Either get out or stay in
I won’t let these dark times win
- JM – HEAL, Strand of Oaks
When I got the chance after a concert by Strand of Oaks in Utrecht to personally tell Timothy Showalter how much the above words mean to me, I got very emotional. “Your music touched my heart” I told him, after which he took my hand and answered “And you guys touch mine.”
Without going into detail, my childhood was not a happy time. I grew up in an environment that was not safe, not a home, where depressions and psychoses also determined my life as a child and where I soon learned that it was best to keep quiet and to drift away into a fantasy world. The world I lived in back then literally felt as dark; a tangible darkness from which I could only sometimes escape for a short moment.
After a long and difficult time I luckily managed to fully escape that world. Physically, but unfortunately not mentally. Now still, I suffer from the consequences of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder); fear, panic attacks, depressed feelings and reliving the past. But it also manifests itself in a more subtle way in the form of insecurity, guilt and an extreme sense of responsibility. Those things are hard, but you do learn to live with it.
Those ‘dark times’ will never completely vanish; they are part of who I am, whether I want to or not.
Reliving trauma on the other hand is much more difficult to cope with because it can occur randomly. Triggered by a song on the radio (‘Fast Car’ by Tracey Chapman), a certain smell (cloves) or without any clear reason at all I slip back into that suffocating darkness from the past. Like a tidal wave that carelessly washes me away. And at times it’s hard to break free from that.
That’s why I was so moved by the above lyrics by Strand of Oaks. The entire song feels like it’s about me; from the text to the squealing, almost crying guitar. So many emotions and feelings come up when I hear this song that I can barely keep my eyes dry.
This song came at exactly the right moment; when I really started to learn how to cope with my trauma and accept it. Those ‘dark times’ will never completely vanish; they are part of who I am, whether I want to or not. They will always remain present in the background. But I am gradually learning how to deal with this, to keep myself from being washed away by that dark wave. I won’t sink to the bottom; I will swim back to the surface. ‘They won’t win.’ ‘I won’t let them.’
Originally published on www.kimsomberg.nl on June 10th 2016
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