Growing up in a traumatic environment with an abusive family, led to a lifetime of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses. My story isn’t that different from countless others, and yet, there are many stories that are not heard enough. Stories that slip under the cracks. Trauma, whether obvious or not, physical or emotional, always leaves its mark and mental health doesn’t exist in a vacuum but is intertwined with the experiences we have in our lives. I was in recovery for years with no progress – until I started recognising and understanding the impact of trauma and how our bodies remember. Trauma-informed care helps us put together missing pieces and understand why many people act the way they do. I am passionate about trauma informed care in our society and communities- in schools, healthcare, law, mental healthcare, social work and more – trauma-informed care is a vital step in understanding not just ourselves but the people around us, a vital step in more empathy and more care.
In 2016, I had to stay in a psychiatric ward with minimal familial support and contact for four months to treat my eating disorder and depression. Fresh off the boat of being in a mode of self-destruction, I was initially the girl who resisted treatment, broke protocol, and bore immense bitterness in my heart. However, with the support of the treatment team and fellow patients, I was able to eek out a kind of strength and discovered new sides of myself that I never knew existed. As fellow patients and I fought with the inner demons of our eating and mood disorders, we spurred each other along over h2h conversations and challenged each other to conquer our fear foods one by one.
To find light in this darkness, I used quirky ways to make the days easier, like applying temporary tattoos, coordinating outfits with other patients when we went to the clinic for day programme, painting t-shirts with sassy quotes, and making cringe-worthy musicaly videos. On hindsight, I’m grateful for this trying experience for it revealed an ingenuity, “sassy” confidence, and passion for art and serving others which was unbeknownst to me but had resided in me all along.