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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Suicide video at “Choose Life” Conference

I was recently asked to speak for 10 minutes at the “Choose Life” conference held in Kirkcaldy.  I was very humbled by many of the speakers and the work they are continuing to do, day in, day out!  It really is amazing to see individuals turn their trauma into something that helps other people.  And it is not done with ease – it is done often through a lot of pain and suffering.  But, it often get right to the heart of matters because it is coming from a place of experience.  Many of the organizations provide support at the most crucial moments in a person’s life – so is invaluable!!

We used the video on “Suicide of a Family Member”  and it certainly held the audience in suspense as they listened to 5 minutes of painful raw emotions, but also a message of courage from Jackie Easton of Curly Star Dream Foundation .  She has used the trauma of losing her daughter to set up a service which supports other families facing suicide of a family member.

This photo was taken at the conference while the video was being shown.

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For many people suicide is a word they don’t even want to utter, but it is a sad fact of daily life.  Statistics show there were 6,581 suicides in the Uk and Republic of Ireland in 2014 showing that many families and friends will be affected.  Even if you feel this is not something you have had to deal with, please share the information about the video whenever you can – because you might not even know which one of your friends or family who may need it.

 

http://www.famiiesintrauma.co.uk


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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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Post Traumatic Stress

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Post Traumatic Stress

Post traumatic stress is a term which many trauma sufferers may identify with easily. Unfortunately it is also something that can creep up on us without even being fully aware of what is happening.

Shell shock and Battle Fatigue

Initially the term was associated with  the battlefield in other guises as “shell shock” and “battle fatigue” during the first and second world war.  However during the Vietnam war the term “post traumatic stress” came to the fore and many war veterans were diagnosed with the condition.

PTSD and Trauma

However, more recently the term PTSD can be used to describe the psychological conditions associated with any traumatic event.

Symptoms of PTSD

Some of the well known symptoms can be:

  • Panic attacks
  • Vivid flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • very intense feelings when being reminded of the trauma
  • Avoidance of any reminders of trauma
  • Pain, sweating, nausea, feeling lightheaded
  • Being easily upset or angry
  • Lack of concentration
  • Self-destructive behaviours
  • Keeping constantly busy to avoid thinking
  • Angry and irritable
  • Feeling detached and emotionally numb
  • Feeling suicidal

Self-Help

It can be a very frightening experience for individuals with PTSD and often the sufferers can feel very isolated thinking that this is only happening to them.  There are various things which can help in time – but the biggest barrier to this can be impatience. The feelings are so frightening that an instant cure is sought, but sadly this approach is often very short lived.  So a more balanced, rounded approach can often last much longer and also help to make a person feel more confident once the strategies have been put in place.

  • Talk to someone close to you
  • Talk to people in similar situations
  • Give yourself time
  • Contact an organisation for support and educate yourself about PTSD
  • Contact your GP

Families in Trauma

I have found in the course of my work that many people suffer from PTSD and feel there will be no way through this – but eventually with time, patience and help – it can be possible.  Families in Trauma will also be interviewing people who have shared their experiences of PTSD and we hope that it will be a help for many people.  Please feel free to share this blog with others who may need it or to anyone who may want to share their experiences and be interviewed either through video or audio.


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Anxiety – What Does it Feel like??

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WHAT DOES ANXIETY FEEL LIKE?

So what exactly does anxiety feel like?  Have you ever wondered if anxiety is just a little palpitation here and there – nothing to worry about, a little stressful but nothing to write home about?

Many of us have experienced these type of feelings perhaps when starting a new job, school, moving home and or when attempting something new for the first time.    We may feel anxious about how we will be able to cope or will we appear completely stupid in front of our work mates etc  However, this type of anxiety is quite short lived and will often disappear as soon as we feel more comfortable with our new circumstances.

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SEVERE AND CHRONIC ANXIETY

Severe and chronic anxiety, however,  is a totally different feeling altogether.  It is not easy to “snap out of it” and if the anxiety becomes severe, it can feel like a life threatening condition.  Ask anyone who has suffered from this debilitating condition!!

TRAUMA

Trauma of any sort can trigger anxiety and often does.  So the individual not only has to contend with whatever event has taken over their life – but also these very difficult feelings they are experiencing.  They can often be quite shocking and frightening for someone who has never experienced these before.

TURN TO OTHERS

There are many different websites which can provide help for these feelings such as  http://www.mind.org.uk/ and often your own GP will be able to advise in these situations, but one of the things which helped me was to  turn to others who could support me at that time.  Many of them had no experience of what I was going through – but they were kind enough to give me a listening ear, often crying with me .  I had offers of counselling, which I took up on occasion and I read every book I could put my hands on.  I became a devourer of everything and anything which might help me to alleviate this anxiety but ultimately it was my connection to other human beings – and their willingness to stretch their hand out to me that really was the healer. There are still days when anxiety takes over – but nothing like it used to be.

REACH OUT

So if you are suffering anxiety – reach out to others who can help especially family and friends you trust – and if you know someone is suffering anxiety – even if you don’t understand – never turn away – just reach out your hand by giving a little bit of time to someone else.  It will never be forgotten and you may need that help one day in the future.  As the saying goes – “There but for the grace of God go I.”

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