Surviving the trauma of grief: Tayo’s story

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Dropping her little brother so immediately despatched shockwaves by way of Tayo’s life. This traumatic life occasion resulted in her having to develop up too quickly, feeling like an outsider, and experiencing extreme anxiousness

The 17 August 2009 is the day my life modified eternally. My household and I had simply returned from our annual vacation within the New Forest – my brother and I liked going there. We had the time of our lives, with the ability to stick with our mum, grandparents, and their two little Westies in our cell house located on a enjoyable vacation park. One way or the other, we might all squeeze into my grandad’s automotive, and escape for the week throughout our summer time vacation. However this time was totally different. Shortly after we got here again, my little brother Leon fell in poor health. He was admitted to hospital the place he deteriorated quickly. He had been identified with encephalitis – irritation of the mind.

Every week after Leon initially fell in poor health, he sadly handed away, aged 10. I used to be 13 on the time, and I actually didn’t know what I used to be going to do with out him. It was as if my world fell aside earlier than my eyes, my life ruined earlier than it had even actually begun.

Dropping Leon left simply my mum and I in the home; we needed to come to phrases with a brand new dynamic, and that was scary. I went from being a carefree and worry-free 13-year-old, to a fully-fledged younger grownup who was grieving and coping with overwhelming anxiousness. For the primary time in my life I felt like an outsider, like my friends have been dwelling their lives as regular whereas mine had stopped. All the feelings that got here with rising up and navigating my teen years, together with immense grief and trauma, was a heavy burden to hold.

Tayo and Leon in 2002

Through the week main as much as Leon’s demise, I prayed he wouldn’t be taken from us. Even the considered that nightmare changing into a actuality made me really feel sick to my abdomen. I couldn’t think about life with out my stunning brother. He had a lot to reside for, and so many goals and aspirations to fulfil. Leon’s final objective was to play for Chelsea, his favorite soccer group. There was one thing so totally different and particular about him, he simply shone. Leon and I had an incredible childhood, we had probably the most unimaginable household and mates who made it actually magical.

However on the day he handed away, it was as if my childhood was over and the doorways to the grownup world opened – and it terrified me. I noticed the merciless facet of life, and I actually wasn’t prepared to see it. My life had taken this extremely surprising flip and I discovered myself, together with my household, feeling this excruciating ache inside. I knew I must reside with this damaged coronary heart for ever, however that I’d be taught to deal with it.

Leon and I have been extremely shut, we had a bond like no different. From the second he was born, he lit up my life. I at all times felt extremely protecting of him; I liked being his massive sister. I knew he was a novel and particular soul, the phrases ‘too stunning for earth’ are boldly seen on his headstone.

I used to be left utterly traumatised by what had occurred to Leon, I started to have plenty of flashbacks of occasions, and that stopped me from getting a great night time’s sleep. I may see and scent issues that introduced me again to horrible moments. After I returned to high school, I discovered myself within the counsellor’s workplace greater than at school.

One factor I used to be very grateful for was the truth that my faculty was so understanding and supportive. I developed unhealthy anxiousness once I was going into yr 10, which meant that I struggled to sit down in lessons and exams. The anxiousness felt like a scar born out of my trauma, like an individual breaking bones or feeling bruised following an accident.


Tayo graduated in 2018 with a first-class honour’s diploma

My battle with anxiousness got here utterly out of the blue. I used to be sitting a mock examination one afternoon once I started to really feel actually nervous. I may really feel my coronary heart beating at a sooner price, and my palms started to get so sweaty that I struggled to carry my pen. My abdomen was churning, I couldn’t make sense of those feelings. However I realised the sentiments weren’t too dissimilar to what I felt in the course of the week Leon was in hospital. I seemed across the packed corridor to see if anybody observed what felt like an eruption in my physique, and I finished my examination. I saved trying on the door pondering it was so shut and I may simply depart this horrible scenario, however I took deep breaths and stayed.

From that day on I developed a concern of silence, and determined that any scenario that would come with a interval of little noise was a hazard zone. The anxiousness alienated me from my mates much more, as a result of I used to be but once more going by way of one thing that I felt nobody may perceive. I may not interact at school life like everybody else, so this was one more reason to segregate me extra. My mum and I made a decision that some further remedy might assist what felt debilitating.

I attended Youngster and Adolescent Psychological Well being Companies (CAMHS) and commenced cognitive behavioural remedy (CBT). The remedy was very a lot targeted on attending to the foundation of what should be blamed for my anxiousness, and organising conditions that have been like my ‘hazard zones’.

“The anxiousness felt like a scar born out of my trauma, like an individual breaking bones or feeling bruised following an accident”

I continued seeing therapists over the course of my time at secondary faculty, and I practised totally different coping mechanisms, together with deep respiratory and mindfulness, with the intention to stop myself slipping into what felt like insufferable anxiousness.

I spent loads of time finding out at house, in addition to at school once I may cope, and I made certain I stayed targeted on my research. I knew that Leon wouldn’t need me to surrender – he knew that I at all times dreamt of being a journalist, and to a level that dream saved me going. To my shock, I left faculty with actually good GCSEs, I went on to school to review my A-Ranges, and finally made it to school to review journalism.

I graduated from college in 2018 with a first-class honour’s diploma. It was considered one of my proudest days, as a result of that 13-year-old woman all these years in the past would by no means have imagined I’d have the ability to obtain that. I nonetheless struggled with my anxiousness, but it surely improved over time. So, I sit right here right now, aged 24, and I can’t fairly imagine all the trials I’ve confronted in my life thus far. I really feel as if my trauma made me a smart lady earlier than I had even change into one. One lesson I’ve learnt, is you can by no means underestimate your energy, I’m a survivor, and for that I’m so proud.

Rav Sekhon | BA MA MBACP (Accred) says:

Tayo’s inspirational story actually touches on the unhappiness and ache that may be skilled once we lose somebody near us – a sense that’s much more tough to course of as a toddler. Though it has been difficult, with braveness and energy, Tayo has been capable of work by way of the trauma and overcome her anxiousness. This expertise has helped Tayo to develop, and she or he completely deserves to be happy with who she is right now.

To attach with a counsellor to debate methods to navigate grief, or methods to handle overwhelming anxiousness, go to

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