Paper Kites

Throughout my life I have felt like a paper kite nearly ready to fly but every time it feels as if my strings get cut. After a while this becomes incredible tiring and disheartening. It continually feels like a dead-end. I move ten steps forward and two back. 

When it feels like all the kites are being pulled down and the sky is empty of colour, this is when I know that my past is affecting my family. I have always been aware of this. I am constantly amazed how well they have all coped.

I feel in cases like mine the story is normally told by the survivor but very rarely spoken from the families perspective, they have a voice that needs to be heard, to be listen to as well.

I have found for people outside of the family to fully understand the difficulties, how much these situations have affected the family and spread into their individual lives. Then the trauma of the past becomes present in the here and now. It becomes hard to push it away. I believe that over the years that is when my family have witnessed so much trauma themselves – seeing me struggle, then when I disclose the attacks it adds another level of trauma to an already heightened level of stress. Then the guilt, the anger, the questions racing around in their heads, it is a continuous cycle, that can be difficult to cope with, then add the stress of work and the unpredictable of daily life. It can reach a point where it is too much to deal with and we start to feel out of control, lost, frustrated and sometimes react/speak in a hurtful way.

These are all normal emotions, everyone reacts differently but sometimes all they want to hear is that you are there for them – whether you disagree how they are coping it is just about being patient and respectful of their feelings. Maybe try and put yourself in their shoes six years ago, when I was very unwell. This is difficult to do. I struggle with silence but we all talk when we are ready, nobody can makes someone talk, even if we have good intentions. Sometimes the trauma is to close and being able to talk to someone outside of the family is helpful, we can be honest without being afraid to talk openly about are feelings. 

I remember a time when I was unable to talk about the attacks, the painful emotions I felt and hurting myself thinking that it would go away but that never helps. It made me feel worse and more vulnerable than before. I know that some people just can’t understand why I would react in certain ways, struggling to understand, this is understandable but nobody hurts themselves or has flashbacks if trauma hasn’t happened. I am still a human being, I just got lost for a while, I don’t expect people to wait until I get better but knowing that they support you and don’t treat you any differently makes the world of difference. 

Maybe if we all became more aware of others and less self-absorbed in our own life. We would become more accepting of other difficulties and less hostile. It is sometimes difficult for people to understand how much this has affected my family and me, the individuals will never understand the magnitude of their actions.

We are all healthy, still together and happy that is so important to me. The more paper kites we let fly, the more colour we will see in the sky. 

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About Rosie Burnham

Twitter: @Rosie_Burnham Blog: Huffingpost Blog: Very Loose Women (ResonanceFM): Women's Health Magazine (Strong Minds Issue):