My Mum Spent 13 Years in Psyche Wards — Now Her Poetry Book Is Making Waves (Part 2)
*It isn’t necessary to read the first part prior to this one, but if you’d like the whole story, the link is here.
“Trauma is a psychic wound that hardens you psychologically and interferes with your ability to grow and develop. It pains you and now you’re acting out of pain. It induces fear and now you’re acting out of fear. So without knowing it, your whole life is regulated by fear and pain that you’re trying to escape from in various ways. Trauma is not what happens to you, it’s what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you. Trauma is that scarring that makes you less flexible, more rigid, less feeling and more defended.” — Gabor Maté
This is difficult for me. Not in an emotional sense, for my callouses have long since hardened, but in respect to my commitment to truth. All I can offer, all anyone can offer, are shadows upon the cave wall. Though truth is more than verisimilitude; more than a futile attempt at perfect mimesis. Once I’ve typed these words, once you read them, I no longer hold any claim. They, along with the feelings and impressions evoked, are yours alone. What I aim for is alchemical; to speak from my heart, transcending the limits of language and memory to reach yours. Thus, though it be but a dim refraction, I hope to reveal a light made brighter by the crucible of darkness.
A burden that bloomed
Much like suffering, the capacity for empathy varies greatly. While some, whether numbed, untrained, or lacking a specific gene variant, struggle to reach beyond their experience, others, like myself, have an innate predisposition to it. For reasons not entirely understood (and certainly beyond the scope of this article), I’m acutely sensitive to the suffering of others. Yet due to processes outside my awareness and only fractionally related to will, I’ve become steeled to the pain that cuts deepest. Were I to stare unblinking into that sun, I could not function day-to-day.
For over two decades, I watched my mother be swallowed up by a dark cloud neither hope nor happiness could pierce. Grimly, resignedly, propelled by a kind of cosmic force, I visited her in those sterile…