Author

Kate Gillie

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Flies

The African sun burns the horizon into a glow before my child eyes.  The red dust fills my nostrils, I’m used to bumping along these dirt roads in the armoured car.  A rudely welded metal monster with slitty slips of light to peer through, but one that would save my life many times over as the ping ping ping of automatic gunfire hit it; hot angry metal jackets looking for a home in my little red headed white skull.  Born into an African civil war isn’t as fun as it sounds. Does it even sound fun?  I think for many there is a romantic image of white Africans in safari gear being trailed by dozens of be-gloved black servants carrying a lion or three from a successful bush hunt. That is pretty accurate for the most part but so is this flip-side of that spoilt and privileged life.  What happens…

See through my eyes for a while

Running free of our past is not possible until those demons have been faced with a thinking, processing brain.   How do you relive the trauma of what happened to you with a brain that doesn’t dissolve when you are triggered back to that place of nightmares?  How do you keep going, keep going back, keep ripping open those wounds until there is nothing left to rip? It is at times too hard to breath.  There are days that the will to push through is beyond my ability.  That is how it feels.  So, thank god for the friends that were there to grab me as I fell, push me back to standing and make me return.  I have one friend who has her own demons, she sees straight through me.  She was the first to realize I was avoiding therapy, avoiding confronting any more – the first time I…

Art Diary with a Difference: EMDR

I loathe floral prints. Floral prints make my skin itch. Imagine living with any number of apparently random but violently real aversions to certain things: smells, sounds and textures.  Add floral prints to that mix.  Add the 80’s and Laura Ashley (may she rot in hell for all eternity… apologies … but really, for me?  I’d have preferred to walk barefoot over hot coals then step into a Laura Ashley store). In the process of EMDR the doors in my labyrinth of horrors slowly swung open, what came out was never pleasant but often it was freeing.  I kept an art diary, as often flashbacks would start with a small image or smell, slowly building from there.  I’d start by sketching a foot or a hand, once the bark patterning of a tree… slowly the image would build as my pencil worked, my brain numb until it was finished and…

LIVING WITH GHOSTS: Early Childhood PTSD

What is it like living with early childhood PTSD? Life is never dull, that’s for sure.  Overwhelming.  Incomprehensible.  Frightening and lonely, but never ever dull. I haven’t always had a name for it, when I was a teenager and young adult I knew I wasn’t normal but each and every head doctor I ever spoke to shook their respective grey heads, told me to keep my pandora box of horrors tightly closed, never ever speak to a therapist because frankly, the child mind is a hell of a lot stronger than an adult’s and nobody would be able to put me back together again if I ever opened those dark treasures in my brain.  I avoided close relationships that asked more of me than I could give.  I was numb to pain and numb to pleasure.  I could walk the walk, talk the talk but it was just that, a…