Some of the most desperate in society have suffered more than you can possibly imagine.
I live near an organisation that provides help for the homeless, many of whom have challenging mental health needs. A lot, if not all of these people will have suffered trauma in the past and now face daily judgement.
I will never forget the day that one poor man who used the day service was hit by a car at the same time parents were on their way to pick up their children from the local school.
I will never forget the mother who turned to me and said, “well at least if he doesn’t make it there will be one less of them.”
I live in a prosperous area, and unfortunately there is a train of thought that these people have somehow brought it upon themselves, that the anti-social behaviour is an inconvenience, that they are a blot on the landscape.
Some are unable to understand that these men and women most likely started to drink and use because they wanted to numb the way they felt, because their life became too unbearable and they preferred not to be present during it.
I am saddened that some people are blinkered to the fact that any one of us could have experienced adversity. If we haven’t, then we’re very fortunate.
I wonder how many who are supported by this organisation have suffered abuse in childhood. Considering my experiences I live a fairly normal life, by the standard set by our society, but I’m very aware that had I not had the support network that I do, I could have been in their position. Our worlds did overlap for a couple of years, when I accessed a 12 step programme at a local homeless shelter. I was privileged to know these people.
Despite our differences in background, we all had a story to tell.
These people who you pass on the street are the most visible example of the long-term consequences of trauma but there are desperate people, turning to desperate measures, hidden in all parts of society, even the most affluent.
Child sexual abuse casts a long shadow.
The Way We Die
The way we die
is not in a hands around the throat way.
Not from a blow to the head.
Not a stab or a shot or a one punch assault –
it is a falling off a motorway bridge way. Overdosing on a park bench way.
While the world looks the other way.
It’s a giving up, giving in way, because you’re just too tired way.
In your bedroom, with your door shut, on your own way with your family watching Eastenders on the telly downstairs.
It’s a tip over the edge way.
One tablet too many.
A cut too deep.
A book you should never have read.
A Google search best avoided way.
It’s a where do I get help?
It’s a not this again way.
It’s the I’ve exhausted all avenues way;
It’s a man on a track
A woman in her bed
A mother counting her prescriptions
A daughter on a walk above the sea
A son on his motorbike
A father looking for support on the wrong forum.
It’s being stuck the other side of the glass.
It’s a falling from the path way.
It’s a lonely way. And hopeless.
This wrong way,
That feels the inevitable way,
was not supposed to be this way.