I Can Already See This World

The Tree of Life:
My Second Episode of Psychosis
(October 2019-June 2020).

I made this tree in hospital last year. I was “stuck” in trauma. Caught in a panic attack cycle for months on end. The dark roots is intergenerational trauma and all of today’s injustice. Today I’d like to say trust your Doctor. Unless there is good reason not to. #HealingTrauma

Some Doctors are very helpful. Some traumatising. I will never forget my first Psychosis 10 years ago.

***Trigger Warning***

I had an appointment with one Psychiatrist. I told her that my head was on fire, that it would not stop burning, and that I think I have Schizophrenia.

The Psychiatrist said to me: “It is just stress sweetheart.” Shortly after she pulled out two pairs of shoes from under her desk. Then she said to me: “Which shoes do you think I should wear to the races this weekend?”

I remember leaving this session. I broke down crying. Balling my eyes out in the nearest gutter. Lost inside my own mind. Lost in this world around me. Chain smoking. Wanting to die. I was already paranoid. Now I had lost complete faith (i.e. trust in the unknown) in Psychiatry.

This is why I share my lived experience. I know how it feels to be completely powerless, and the ones with the power meant to help you, often sadly just don’t get it. So you feel more lost. More disconnected. More distrust. More paranoia. More trauma. Tragically, more suicidal.

I want to strongly emphasise now that today I can genuinely say: Trust your Doctor (including Psychiatrists). Unless there is good reason not to. Out of the four Psychiatrists I experienced as a patient: two were brilliant, one was okay, and one focused on themselves.

Psychiatrists are not the problem. It took me a very long time to see this. Power is not the inherent problem. What one does with power is either helpful or harmful. Systems exist for good reasons: they keep us safe, make life easier, prevent harm, etc.

When a Psychiatrist – or anyone – understands a system well, they can use their understanding of the particular system to empower us all. I would not be alive today – and certainly not this well – without many different people using a range of systems congruent with life.

So would you believe it!? I now even trust systems. Unless there is good reason not to. A system will always have its limits because it relies on a framework and the framework itself is not life. Life is forever unfolding and changing and no single life can ever be contained.

Old mate Dalai Lama once said: “You need to learn the rules so that you can learn how to break them.”

What!? This peace keeper!?

There is an important lesson here. If we continue with our current trajectory, the rich will become richer, the poor poorer, and the tortured more tortured. Now add climate change to that mix. It is not a pretty picture.

Mehdi Ali:

“Eight years of my life lost to detention. The most formative years of my life are gone. These are the years in which I was supposed to spend being a child and choosing a pathway for my future. Instead, these were eight years spent in detention experiencing frustration, suffering and misery.”

#HealingTrauma

Thankfully, many have broken the rules before us. For example, Psychiatry once considered homosexuality to be a disease. This is no longer the case thanks to millions of rule breakers. So today in Australia you are no longer sent to jail for same sex intercourse (of legal age).

Bessel van Kolk also broke Psychiatry’s rules with The Body Keeps The Score. It is now widely accepted that Yoga (a system) can be more helpful than medication for trauma. But let’s be very clear here. This is not just about Yoga. Such insight has cultural/political implications.

When I grew up in Australia you were considered weird if you did Yoga. I knew few vegans and who really cared about climate change, right? I was not taught about Genocide or the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (or their systems) until University.

Lidia Thorpe – Djabwurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara
Spokesperson for First Nations:

“After being locked out of mainstream health care, First Nations people pioneered our own community led and community controlled health services. These community-led health services are what governments now use as a model for community care.”

#HealingTrauma

Mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, trauma and suicide were mostly (and still often) met with silence or judgment, blame, punishment, shame and stigma. Today I see these issues increasingly met with science and compassion in Australia and worldwide.

Today I see Western scientists and First Nations cultures increasingly working together because their systems share a universal framework (i.e. reality), that is congruent with life (i.e. safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment)

#FridaysForFuture
#UpRootTheSystem
#DontChooseExtinction

rather than against it (i.e. a closed off system creating more and more walls). This shared system is not just incredibly powerful, its framework unbelievably versatile, varying from person to person, country to country, culture to culture. I could not see this “stuck” in trauma.

Today I recognise every system depends on a framework; it is either congruent or incongruent with life; the framework itself was manmade; this means it can change; it already is. I dream of a world that uses this trauma framework to break down laws with zero connection to life.

I dream of a world where people in a position of power are trained to see beneath a Psychiatric Diagnosis. A world where every breakdown might actually be a breakthrough. A return to the truth and beauty that exists underneath our names. I can already see this world. #HealingTrauma

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” – Haruki Murakami

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
Psychologist
PhD in Psychology
Human Rights Activist

#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #YouBelong

Xavier Rudd – Spirit Bird (2012):

“Give it time and we wonder why
Do what we can laugh and we cry
Sleep in your dust because we’ve seen this all before
Culture fades with tears and grace
Leaving us stunned hollow with shame
We have seen this all, seen this all before
Many tribes of a modern kind
Doing brand new work same spirit by side
Joining hearts and hands
and ancestral twine, ancestral twine
Many tribes of a modern kind
Doing brand new work same spirit by side
Joining hearts and hands
and ancestral twine, ancestral twine
And slowly it fades
Slowly it fades
And slowly it fades
Slowly it fades
Spirit bird she creaks and groans
She knows she has seen this all before
She has seen this all before, she has
Spirit bird she creaks and groans
She knows she has seen this all before
She has seen this all before, she has
And slowly it fades
And slowly we fade
And slowly we fade
Slowly it fades
Slowly it fades
Soldier on, soldier on my good countrymen
Keep fighting for your culture now,
keep fighting for your land
I know it’s been thousands of years
And I feel your hurt
And I know it’s wrong and you feel
You’ve been chained and broken and burned
And those beautiful old people,
Those wise old souls
Have been ground down
For far too long
By that spineless man,
That greedy man,
That heartless man
Deceiving man,
That government hand
Taking blood and land
Taking blood and land
And still they can
But your dreaming
And your warrior spirit lives on
And it is so so so strong
In the earth,
In the trees,
In the rocks
In the water,
In your blood
And in the air we breathe
Soldier on, soldier on my good countrymen
Keep fighting for your children now,
Keep fighting for your land
Slowly it fades
Slowly it fades
Slowly it fades
Slowly it fades
Stand strong, keep the fire burning
Stick together, gotta keep the wheels turning
Forcing companies to stand aside
Forcing government to recognize
The power of this tribe
Give it time and we wonder why
Do what we can, laugh and we cry
Sleep in your dust because we’ve seen this all before.”

#YouBelong

https://youtu.be/TmxSxKxBbQE
#IncarcerationNation

https://youtu.be/XUyfAme3i_U

https://incarcerationnation.com.au

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
Dr Tracey Westerman awarded AM:

“I’m a proud Psychologist; but the Psychology profession must own the fact the entirety of its training is built on a foundation of cultural exclusion.

No embedded, data driven, clinically determined Indigenous content in any Psychology degree in Australia. We have a side order of cultural awareness instead.”

https://indigenouspsychservices.com.au/about/dr-tracy-westerman/
“Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of support we received overnight! We’re able to fund one more Indigenous Psychology student for a full three year Psychology degree from just a 10 minute appearance on ABC #TheDrum.” – Dr Tracy Westerman AM

If you would like to donate, please visit:

https://www.thejilyainstitute.com.au/about-us/
Australia’s political system is too broken to tackle climate change, and big polluters are determined to keep it that way. But we have a plan:”

https://www.climate200.com.au
Malala Yousafzai, often referred to mononymously as Malala, is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate:

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world. Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human. The extremists are afraid of books and pens, the power of Education frightens them. Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapon.”
Poetry is so underrated. The pen is mightier than the sword because words can travel across time and space. They can penetrate our mind, heart and spirit. They can collapse hierarchical structures based on ignorance, arrogance and the negative operation of power. #HealingTrauma
My partner Marcelo Alegre Rubic who taught me do not let anyone control your life. #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

Kopika (left) and Tharnicaa (right) were kept at Christmas Island Detention Centre for nearly two years despite trauma informed calls to return them to Biloela, Queensland. Tharnicaa has spent most of her life detained by the Australian Government and is still in community detention to this day. #YouBelong

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:

Trauma Informed World acknowledges and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways on which this educational resource was inspired. I acknowledge and respect Elders past, present and emerging. I honour the continuation of educational, cultural and spiritual practices and celebrate the extraordinary diversity of people and relationships worldwide. This website contains images of deceased persons. There are also swear words in some of the songs presented that portray intense emotions. This website is not intended to trigger people who have experienced trauma. However, if you do find any of the content triggering, each page has a link to Australia’s National Helplines and Websites for immediate mental health support. These are my own personal views and comments and may not reflect the views of my employer.

Australia’s National Helplines and Websites:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-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.

Published by Dr Louise Hansen

This is a free educational website on Trauma Informed Care for survival and wellbeing. While each injustice differs, all stories share the same trauma: the negative operation of power. Let’s break the cycle of injustice and trauma together one day at a time. The byproduct of clarity is peace. Joy is peace dancing. Trauma is disconnection. Empathy fuels connection. Knowledge is power: “Love is the absence of judgment.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama. #YouBelong

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