Can Do Healthcare - Thinking Differently Together About Trauma Informed Care

the one that is causing the most difficulty, and you don’t know that because you are not a trained professional yourself. I think they need to be very patient and let people unpack in their own time, and I realise that’s a difficult balance to get right. I think they need to try somehow to understand what it’s like to have traumas in different countries. I think that’s a really difficult thing that I’ve noticed with my NHS counselling, that being able to grapple with things that I’d experienced outside of the UK is something that was difficult for the therapist to do.” Lived Experience – Gemma’s Story “I met somebody that slowly over time coerced me into moving away, took away any sense of financial ability from me and then became very abusive - violently, and it ended in being stamped on until I bled whilst pregnant; had five miscarriages with him; broken bones which resulted in two lots of surgery; several A&E trips; cutting friends and family off and then being moved again, further away – and basically not recognising who I was any more: I wasn’t me. I got support from one friend who, when she realised what was happening – she was a police officer herself, so she reported it for me, so I didn’t really have much choice in it then being ‘out there’. I then spoke to another friend that I’d met walking dogs and asked if I could stay for a short while, and actually once I got to hers, it was a like a breath had come out of me. In terms of other teams being able to help, I went to my GP and they told me that I had had a referral for the mental health team locally. They told me that because it was complex trauma they wouldn’t be able to help me and they sent me a referral to a team at a hospital – who then referred me back to the team that had referred me to them – so after just over a year I was still no further forward. By this point I’d reached where I was feeling suicidal, I was self-harming several times a day. I spent a lot of time in bed, not wanting to get up, not wanting to go out, stuck in that ‘what’s the point, I’m trying to get help’. With the second team that I’d been to see, when I went in to speak to somebody, they watched the clock the whole time and said this is what we deal with every day – and I understand that, I understand that so many people go through this but right now, I’m going through it, this is my life, I’m asking for help and there just wasn’t any. There was a time that I actually went to A&E when I felt suicidal, and a nurse whispered to one of the other nurses next to me that I was a waste of time and it’s probably just attention seeking. The perinatal team at Bury St Edmunds, they were really amazing because it was somebody that listened, and I think that’s all I needed. I needed somebody just to hear me rather than just look at me. Now I’ve got my fiancé, my baby, my two dogs, a lovely home and I’m not angry anymore. I’m ok with where life is now, I’ve changed my career and it was all with a push from the perinatal team, who were just the most wonderful support. They really were life changing”. Thinking Differently Together | 18

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