As many of you who have read this blog know, my trauma comes from being tortured both physically and mentally by men who raped me as a child. Many, many men.
So today when I was talking with my Dr, I mentioned that I might like to look into a training program for people who have been through what I’ve been through, I essentially want to work with trauma care providers to make sure that they understand not all trauma comes from drug use.
A decade ago I was at a meeting of politicians and church volunteers, the idea was for us to exchange ideas to see where we could meet in the middle.
Trauma is often closely tied to substance use, mental illness, stigma, health care access barriers, and other challenges. Trauma-informed practice means recognizing this link, making sure that people feel safe and are not re-traumatized by their care. – BC Mental Health Services
There was a question period where I asked one of the speakers – and I’m paraphrasing – if we know why there are so many houseless people living on the streets. Now it was a beautiful neighbourhood, the church was everything an old gothic church should be, and there were at least a hundred or so people in the audience. His response pissed me off, “does it matter?”
As someone who worked at the time with people who were houseless, who were living with a variety of illnesses and issues, I understood deeply exactly how much it did in fact matter why people were living on the streets.
Some people were there because they just ran out of money, others because of a divorce, others for a million other reasons, and the only way to find them a house was to know what services they needed.
One woman came in one night and one of our volunteers remarked that she must be high, when in fact she had just finished being raped and was shaky because well…she’d just been raped.
How we react to people in need is entirely dependent on what their needs are. What we do for one person absolutely won’t work for another, so when I see these words:
“Trauma is often closely tied to substance use, mental illness, stigma, health care access barriers, and other challenges.”
I get super angry because we’re only addressing some of the issues that people deal with, we’re not taking into account sexual abuse, childhood trauma, and on and on and on.
When you tell your doctor what you’ve been through, and he says you sound psychotic, not because he doesn’t believe it happened, but because he REFUSES to believe it happened, it can shut you down and force you back into the closet.
When I finally told someone what happened, he said it sounded psychotic, I responded with, “I agree, I think it’s absolutely psychotic that grown men would rape and groom children,” his reply floored me….”No, YOU sound psychotic,” really? Why? I have my reasons for believing what I believe, but because of ongoing things, I can’t speak more on that, but I will say I was pissed off. It took everything out of me, to tell the truth, and I got screwed by men who refused to believe me.
The problem with the medical industry is that too many times patients are stigmatized by “years of experience,” but the truth is that none of your experience matters if you aren’t listening to your patients.
When famous people come out with their stories of mental health issues everyone praises them. “So brave, so powerful, so much strength,” meanwhile people living in poverty are looked down on, why? Why does the economic status of our wallets determine how much support we receive?
A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
“The stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”Oxford Languages
I want to train with those who are supposed to help people like me so that I can learn to teach these same people about the kind of support I need.
In the world that I’m looking for:
- Cops would have proper trauma training with at least a year or two of volunteering with local organizations that work on the front lines of poverty.
- Cops would be trauma-informed – and by that, I mean able to better understand the difference between someone whose having a panic attack and someone whose having an Overdose crisis
- Doctors and nurses would understand the difference between someone looking for drugs and someone whose just seriously in pain due to oh I don’t know, bad dental care
- No more us vs them mentality
A Cops job isn’t to wait around until they can pull their gun or threaten to, a cop’s job is to make you feel safe, secure, protected, and they don’t do that because yeah let’s face it they see a lot of shit, and it’s easy to believe that everyone in crisis is just having a drug issue then it is to look at the deeper issue.
I knew a cop named J who had a beautiful little girl, she’d be around eight-ten by now, and I keep thinking about her and the friends I knew who had children. I think a lot about how old my son or daughter would be.
The PROBLEM with cops – in PARTICULAR – or even DOCTORS and NURSES is that once they put on the uniform they FORGET they are a “PART” of the COMMUNITY, not JUST GUARDIANS of the community.
The world that I live in, the world that I was raised in, is not one I’d want my children raised in, and this website is a portfolio filled with reasons why.
I think that I have a lot of valuable experience that could be utilized by those working with patients and people who suffer from trauma issues, but the problem is that because I have trauma issues of my own, people overlook me and give others with less experience than myself, opportunities that I genuinely deserve. This happens to a lot of people.
And when it happens, it only furthers the stigma that we face, adds to the decline in our potential livelihood, and takes away whatever self-confidence we’ve been able to build.
It takes time to come back from living with trauma, to get to a place of healing, in spite of the many authors that have sat on Oprah’s stage that might make it appear differently, it can take an entire lifetime to overcome the trauma that some people face.
I am one of the truly blessed folks on this planet, I have supporters all over the world who fully understand what I mean when I say that my house is a mess, I don’t just mean physically, I mean mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I have the online mental health community to lean on, I have Dr. Ashely, Wally, my best friend Barrie, Savvanah, Renita and so many others, I have these amazing friends who “get it,” and didn’t need to be shown all the parts of me to understand that I am doing the best that I can.
I wasn’t fully functioning when I started this website, and I’m just barely passing at functioning now, but one day I’ll be strong enough to take the lessons that I’ve put on this site and put them into practice. one day the experiences will have purpose again, beyond just “it’s time to heal,” that’s the hope that I’m looking for and always was.
Today when I was talking to the doctor and my nurse, I felt stronger, I was annoyed because in the back of my head I hear the voices of abusers and even supporters, and all I want is to just curl up in bed, close my eyes and feel the quiet of solitude.
I worry more about what I say and how I say it because I never want to offend anyone, I never want to hurt people’s feelings, but I also don’t want to stay silent on the issues that matter to me. So one day I’ll stand in front of a room filled with doctors and nurses, I’ll tell my story, and they’ll ask questions, and hopefully, I’ll have the answers that will help them be better at their jobs.
Until then it’s one day at a time sober or not, high or not, elevated or not, working away at being the best version of myself.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall