G’day from Downunder, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
I’m Linda Meredith, mum to 3 young adults and a rescued Manx, Panda. Happily single, an avid reader of all things Complex Ptsd, Neuroscience and Personal Development and a good fiction story. Oh, and a definite Netflix binger as well. Chocolate in one hand, coffee in the other and no off switch until the series is complete. Did I mention gym? No? It helps with the sanity factor of life and I love long distance driving!
Possibly like you, I grew up in a family that externally things seemed normal but behind closed doors the story was different. Multiple generations of emotional neglect and all the problems that go with that – a violence prone, alcohol fuelled, physically, emotionally & sexually abusive, trauma packed family.
Being the eldest I was the very picture of a duck on water. Calm exterior and paddling for dear life internally, day in and day out. At 4 years old my entire world fell apart when one moment I was living with mum, dad and my brother, the next I’m at my grandparents house and my entire family is gone I knew not where.
Mum showed up around 3 weeks later to collect me, but the damage was done. My parents did the usual get back together, and break up again, and when my dad left the second time, the sheer terror that mum would go again was paralysing and migraine inducing.
My brother and I ran away to live with our dad in our teenage years. I didn’t want to go, but being the highly responsible sister I was raised to be, off I trotted. I hoped beyond hope mum would come and get me. Unfortunately this was another layer of abandonment and the first major sign of the impact of the generational family trauma appeared 3 months later.
Diagnosed at 15 years old with Epilepsy, and no one knew why as there was no family history, it was the beginning of my health problems and me acting out. Dad kicked me out of home at the end of the year, mum wouldn’t let me live with my grandmother, so home I went. And I continued to act out whilst appearing to do school.
Parents, they know stuff, so mum packed me off to Secretarial College and then off to full time work I went. Leaving home at the earliest opportunity, travelling to various parts of Australia to live and work, as I felt continually restless and no clue why. Seemingly I was doing all the right things, working, friends, enjoying life, eventually marriage but nothing calmed the storm inside of me.
Motherhood arrived accidentally, but I loved it and was terrified all at the same time. Post natal depression happened, and a year after my 3rd child, all the memories came flooding back of the sexual abuse. Now I know this is actually a normal thing to happen, but at the time the sheer terror nearly had me come undone. I’d spent years trying to find out why I could functional externally but internally nothing sat right for me. I thought I’d arrived at the answer, but no.
Death of my mum, divorce, remarriage, and a massive moment of not feeling safe saw me lose all my cognitive function and become bedridden for over 2 years. I couldn’t walk unaided, couldn’t talk, needed a full time carer and had no memory. In the past it would have been called a nervous breakdown, today it’s called post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, and if my doctors had had the terminology available back then I would have been diagnosed with Complex Ptsd.
But I wasn’t diagnosed correctly. In fact, when I was first diagnosed with epilepsy or even the post natal depression, if a genogram (family medical history which includes events too) was done I wouldn’t have become so unwell. Instead doctors threw a bunch of medications at symptoms of anxiety, depression, migraines and more. Eventually resulting in over medication and declining health.
I began having grand mal seizures, something I’d never had in my life until that point in time. Fortunately a neurologist noticed the over medication. One doctor had me on five and a half times the recommendation dosage of one medication. The neurologist had me admitted to a mental health ward but after three days, an assessment and a seizure they told me I didn’t belong in there and put me in a standard ward.
It took another year of incorrect medication until I finally was able to talk and return to the neurologist. I told her I wanted back on my original epilepsy medication. She agreed and said to me if you need anything else come back, but my guess is you won’t be back. I’d improved enough in the year since I’d seen her (I couldn’t speak the year previously) that she knew I’d get back on track. I’ve never needed to go back.
Once I was on the correct epilepsy medication I continued my journey to uncover what on earth really happened to me plus regaining my ability to walk, talk, have a memory and participate in life. It’s been a long journey until in 2018 I began studying for my Complex Trauma Coaching certification. Finally I began to discover the science behind Complex Ptsd and my health began to further increase as I developed strategies based on the neuroscience.
The ACES study plus books like Complex Ptsd: Survivor to Thriver and The Body Keeps the Score began to put all the pieces of my life and ill health together. The neuroscience on the impact of Toxic Stress is exciting. I’ve created courses and applications, client strategies and more helping myself and clients break free from anxiety and more. Where once I had anxiety attacks that resembled seizures I don’t have them anymore. Where once depression shut down my system I now have taken back my responses. Am I 100% well, not yet, but I just completed an International Holiday minus anxiety and depression where once this kind of trip would have shut me down in ill health for months at a time. It’s only been nearly 2 weeks of needing to rest and no ill health, so progress is being made and I couldn’t be happier!
Today, I actively work my recovery to remission journey every single day. I can study and see clients globally, I can teach and help others and I will achieve my life’s dream to live and work in America, well, between Australia and America. I’ve set up the worlds first Academy for Complex Trauma so we know how and what our next steps are to break free from the toxic stress. I’m super determined to leave no stone unturned so no one has to lose their life like I did.
I’m grateful for the life I do have. Three beautiful children all now young adults a brand new son in law and Panda. Gorgeous friends and community both locally and globally. After losing everyone and everything in my life twice all of this is a gift beyond measure.
My Vision Statement
I choose to walk each day with integrity, honesty, service, respect, excellence and compassion. I will remain focused on the purpose of my life and recognise opportunities for learning and personal and professional growth. I will pursue passionately the necessary education and research to write, to teach and create products of quality and purpose and carry these products and services to an International audience in a creative, informative and encouraging manner. The intergenerational silence has to cease.
“As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.”
Bessel A. van der Kolk – The Body Keeps the Score
And here’s what I know. The Silence Has to Cease. The silence in families where we don’t communicate beyond the surface, the external of our lives, has to be broken. We have to be the generation who consciously chooses to break free of all the multigenerational trauma handed down genetically and generationally. It’s a choice.
We are the first generation with the language and science to back it up. We have to make a conscious choice to break the silence handed down through the family systems to ensure our children and our children’s children have healthier, functioning relationships and cease to hand down the intergenerational trauma.
If we don’t begin to take action now we will have a continuing mental health crisis worldwide – for generations.
As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.
Bessel A. van der Kolk – The Body Keeps the Score
ay you always know there is someone here for you, to connect to, who will also understand your journey. Never be alone, always reach out. You can connect with me and our global family via my Business FB Page or head straight into the FB Group for recovery with incredible people.
Blessings and dreams,