So I was flying home this afternoon from my usual work in community with First Nations Australians. Reflecting on my short life of 37 years. Then I thought of a cool question to ask the Wisdom of Trauma family. What’s something funny, beautiful or quirky that you have experienced from trauma?
I’ll go first. So during my first episode of Psychosis I decided I had enough with civilisation. I sold all my belongings and bought one of those army back packs, a spear gun to catch fish, and some tins of food.
Since I sold my car, I paid a stranger to drive me to near the top of Australia. A beautiful spot in the rainforest 🌴🌺 called Cape Tribulation. In my mind my new life was set. I would live in the rainforest. I would finally be free and at peace. However, it was monsoon wet season ☔️💦🌨 and once I got there it was pouring down with torrential rain 🤦♀️
There were also a million mosquitos 🦟 all trying to eat me. My ideal verse reality. I did not have a phone. I gave it away. However, I decided I wanted to let my mum know I was safe. So I packed what little belongings I had. I started walking in the pouring rain towards a phone ☎️
A police car 🚔 pulled up and police 👮♂️ 👮♂️ asked if I was Louise. I said that’s me. They said your mum is looking for you. She is really worried. I told the police I am okay. I did my PhD on the neuroscience of emotion. I told them I am just having a break.
The police said you are 27. We cannot stop you. I was not hurting anyone or myself. They offered to give me a lift to see my mum. Mum was already in the area with my brother looking for me. So I agreed.
When we got there, my mum was understandably hysterical. The police told mum I was a grown adult. They cannot stop me. My mum did not like this response. Remember I have Psychosis. Although on the outside I seemed as cool as a sea cucumber 😎 Mums being mums. You can imagine my mum on the outside 😡
My brother even said to mum to calm down. He said mum you are the one who looks crazy 😳 I thought this was funny 😏 (Sorry mum 😬). Thankfully, I ended up bursting into tears. 😭 I told the police 👮♂️👮♀️ I actually am very unwell. 🤯 I think I need to go to hospital 🤕 The rest is history.
While this was certainly not funny at the time 😬 ten years later, this story makes me smile 🙂 I find it fascinating the places trauma can take us. Yes, some are too terrifying. Some more triggering than others. However, I have equally experienced much beauty from trauma.
When I was a patient with other patients in hospital. I have never laughed so much in my life. We all felt like we were the naughty kids. The rejects from society. There was always something very interesting happening in each day in hospital. Crisis after crisis. Break down after break down.
Yet I also never felt so safe in my life. None of us had any desire to judge, to fix, or to change one another. We all just accepted and supported each other. Crisis after crisis. Break down after break down. Of course, usually in the smoking section.
It is easy to fall into the trap of seeing trauma as something that is all bad. However, my life has been enriched from experiencing trauma. I have had many beautiful experiences that I know I would never have had if I did not experience trauma.
I have experienced so many different worlds that I would have never known if I did not experience trauma. So this brings me back to my question. What’s something funny, beautiful, or quirky for you as a result of experiencing trauma?
Now you know the power of Trauma Informed Care. Let’s turn this framework into a mindset for personal, social and political change. If you are unable to, you might need help first, to get safe or become ‘unstuck’ from trauma. Reach out for trauma informed care. #YouBelong
Dr Louise Hansen
PhD in Psychology
Human Rights Activist
#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #YouBelong
Trauma Informed World was inspired by Kopika and Tharnicaa; two faces that remind us everyday of Australia’s cruel refugee system. One of many systems in Australia that remind us of the negative operation of power. #HomeToBilo
You can listen my talk with Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, the President of Blue Knot Foundation on my own healing journey, training and study and how it has informed my work and advocacy for a trauma informed world here:
Australia’s National Helplines and Websites:
To provide the best information possible, Beyond Blue has listed national helplines and external services. All services linked to Beyond Blue are reviewed before they are posted.