As I write this, I am coming to terms with the fact that my country will be adding to the number of people affected by acts of war. Some of these will be abused in the sense of the word I used when working as a psychiatric nurse with adolescents. However being forced to flee one’s homeland and having parents and loved ones killed by bombs/missiles is also abuse.
Having got that off my chest, I can continue.
When I worked with young adults between the ages of 18-21 many of them had been abused either physically or sexually. While working at Northgate Clinic an innovative medical director supported my training in aromatherapy and massage.
My experience was that many of the young people there found massage and aromatherapy helpful in learning to love their bodies again, and learning that touch can be a positive thing. There, unlike now I always had a chaperone present with me in the room. There was something special about seeing young adults growing and learning alternatives to cutting their arms or other parts of their bodies as a way of coping with emotional problems.
I saw this happen again and again, many if not most of them learning the skills that would prevent them becoming long term users of the mental health system. This was not just down to massage and aromatherapy. The young people involved, all had individual therapy every week and group therapies of different sorts several times a week.
Essential oils I used in this environment included Bergamot, one of the best oils for depression and Jasmine which I used for emotional healing. I used many other oils depending on the exact problems and symptoms the young person presented with. As well as the massage and aromatherapy, another part of their healing was often that I was not repulsed by their bodies.
Many feared that others could see what had been done to them as if it were written on their foreheads, Many had been told that it was their own fault for having attractive sexual bodies. (Some had this as their reason for cutting themselves, others became anorexic believing that they could avoid becoming adults in this way.
I see some adult clients who have been through similar experiences when young. Two have said that they wished they could have accessed the type of unit where I worked when they were younger. Others have said that they were not ready to make the changes they have made till they were older.
I feel very fortunate that I have been able to be a part of so many people’s healing and that they have trusted me enough to let me help them. I am also aware that not everyone would choose the routes those I have helped have chosen. Some find a different way of coping and sadly some never really find a way of resolving what has been done to them.
I urge those who come in contact with such people to avoid judging them as whatever therapy training if any is involved, acceptance is what makes the most difference.
This brings me back to where I started. If we were better at accepting others,and previous generations in the West had been better at it, perhaps we wouldn’t now be bombing those we are unable to accept.