It’s no picnic feeling under the weather. I can cope with feeling rough but I find it hard to cope with Steven not coping with me feeling rough.
On Thursday I went for a consultation with a herbalist. It was a very positive experience. To be given the time that one simply wouldn’t get from a GP is an unusual but heartening experience. For the GP to say that the only way to repair my damaged larynx is to rest it, doesn’t really take into account the reality of my home life. “I can’t act out the Gourmet Night episode of Fawlty Towers with you Steven because I’m resting my voice” is never going to work. So I was hoping that between the herbalist and a vocal therapist, we might tackle this from a more holistic angle.
I came away with two tinctures and a sense that I’d shared an hour with a real healer. I didn’t expect such an immediate effect though. When I sat with Steven yesterday morning to run through his plan for the day, there was no croak. I didn’t sound like Phyllis from Coronation Street. I went off to work and five clients later, the voice was still holding up. I stayed at the flat overnight and by the time I got back to Steven at midday, I was feeling pretty chipper.
The weekends are always full on, vocally. Two hours of taping. An hour of an old Top of The Pops. Two hours of music DVDs. And a new series of Strictly starting and intensive back stories for all the contestants to be developed. By the time the night shift worker arrived at 9, Phyllis was back. I went off for a gargle and to tincture my tonsils. Steven wanted to know what the odd noise was & I told him I was taking my medicine for my bad throat. Bang. The unspoken had been spoken. And all his fears of me being ill and him being taken away again burst out. Five years on and the anxiety never abates.
I spend a lot of time with clients considering whether it is possible to ever leave a traumatic experience from the past behind. You can talk it through over and over. You can become more conscious. You can spot triggers. You can make changes that are in your power to avoid a recurrence. You can heal, with or without a tincture. But when something was so painful, so threatening to everything you need for a sense of self and safety, the scars will always have a rawness that time cannot completely repair. Damage limitation, perhaps, should be the goal. We’ve done the social stories so beloved by social care but frankly, they don’t even touch the sides.
Trying to help Steven understand his own emotional process is tough. Having a conversation about Kurt and Roland from Tears For Fears and what they eat for Saturday tea gives him an emotional security. To have that conversation punctuated by a coughing fit delivers the opposite of emotional security.
From → Social Care