Sanctuary Trauma

Posted: December 1, 2011 by Ty in Musings

Labels are where the root of sanctuary trauma lies. I have endeavoured to create inclusive community wherever I serve, mostly by continuing the practice of life long learning. Discovering what would work for my own family, and if that standard cannot be met then it is time to reassess what we are doing. It also comes down to the eternal question we learn from toddlers in regards to all we do, “Why”.

But for boundaries it is also realizing that I cannot state I have healthy boundaries on disclosure and then expect those I serve to have unhealthy boundaries by disclosing everything and the kitchen sink. A trusting relationship in life recovery is equal parts give and take, a slow dance not a fast hip hop.

The following is a reflective piece I wrote on myself and what it means to be included in community from my life journey after our time together in class on Friday.

Why Serve?


This past semester I have been enrolled in the Certificate for Working with Homeless Populations through the University of Calgary. This past Saturday we discussed a new topic arising in the social sciences, that is “sanctuary trauma” (no its not a church thing), it is how our systems of help traumatize a person.  Why does this matter to me? It’s professional but more importantly personal.

For sanctuary trauma stems from lack of community, it stems out of stigma and it stems from fear of the unknown. I know this because I have journeyed my life carrying different labels of others, labels that I have now taken on as empowering titles, like I pray one day our guests will take on their negative labels.

What labels? Simple, as a child I had convulsions, some times I would stop breathing, I was placed, as most kids were of my generation, on a very powerful anti-psychotic to stop them. The label that followed me medically was that I would eventually be a burn out.  To the struggles of creativity (where do fantasy & reality separate?). My brain chemistry was changed I had heightened anxiety, there was hallucinations (auditory/visual) I had and felt off kilter, which was compounded with grief of close family friends, and fear of making friendships for my inner trials being discovered. Yet I made it through school with honours & channel my uniqueness into my writing & publishing thanks to a supportive family structure, but what if my parents just thought I was eccentric? Weird? Or disengaged? Then I probably would have lived into the labels of lazy, overweight, “retarded” as one teacher said about me in Junior High when I disclosed my health history, instead I knew I had value.

Value which even after diagnosis in my mid-twenties with depression and anxiety that would be a life long “trial”—No—a way to experience the world, taking proper physical care, my medication, and knowing that the reason I have a mental health issue is because of the illness I had as a child and a treatment that almost killed me-yet—in spite of the lingering effect, here I am and what have I learned? That labels are irrelevant, what is relevant is people coming around you, caring about you, believing in you…labels are how we experience the world, not who we are, who we are…is a person.


  1. supportzombies says:

    Hunny, you are more than any label can explain. You are an amazing soul and the one that completes our family. I love ya!

  2. mercadeo en linea says:

    Psychopaths enjoy lying both because of the power it gives them over others and because of the risk of getting caught. The problem remains, of course, that the risk is always minimal and therefore never quite thrilling enough. To take a real risk in life, one has to value something or someone, so that one fears losing that thing or that person. Psychopaths can’t value anything but their immediate appetites and anyone but themselves. If they lose their jobs, there’s always another one just as good (even when there isn’t). If they lose their money, they can always mooch off or scam someone else. If they alienate their partner, there’s lots of other fish in the sea. Since the stakes are always so low for psychopaths, their thrills are also very fleeting.

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