When I asked Nadia to join me for breakfast, I barely knew them. Two hours with them taught me to listen, to be open to all ways of healing, and to love unconditionally. By loving unconditionally I mean to love everyone and without judgement, to see past my background and education to appreciate the beauty of humankind. Nadia has a lesson to teach: be kind. Their experiences could have turned them into a vengeful and lost individual, but they turned life around and embraced vulnerability as an opportunity. I could write a story about Nadia and drop a few quotes, but instead I will let you read what she wrote after our breakfast:
“I’m 23 and studying Gender, Policy and Inequality.
At first when I handled things on my own I managed my anger by feeling numb. But then I made beautiful friendships that really helped me to work through this, who supported me through everything and they have really been my family throughout my life, they showed me what love is and what it feels like.
When I say drugs I think it’s important to distinguish that I mean natural psychedelic drugs. Natural psychedelics have been used as a medicine for much of human history – some argue most – and broke my world open just when I needed it. Of course, taking psychedelics needs to be done in a balanced way, with knowledge about what you’re doing. Otherwise it can be dangerous, like anything which is used to excess. Personally, I became aware such depth of experience and emotional capacity – things outside of anger and greyness. It flooded colour into my world. One of many reasons why I love rainbows! Experiencing this depth really helped deal with my anxiety and change my psychology for the better. Exploring your consciousness is so important for self-development, and helps you to go outside your ego temporarily changing your reality and see things from somewhere else. That’s why there are serious campaigns to integrate them into therapy. It also installed in me strong spirituality which I never thought I’d have growing up as a serious atheist.
Feminism was another big part of thriving past traumatic impacts of the past. Feminism gave me some understanding and explanation for the roots of my pain, rage and the suffering I saw, I also found such love and hope. I think it’s so important for us to move past just ‘surviving’ and to start thriving in life. Feminism helped me with that and gave me the words to speak what I already felt, words for my emotion. It gave be an intellectual basis for my profound sense of equality where I felt instances of hierarchy produces a destructive imbalance – between lovers, friends, socially politically economically – and empathy is central to equality. I found a lot of strength in vulnerability, and by this I mean adaptiveness to the world around me. It must be used with caution of course in relation to others, as vulnerability is often seen as a weakness by a world used to hierarchy and domination; according to these ideas we’re not ready to move past this gendered sense of emotional ‘weakness’ – but within myself as I have felt and seen it as a beautiful part of being alive – it’s also stated in research (Bene Brown as an example), vulnerability is the centre of empathy, creativity – as it allows us to accept the imperfect world and feel connected with it. I think we need to explore this if we want to heal ourselves and the world. I never want to be numb – or simply consumed with only rage – again, I don’t want to numb all my emotions, and this means bearing with the waves of vulnerable experience both positive and negative. You have to bear with – feel it – it until you are past the storm.
Seeing a psychiatrist and other therapy throughout my life has also helped teach me the tools to handle the negative effects of the abuse I experienced. It’s a long and slow process however. I think much of the worlds problems are to do with unresolved trauma, something which most people have, I think everyone should have professional help concerning their mental health – this world is very hard to live in sometimes. Or – as ‘professional’ help is quite a Western idea of managing mental health ‘problems’ somehow try to work through their own trauma. It is usually frowned upon in our society to talk openly about it, but I really disagree with out dichotomous ideas of ‘Normal’ and ‘Mentally Ill’ people. It’s been defined along a narrow colonialist corridor of what we should be, demonising people who are different.
These things all helped with handling past abuse. Much Love ❤ ”