Articles/Personal Empowerment/Journey Back Home

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Linda-maree Conyard

It has been a long journey for me personally to finally arrive home. My lived experience of hidden domestic violence throughout my childhood led me to hating myself and hating life and withdrawing to myself and my dysfunctional ways of being. Trying to kill myself at 12 with some tablets I found (I have no idea what they were but they didn’t hurt me), and it was the feeling of not wanting to be on this planet that was so deeply felt in me. Risky behaviours in my teenage years like heading to the coast and camping, getting wasted and going into the surf in the middle of the night. Alcohol was my relief and my permission to disconnect from the cesspool of negativity and turmoil within.

Joining the RAAF at 18 was a step away from my life and I totally understand and say to my clients now that you can’t run far enough away from yourself, you always catch up!

I didn’t’ have a diagnosed mental health issue but I had what I now know to be symptoms of unresolved trauma. I had addictions to alcohol, cigarettes and to foods that didn’t nourish me.

As a young mother at 26, I always thought I wasn’t prepared for the trauma of my second child being diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer at the age of 6 months and maybe I was prepared, even though it may have been dysfunctional I knew how to be in trauma. (My daughter survived). I had no idea back then that children got cancer. I didn’t even know what oncology meant.

Why am I sharing this with you…. because I didn’t know the symptoms were due to unresolved trauma. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as unresolved transgenerational trauma. I made myself wrong instead of understanding it was what happened to me that had me creatively adjust in the attempt of trying to decrease the charge that was in my body.

What is clear from not only doing my own work, but also working with many clients as a clinician for two decades is that so many people live their lives with unresolved and more sadly unacknowledged trauma, often living their life in isolation. They seek support with what I believe are the symptoms of unresolved trauma such as:

  • ​Mental health issues such as:
  • Suicidal ideation or attempt;
  • ​Depression;
  • PTSD;
  • ​Anxiety;
  • ​Panic attacks;
  • ​Eating disorders; and
  • ​Addictions of all kinds.
  • Health issues such as:
  • Insomnia;
  • ​IBS ;
  • ​Excess weight or loss of weight;
  • ​Chronic fatigue;
  • ​Cancer;
  • A​uto-immune disorders and
  • ​Chronic illness of all kinds.
  • Emotional issues such as:
  • Overwhelm;
  • ​Stress;
  • ​Bullying;
  • ​Domestic abuse;
  • ​Feeling unhappy / unsatisfied; and
  • ​Feeling blocked /stuck in life.
  • Spiritual issues such as:
  • Feeling disconnected;
  • ​Lack of life purpose;
  • ​Aversion to previous faith;
  • ​Searching for meaning; and
  • ​Sense of feeling lost.

"Trauma survivors have symptoms instead of memories" —Harvey, M. 1990

It was when I started my Master of Gestalt where we were required as part of our degree to do 10 hours a year of personal therapy. We had the option to do 20 hours a year. I did the whole kit and caboodle, chalking up 80 hours of personal therapy by the end of my degree. It was in this therapy that I started to uncover that I had unresolved trauma. When I read “Trauma is part of living this life, it does not, however, have to be a life sentence” by Peter Levine, from his book Waking the Tiger, I felt something shift inside me. It was like I recognised something I hadn’t before and that there was hope and that trauma can be healed.

This led me into the work I do today and my understanding that we have three major disconnects.​

  • ​Disconnection from Self,
  • Disconnection to Others, and
  • Disconnection from our Environment.

I have often been told by clients who come to work with me that there is something different about me. My usual response is that I have done the hard yards that you are embarking on now and I know what it takes to recover from trauma.

When we stop addressing the symptoms of trauma and get to the core, we are able to have that inner switch and start to recognise ourselves with compassion, deep understanding and appreciation for how clever we are to be able to adapt, even if dysfunctionally, and survive our life. We then have the opportunity to integrate our experiences and make peace with what happened to us and start to live our lives fully present. If anyone would love to begin their own Journey Back Home with me, my new online program called, funnily enough, Journey Back Home, I would love to work with you.

The program is for three months and I facilitate it in an online group of no more than 12 people. I’m excited to offer it this way because one of the major things that I found myself and that I know others have found is that we feel alone in our suffering. When held in a group and witnessed by others, this has an incredible healing for everyone. I have seen it over and over again in the groups I have facilitated.

May you be well, may you be happy, and may you have inner peace.

Linda ♡

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