2020 – The year of living dangerously


This article was first featured in Orb8’s December email newsletter - Subscribe today

At risk of joining what will be a slew of summaries of 2020 titled ‘it’s been a funny old year’ I felt that I could not ignore the realities of this time in my final Newsletter piece of the year. 2020 has been the year of Covid 19 and the need for most of us to socially isolate in some way for long periods, other things have happened but living with a constant menace became the focus of our existence. How might this impact on us in thinking of living and working with traumatised children and adults? Well, it has been a lesson in living with pervasive anxiety, all the time and one does this with a mixture of denial, overwhelm, and acceptance. All of these are natural, sometimes our brain gives us a break and we have a little dissociative I’m fine time and in extremis this manifests in it all being a hoax or a denial of civil liberties, other occasions the reality of looming illness and mortality is very present and we may feel overwhelmed and at worst unable to cope and require others to uphold us and rely on the kindness of family and friends and sometimes on the easier days Covid is part of the mosaic of our existence and we can appreciate the slower rhythms and quietness it has offered. This flowing rhythm like the tides of the sea or the gentle up and down oscillation of a graph plot has seemed obvious in myself and others much of the time. Beyond the easy days and hard days there has been longer cycles of being settled with the reality of the present, enjoying walks, connecting with friends and other times being sunk in a phase of being fed up with this and wanting different, yearning for hugs, real people, group spontaneity and laughter. There has been somethings we have gained or learnt, we have mostly embraced the virtual world of Zoom and social media apps, this has opened up so many possibilities, and I have had people on my training from Lithuania, Portugal, Ireland, Mexico and most recently reached as far as Australia.

In responding to my question about how might this help us understand traumatised children a little more I think a parallel is that the world feels dangerous to them most of the time, and whether this is a current time reality is irrelevant. Most of us will not get Covid and if we do we probably won’t get that ill but the world still feels constantly dangerous and it has been important to know this in ourselves and to be aware of this threat all the time; ‘wash your hands, stay 2m apart, don’t touch your face’; it is to protect ourselves and our loved ones and it is exhausting. Even when Covid has gone, and we are vaccinated Covid would have changed us all, living with this ever present threat and how we have had to function differently to manage it will have changed every one of us and the society we live in. Think of our children as having had to live with an ever present danger for most of their lives and having managed this the best they can and if they are having a day of struggles we all have a much better understanding of what this feels like. So as we leave this year and go into 2021 I offer you all the possibility of being kinder to yourselves and hope you have the opportunity to enjoy stillness, moments in nature and connectivity with loved ones.

In this spirit the Orb8 office will be closed from 14th December to the 6th January to give our small team a chance to be still and look after and care for themselves and their loved ones. There will be a contact person each week just in case there is something urgent but otherwise we will return to you and your queries with renewed energy and our usual enthusiasm in the New Year.

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What do we mean by Therapeutic Foster Care?

I have been very pleased to develop a relationship with the Irish Foster Care Association this year and have presented at their annual conference and fostering week. They also asked me to contribute to their Journal ‘Foster’ on Therapeutic Foster Care. Read more

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