Surviving the trauma of grief: Tayo’s story


Shedding her little brother so out of the blue 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 nervousness

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 beloved 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 dwelling located on a enjoyable vacation park. Someway, we’d all squeeze into my grandad’s automobile, and escape for the week throughout our summer time vacation. However this time was completely different. Shortly after we got here again, my little brother Leon fell ailing. 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 ailing, 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.

Shedding 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 anxiety. For the primary time in my life I felt like an outsider, like my friends had been dwelling their lives as regular whereas mine had stopped. The entire 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 turning into a actuality made me really feel sick to my abdomen. I couldn’t think about life with out my lovely brother. He had a lot to reside for, and so many desires and aspirations to fulfil. Leon’s final purpose was to play for Chelsea, his favorite soccer group. There was one thing so completely different and particular about him, he simply shone. Leon and I had an incredible childhood, we had essentially 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 aspect of life, and I really wasn’t ready to see it. My life had taken this extremely sudden 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 study to deal with it.

Leon and I had 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 beloved being his large sister. I knew he was a novel and particular soul, the phrases ‘too lovely 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 numerous flashbacks of occasions, and that stopped me from getting a very good night time’s sleep. I might see and odor 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 college was so understanding and supportive. I developed dangerous nervousness after I was going into 12 months 10, which meant that I struggled to sit down in lessons and exams. The nervousness 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 anxiety got here utterly out of the blue. I used to be sitting a mock examination one afternoon after I started to really feel actually nervous. I might 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 appeared across the packed corridor to see if anybody observed what felt like an eruption in my physique, and I finished my examination. I saved wanting on the door pondering it was so shut and I might simply go away 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 nervousness 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 might perceive. I might not have interaction in class 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 Baby and Adolescent Psychological Well being Providers (CAMHS) and commenced cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The remedy was very a lot centered on attending to the basis of what was the reason for my nervousness, and organising conditions that had been like my ‘hazard zones’.

“The nervousness 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 college, and I practised completely different coping mechanisms, together with deep respiratory and mindfulness, with a purpose to stop myself slipping into what felt like insufferable nervousness.

I spent a whole lot of time finding out at dwelling, in addition to in class after I might cope, and I made positive I stayed centered 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 college with actually good GCSEs, I went on to varsity to check my A-Ranges, and finally made it to college to check journalism.

I graduated from college in 2018 with a first-class honour’s diploma. It was certainly one of my proudest days, as a result of that 13-year-old lady all these years in the past would by no means have imagined I’d be capable of obtain that. I nonetheless struggled with my nervousness, but it surely improved over time. So, I sit right here right this moment, aged 24, and I can’t fairly consider the entire trials I’ve confronted in my life thus far. I really feel as if my trauma made me a clever girl earlier than I had even turn out to be 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 disappointment and ache that may be skilled once we lose somebody near us – a sense that’s much more troublesome to course of as a baby. Though it has been difficult, with braveness and energy, Tayo has been in a position to work by way of the trauma and overcome her nervousness. This expertise has helped Tayo to develop, and she or he completely deserves to be happy with who she is right this moment.

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


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