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  • Writer's pictureGayatree Dipchan

The story of the Trauma Therapist

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

"It's never overreacting to ask for what you want and need" - Amy Poehler

How many of us have felt that there are times that we are asking and no one is listening. We are shouting our needs from the rooftops, and not even our partners, children, friends or family members hear us. Our voices get drowned out by the choir of life experiences - our own lives, and those around us.

I chose to become a psychologist when I was 23. It was a decision made after two years of volunteering in the charity sector in busy London. It was also a time in my life I learnt the difference between wanting to be alone in my own company and being lonely in my flat in East London.

Now to rewind my life, the reality is that before I decided to move from the safety of my parents home in sunny Trinidad and Tobago to the vast wet and cold England, I had a stable and wonderful life. I made the choice to explore the world and with that came the unexpected journey of figuring life without the padded cushions of family and community.

England taught me how to be financially independent, how to manage my time and resources, how to build resilience in matters of the heart and how to plan for a future.

Drowning in my own head

One of the things my husband loves to remind me of is when he met me I had empty kitchen cupboards and would eat when I was hungry. Maybe to some extent that was true, but it was my reality and it was my idea of living at the time. I wanted to succeed so much that I was working full days and continuing with my post graduate work every evening. I didn't even realise I was sinking into an unhealthy pattern of thinking which was affecting my perception. I thought I was living the life of the average 20 year old - everyone else in my circle was working, studying and had a packed social life.

I started feeling the worst type of loneliness even though there were people everywhere, friends I had made, colleagues who were absolutely amazing and a network of family members who made it their business to check in with me regularly. YET, how can I complain? I'm living the life everyone else is living right?

Coming up for air

I met my husband for the first time when I was 18, he was working in a store at the mall and I thought he was charming and handsome. Then when I was 25, he waltzes into my life, changing the whole course of events. He is an explorer, and made sure that every weekend we traveled to different places, visited museums, explored remote villages and ruins and of course we tried so many different foods. I always say he is the one who likes to see me with meat on the bones because even today, he is always excited to feed me :)

It was also the time I decided to specialise in violent and sexual trauma and learning the skills and tools I would need to help vulnerable groups. When I look back at those years, there are some enlightening moments that taught me how to be the best me - a Good Human

When it all changed

Getting married and starting a family has always been in the cards and I love being a wife and mother. We moved back to the Caribbean because of his job and within a few months of returning there I experienced violence. After working with vulnerable communities in London, how could this happen to me and how am I supposed to work through this.

Hear this - Trauma does not discriminate

I sat in therapy for many many months. I could not work for at least the first six months and then can only see few clients without my triggers overwhelming me. For the first 5 years I saw a therapist at least once a month. Before meeting her, I saw three other people who I couldn't connect with and openly share. I would leave those sessions feeling the same way I walked in. This wonderful lady taught me to love myself again. Not the old me, not the me who enjoyed the busy life of London. Not the girlfriend and wife who learnt to love adventure, not the therapist who was proud of her achievements.

This wonderful lady showed me that my journey is not complete. That I can choose to continually empower myself. She encouraged me to go back to the vulnerable groups I was passionate about and advocate for their needs. She taught me that my trauma changed my view of the world, but it didn't change the core values and morals that defined me. She reminded me that I matter and my experience matter but should not define who I am and who I intend to be.

Being the Trauma Therapist

15 years later, I am happy with the choices I continue to make. Learning to ask for what I need from others and not losing my voice in the crowd is still a lesson I am learning. I look back at myself in my 20's, 30's and now in my 40's - I am consciously choosing a life where I am not busy and don't feel overwhelmed. Being a therapist means that I get to enjoy my passion - working with others in their healing journey to achieve the life and outcomes they desire.

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