posted on August 28, 2017 13:32
“I was blown away by the support that the organisation provides. It made me feel less vulnerable, that people like me were heard and recognised, so I started reading and signed up for the newsletter”
On Sunday 15th October, 2017, Blue Knot Foundation supporter and childhood trauma survivor, Yvonne Tuohy, will run a half marathon in the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival, to support Blue Knot Foundation and raise awareness of the impacts of childhood trauma.
“I am trying to put as much energy into healing and into surviving – my experience and struggle with trauma has been my own ‘call to action’ and I am determined to raise awareness and help others going through similar experience. This is why I am running for Blue Knot Foundation. Taking part in this marathon the day before Blue Knot Day seems like the perfect opportunity to raise funds and create extra much needed additional awareness”.
Blue Knot Day is Blue Knot Foundation's national awareness day celebrated in October every year. This year it will be held on Monday 16 October. On this day and throughout the week of 16-22 October we ask all Australians to “Unite in Support of Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma”, by hosting events and activities across the country.
Yvonne feels that there are so many who cannot understand the very real and life altering impacts of childhood trauma; who cannot see this as a real illness. “When a child experiences trauma there is a part of them that is locked in time – we cannot simply look at the painful symptoms but must look at the cause, one that must be treated with care and specific understanding; just as you would hold the small child and protect them from the pain they are to endure. The impacts of trauma can be so severe that they result in an unliveable life; we all deserve to be heard and supported. No more fear, No more shame”.
As part of her own recovery journey, Yvonne accessed Blue Knot Foundation resources and information online to help understand her own behaviours and experience more.
“I had reached a point in my life where I finally felt safe – in a relationship where I finally felt truly loved, and that was when I first started to have flashbacks. Memories started to surface and I looked for help. I wanted to understand the fear. I have learned so much about the impacts of trauma on the neural pathways in the brain. Blue Knot Foundation actively works to untangle this knot, to help adults recover, and I was blown away by the support that the organisation provides. It made me feel less vulnerable, that people like me were heard and recognised, so I started reading and signed up for the newsletter”.
The theme of Blue Knot Day this year is “Unite in Support of Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma”, encouraging wide spread, visible community support across the country. This year’s theme builds on the Blue Knot Day 2016 theme of collaboration with ‘Together we lead the way to survivor recovery’. This year we invite all Australians to publicly unite across all communities.
“The Blue Knot Day theme this year celebrates the strength that can be found in unity, in public unity”, said Cath James, Blue Knot Foundation Fundraising Manager. “We encourage individuals, families, employers, media - all Australians to unite in their support for adult survivors of childhood trauma, through Blue Knot Day”.
For Yvonne, “To unite… well it means everything. Childhood trauma is so often covered in shame and isolation – to be heard is key to recovery. To unite is to rescue that child and tell them that there is no more fear – the past is gone and they are safe. I am so lucky to have family and friends who unite with me; so many don’t have this network and are left in the shadows of the past. That’s what we need - more support. This is why we need charities like Blue Knot Foundation. ‘Uniting’ broadens the support and encompasses all. The wider the circle is, the less the isolation is. We need to get to the point where the impacts are talked about, understood and addressed so that survivors don’t feel shame or alienation”.
The 2016 Blue Knot Day campaign was a ‘turning point’ for Yvonne, when she first saw the Sydney Opera House sails illuminated blue. “To see such an iconic landmark change colour in support of adult survivors of childhood trauma was simply mind-blowing. For so long I have believed that to be a survivor of childhood trauma meant shame and hiding in the darkness; unable to stand tall. Blue Knot Foundation achieved something I didn’t know was even possible and it meant so much to be so out in the open. To me, that blue light just blasted through the darkness and shone so brightly. It said – you are heard.”
Recovery from childhood trauma is one journey for Yvonne, as has been her recovery from cancer. “As a survivor of both childhood trauma and cancer, the journey to heal from childhood abuse is the single hardest thing I have ever had to face. People turn away from the issue of child abuse, they don’t want to know it is happening. It’s ok to be open about say cancer, or even general mental health issues, but not childhood trauma”.
“There have been so many times I have wanted to give up, feeling too tired and overwhelmed to continue with the terrifying voices and images of my childhood screaming at me. Many don't understand that trauma changes the physiology of the brain - healthy neural pathways that should be formed during childhood are distorted and the results are damaging and complex. I am untangling the dense tangled knots of my past to arrive to the light and the possibility that recovery will bring”.
To hear more of Yvonne’s story and lend your support please visit https://melbournemarathon2017.gofundraise.com.au/page/YvonneTuohy0.
If you would like to organise a Blue Knot Day event in your community, volunteer your time or find out more, please visit http://www.blueknot.org.au/BlueKnotDay or contact Blue Knot Foundation Fundraising Manager, Cath James, on (02) 8920 3611 / 0472 995 859 / firstname.lastname@example.org.