Ordinary People Helping Ordinary People in Extraordinary circumstances!


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What’s Strong or What’s Wrong??

This statement is a real mind bender for many – but one that has never been more needed than now, at this point in time. Never has it felt more needed that families and individuals are looking for support to cope with this truly shocking year that we have all had to endure. I’m sure I do not need to add to your stress by relating horror stories and relating what is wrong with so many different things – Lord knows we are all sadly aware of many of them. Often, we too have many things going on in our own families – that it can be overwhelming to hear about other people’s stories. However, we can often get very focussed on what is wrong with us, our family members, society or other people in general, and yet, just by shifting our perspective slightly – we can gain a little breathing space at least.

I came across this TED talk recently on the recommendation of a friend – and it really helped to highlight what is important especially when trying to help others. It can be difficult to see what is strong in a person when we only focus on what is wrong. And yet, when we stop to look, there are often many strengths which can be drawn on. And they can make a positive impact.

So without playing down any suffering and trauma, – look within yourself and see what strengths you have been using today. Even just getting out of bed to feed the cat – is a strength and shows you have not given up.

Seasons of ChangeMindfulness

Most of us will have noticed that the seasons have well and truly changed too as we move through the Covid crisis. But, as well as coping with the long drawn out process of what we do or don’t do with our time – it’s good to stop for a few moments whenever we can and tap into the season’s natural ebb and flow. Nature has a way of gently moving into her next season without us always noticing. There seems to be no panic about it – it all happens rythmically every year – despite what is happening in our own lives.

It’s this very reassuring and often calming repetativeness that can be really helpful when thinking about ‘mindfulness’. We may never have even thought about trying ‘mindfulness’ before – yet we may be looking for methods to calm our minds or our breathing as we become a little more stressed as each week passes. If you have never tried it before – there is a vast array of examples of this on You Tube – just use the search term ‘Mindfulness’ and you will be able to hear a few different people present their style – see if any of them suit you. You have nothing to lose – well maybe a little bit of anxiety ūüôā


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QUICK UPDATE FOR FAMILIES IN TRAUMA – JULY DURING COVID19

Three and a half months may have gone speedily for some but dragged out for others. For us here at Families in Trauma, it has gone very fast due to the upsurge of interest in our work – which I am glad from that point of view. However, sad also for those who have suffered and families who are mourning.

Our eLearning course is to be launched next week – which seems like it couldn’t be more needed – a leaning post – to get us through these really tough times. We have been getting feedback from a few who have trialed the course. Our first podcast, was released through our social media pages – a discussion around the very supportive method of eCPR – emotional CPR – so so sorely needed just now especially.

We have also been busy developing workshops online (yes we do have a bit of Zoom fatigue too ūüôā ) but it seems to be an ideal way to interact with people at this time. We have a number of podcast discussions arranged to discuss what the different services in Fife are offering during this extremely pressured time period for families on the ground.

And finally, please remember that as well as creating our own resources, we can also help signpost to other organisations who we have worked along with. This often is an unsung service, and yet we have personally spoken with a number of individuals from various services in Fife and Scotland – who just weren’t aware of the vital services in their midst. So please, contact us if you need to – and we can often do the legwork for you – or we may already know exactly who you need to speak to.

“Still I rise” Maya Angelou

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How could I possibly add anything or take anything away from this wonderful piece shared time and again, and which resonates even more strongly during this most difficult time the human race is facing. Needs no explanation.


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“Still, I rise” Maya Angelou

How could I possibly add anything or take anything away from this wonderful piece, shared time and again – as it resonates so deeply within the human heart – and even more during such a time as this. Needs no explanation


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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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A Very Warm Welcome to All Our New Members :)

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FACEBOOK ADVERTISING

After my very first Facebook Advertising campaign (and it was a very small campaign)  I was delighted to be able to have 65 new members sign up for the Facebook page Рand hopefully you will all sign up for this blog too.  Families in Trauma is a  new social enterprise and we are aiming to record through video or audio Рfamilies who have undergone traumatic experiences Рand in turn share these videos to help others on our website.

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We have fallen behind a few months due to believing that we were going to be moving premises – however, this has not materialised – and so – without boring you all with the details, I hope to be focusing more on my social media campaign and getting our videos on our website.

WEBSITE

If you do check the website you will see that there is a lot to still be done – but hopefully you will also join me along this path and share in the journey of establishing a site which can realistically have families or individuals talking about their ‘real’ experiences. I am more than happy to respond to any suggestions any of you may have.

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Most people who catch a glimpse of this site are drawn to the title – either because they or their family have ¬†suffered serious trauma. ¬†The consequences of this trauma can often be severe and when we start to look around for help – we find that, in reality, ¬†there is not much out there! Although doctors and specialists try their best to fill our needs, there is often so much more required and that is exactly why Families in Trauma has been set up. ¬†We need to go straight to the ‘horse’s mouth’ so to speak.

FUTURE PLANS

So we really are at the beginning of a journey together and I want to take you all along with me. ¬†Having experienced a family trauma personally, I know, it is not something you will ever forget. ¬† If you can’t talk ¬†to anyone at the moment – then just follow along online or share this link for the blog or for the Facebook page with someone else if you feel it will help them. Please do everything you can to keep reading and sharing this information because¬†you never know who it will help.

I used to wonder what is the ultimate aim of this new social enterprise , and finally realised, I don’t need to have huge goals or unachievable aspirations – if I can help just one person to get through one more day – then I have achieved a huge amount!! ¬†We all know that a day in the life of a person suffering trauma can be endless – and you never know from the beginning of that day till the end of it – whether you will survive it – but if we can help individuals who are feeling like this to survive one more day, then we have achieved something of worth. ¬†I do not feel this is too huge a goal to aim for and I hope you also will join me in this whenever you can.

Don’t worry if you are not feeling up to much at the moment – just keep reading and checking in – then when you feel more able – share what you can to help others. ¬†It’s a great way to heal – one step at a time.


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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 Рnothing 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 Рbut 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 Рbut 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 Рand their willingness to stretch their hand out to me that really was the healer. There are still days when anxiety takes over Рbut 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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“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 Рthe past is done and gone Рbut we must live in this day Рhere and now!  Take little steps Рdo 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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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 Рand did not need to wait for 6 Р12 months for an appointment.  Often, when help is needed Рit 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