Kindling Space is Happening

Time for another little update! I’ve been enjoying a lot of campfires lately, both alone and with friends, for fun and to cook on. ? 

It’s really grounding me and proving to be exactly the therapy I need at the moment. Nothing else comes close (OK, maybe jumping in the cold English sea in October!). Nature is absolutely the best, and I have written more here about how the flickering flames of fire are nature’s version of EMDR.

I’ve already made some amazing progress with taking this further and setting up the non-clinical, trauma-informed safe crisis space that we need, with a campfire at the heart, that I wrote about the other day.

And now it has a name: Kindling Space. ✨

The beautiful drawing is a gift from @whispering_earth, a wonderful inspiration

I posted about it online in a local Facebook group, and within 24 hours I was absolutely overwhelmed with support from over 200 of my peers who, like us, desperately need something like this. 

Many commented that they have similarly struggled with their own lifelong mental health battles and have never found the right help. Others are professionals, qualified therapists, and even work for the local mental health services, and still also see the need for this. 

It’s equally sad there are so many of us who do need this, but I’m more convinced than ever that the time is now right to build it. And I’m going to make it happen.

I’ve already managed to gather a strong group of 22 local peers (and growing!), with relevant skills & lived experience who really want to help build this safe space that we need. Let me know if you are near Brighton, UK and would also like to be part of this group, contributing ideas & skills to help set it up. 

Even if you’re not local, I’ll continue to share any progress we make to hopefully inspire similar initiatives in communities further afield. Every town, village and city needs a Kindling Space.

I’m also more inspired than ever to carry on raising awareness of complex trauma via the content & resources I usually create, continuing to help you on your healing journey wherever you are.

I wish for every community in the world to have a Kindling Space for those of us who need it, and hope to see you by a fireside one day wherever you are. ???✨

P.S. Yes, they are toe socks! Another new favourite, to go with the barefoot shoes. So unbelievably good for reconnecting to your body & the earth, as nature intended, and something I already can’t live without.

Flickering Fire is Nature’s EMDR

Have you heard of EMDR? You probably have, because it’s the latest ‘revolutionary’ therapy in the field of mental health.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) is not a talk therapy. Instead, the basic premise is that you move your eyes from side to side, whilst thinking of a troubling event or the feelings related to it. You can do this in person with a trained therapist, you can do it online with a therapist’s support, or even by yourself.

There is a proven link between our eyes, and their connection to how the brain stores memories. We already know this from Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the dream stage.

Growing evidence is showing us that EMDR helps the brain process traumatic memories. This evidence means it is quickly becoming the go-to therapy for trauma.

But do you know what is truly revolutionary?

Realising that EMDR is nothing new at all. Psychiatry cannot take credit for it. We don’t need professionals for this, or another acronym. 

I’m not saying that it doesn’t work. It clearly does.

But why? Where did it come from? Why are we only just discovering it?

Recently, I sat in the dark, a candle lit in front of me. I’ve been having a tough time again lately – the trauma healing journey is not a linear one by any means – and a very negative thought came to my mind. 

But as I kept my focus on the candle, flame flickering from side to side, the negative thought disappeared. I tried to hold onto it, but it was gone.

I realised that my eyes were following the flickering flame of the candle, just as they would an LED light in a therapist’s office, or a pixelated ball bouncing across a computer screen.

Fire. Nature’s version of EMDR.

Or more to the point, EMDR is psychiatry’s version of nature’s flickering flame. 

Humans have always experienced trauma. But we used to live in tribes, villages, communities. We used to come together every day around the fire to share stories, cook, socialise and dream. 

Trauma is culturally mediated. In the west, we are told by our family & friends to deal with it alone, go to see “professionals”, pay lots of money for 50-minute sessions, week after week. 

What if nature has all the answers already? And all we really need is to stand by a fire, alongside our peers, supported in community? No pixels required. 

Our disconnection from ourselves, each other and nature is a key part of trauma. And it’s completely left out of modern mental health care. Coupled together, it’s why so many of us are struggling today, and failing to find the help we need.

The need for non-clinical trauma-informed crisis spaces and healing communities is clear.

It’s time to build it.

Let’s start with the fire. ??✨

We Need Non-Clinical, Trauma-Informed Crisis Spaces

Yesterday I wrote a little update on Instagram about the ongoing struggles in my life, with complex trauma at the root of it all. 

Despite a lifetime of asking for help in every way imaginable, I’ve never found the right support. The “help” I’m supposed to accept just makes it worse. Trauma on top of trauma. And I know I’m not the only one who now feels like I need help to ask for help. 

It was amazing to reconnect with everyone through the safe space of my @EyesOnTrauma Instagram page, and feel so heard. It also reaffirms another feeling I’m struggling with at the moment. I wrote about how the first stage of trauma is to feel alone, but now I am beyond that, realising I am far from the only one in this shituation (new favourite word). 

It becomes clearer and clearer that so many of us are struggling with the same things.

And we’ve all had enough. “Mental health awareness” & “it’s OK to not be OK” is absolute bullshit. It is NOT OK to be not OK for so long. It is NOT OK that the “help” causes us so much harm. 

And there is an answer:

We need non-clinical trauma-informed crisis spaces & healing communities. This is so clear to me, and to so many of you. 

I’m making this my mission. The goal is a healing community, beginning with a crisis space. A fire burning 24/7, holding hope even when you can’t see the light. Because suicidal crises don’t stick to 9-5. 

I want to build this for myself, because it’s what I need and deserve. I want to build it for you, because you need and deserve it too.

I want to build it for our ancestors who went before us, who never had the chance to break these cycles. 

Perhaps most importantly, I want to build it for every child who will be born tomorrow & should never have to know this struggle.

So I started yesterday, with a fire. Under the moonlight. Exactly how nature intended us to heal, far from how society thinks we should. We’re going to show them there is another way, a better way. 

I’d like to start with a crisis space in Brighton, UK. i’d love to connect with anybody also keen to make this happen. your words are valuable. Any other support you can offer, also.

Let me know if you’re in. Together we can make the change we all desperately need & deserve. see you at the fireside ???✨