about our lives not aware of the difficulties that some families face on a daily basis and its only when you encounter someone who is dealing with a rare condition – do we start to notice.  This is why it is imperative that we all share information like this, for the sake of the families who have a daily battle. So if you can share this,  please do as it will help to raise awareness and generate more understanding and support.

I first met the family who have a lovely little daughter who has Kabuki syndrome a month or so ago whilst out at an exhibition which included Families in Trauma.  The father approached me and humbly said, “I’m not sure if this is what you mean by trauma – but it has been a trauma for our family”.  That is exactly what we mean!!

So what is Kabuki syndrome??  I’ve done a little research and obviously filmed the family involved, and it is a very rare genetic syndrome which affects around 1 in 32,000 children.  It affects many parts of the body and is characterized by distinctive facial features .  People with Kabuki syndrome have developmental delay and intellectual disability that range from mild to severe. Affected individuals may also have seizures, an unusually small head size  or weak muscle tone . Some have eye problems such as rapid, involuntary eye movements  or eyes that do not look in the same direction.

A wide variety of other health problems occur in some people with Kabuki syndrome. Among the most commonly reported are heart abnormalities so as you can imagine, along with all of the above, comes the risk of sudden death at any time .

This is the reality for all families who live with this daily – can you imagine how hard that must be for all involved?

As I mentioned we have filmed a lovely family from Kirkcaldy, Fife who willingly shared their story in the hope that it might help others – and it was extremely moving and inspiring.  The video will become available on our website in October.  Please watch out for this and share with anyone you can.

If you would like to contact me or make any comments on this post, please feel free to do so. 

 


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HELLO AND WELCOME

Hi, I’m Maggie and as this is my first post on my new site, I thought you might like to understand why I wanted to start a service  like this.

As you may imagine, I went through a very traumatic experience in my own life and it affected all our family for a very long time, and we still have to deal with repurcussions from this although we have certainly all come a long way, and I can say that there is hope – especially for those who receive the correct support at the right time.

The thing that struck me was when I met other individuals going through traumatic events, is that many seemed to suffer similar symptoms even though the circumstances were very different.

My image of getting help through a mental health service was like being handed a beautifully wrapped box of chocolates – only to be so disappointed when the box was revealed to be – empty!  I do not decry any health professionals who work hard to help others in this field, but I’m sure they will also agree that this is an area where  staff are stretched to the limit, with little resources or time to devote to the important things.

I decided that I would like to do whatever I could to help and thought it would be easier to use my own skills as a film maker to record the experiences of many different families and provide an online service so anyone could access at any time of the day or night – and did not need to wait for 6 – 12 months for an appointment.  Often, when help is needed – it is needed right now, this day, this night, as this may be the only chance to help a person to survive.

We already have a number of families lined up who have volunteered to be interviewed either using audio or video and they will be posted on the site as soon as we have a few that can be viewed.  We will also be designing training packages for others who need to provide these training skills to their staff  e.g. hospitals, social services and police etc.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any ideas you’d like to share and I hope you will share the journey with me as I am new to this but I hope it proves to be a beneficial service for lots of people.

Maggie