I’m Sarah Mariann Martland. I am a cisgender, thirty-something, woman from North-West England. I use she/her pronouns (or they/them).
I am a complex human who lives in a body that has known chronic, complex trauma, including physical, sexual and emotional abuses since very early childhood. I live with C-PTSD, along with other chronic illnesses. And, while these experiences continue to unfold and shape who I am, in recent years I have been finding new (wonderful and painful) ways to stay in my body and not want/need to leave it as often as I once did. I choose to stay again and again, and while I do not always love or accept the body I live in, I am learning a trust and an awareness of it like I have never known, which has been revolutionary to my life and my experience here as human.
I am deeply committed to unraveling the layers of my trauma (where that is possible) and I am always working on and trying to find comfort and soothing in my life, healing that which can be healed in my life and holding that which can only be held. And I do not believe in any specific model for becoming ‘healed’ or ‘recovered’ or ‘transcended’ from my trauma, as I do not believe all things in my personal lived experience can be ‘healed’, nor do I want them all to be.
I am always interested and open to hearing other people’s experiences of trauma and life (which I believe are all so complex and unique, even where there is deep connection), and I do not accept unwanted advice on how to become ‘healed’ or ‘enlightened’ or ‘better’ for myself personally, unless I specifically ask for or seek out the information for myself. I believe there is a lot of nuance and complexity in how we each use language around all of this (which is continuously changing for me too), and as such, any resources offered in my work are offered in the full belief that you know you best and you are welcome to take what works for you and leave the rest. Truly.
As I believe I know me best, just as you know you best. I trust in your knowing of you and ask you to trust in my knowing of me.
While I bring to all of my work my experience in supporting others with trauma, in various capacities, and a commitment to continued, lifelong learning on trauma and how it impacts us in our bodies and relationally as humans, I will never claim the title ‘expert’ in this. I come here to this space, and all my spaces first and foremost, as human and as a person deeply impacted by trauma, believing community and connection to be such important and often missing pieces in our experiences in navigating life with trauma.
In my complexity, I now work in three different (and often very inter-connected) areas:
Before some years where I could not work due to chronic illness, I worked in the charity sector. Most recently I worked for Victim Support, with people who have experienced a range of traumas, abuses and hate crimes in supporting them to navigate their complex, individual needs, and prior to that I supported unpaid carers in similar ways. All of which provided extensive trainings and a depth of experience I treasure and call upon to this day.
From these working experiences and then, even more so, from my own personal experience in navigating the world while living with complex trauma, I created (and I am the director of) Trauma & Co. This is an organisation that aims to give voice to and support people living with trauma and its complex intersections with being human.
I am currently in the process of getting this organisation registered as a Community Interest Company, as while I am not currently interested in returning to work in the charity sector (because while I carry a lot of valued experience from my time working in this way, I also learned a lot about how I do not want to work – mainly in constant survival mode in trying to get funding amidst national cut backs, ultimately leading to burnout), I do hope to offer services to this community in the most accessible way possible.
In the years before I began working in the charity sector I worked in business/admin roles in the corporate world. I hold a First Class BA(Hons) degree in Events/Business Management, which indirectly led to my work in the charity sector, when I realised how I did not belong in the often oppressive cultures of the corporate world, and so instead I started working in the charity sector, initially in administrative roles, before moving into support roles). With that, and to support me in making my work for Trauma & Co. more accessible to those in greatest need, I began working in Online Business Support roles for other creatives and helping professionals in small and solo business. It is an honour to work with these humans and to support them in their incredible work (which are also intersecting areas to my trauma work, which was important to me going back into this type of work).
I am also a writer, a creative, a human who (most often) writes into the hard spaces of life. Writing and art has saved my life, repeatedly, and I am a huge advocate for its power. My most recent writing can now be found on Patreon, where there are also opportunities to join me in companionship. I have also had the honour to have articles published on websites including Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Women for One, Rebelle Society, The Manifest-Station and The Mighty. My poetry has also been featured in various online journal and anthologies (see website for more details). Some of my work can be found under my previous writer name Mariann Martland.
More about me…
I am a feminist and I do not accept racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, misogynistic, victim-blaming, fat-shaming, dehumanising (list not exhaustive) language and behaviours in my spaces. This space does not tolerate discrimination of any person, nor will I allow others to question another person’s identity here.
I am deeply and continuously in the process of unraveling my own cultural learnings, biases and privileges within myself (because we all have these some of these in us having lived in the cultures and societies we live in, to one degree or another). And I am listening and learning every day, more and more, to the experiences of those with different life and trauma experiences to me, for example to people of colour and transgender humans. And I believe my feelings and comfort are worth less than another’s humanity and safety.
I believe people when they tell me their experience in this life and I will sit in my own discomfort to learn and unlearn, know and unknow and do differently where different is needed.
I believe representation matters and, while I am grateful to and will sometimes share the work of the many people (most often historically white cisgender men) in the mainstream mental health/trauma world whose research and work in this field have been vital to our current understandings of these topics, I hope to continuously seek out and amplify the often under-represented voices of humans with a range of identities, including those of victims/survivors of trauma themselves.
I do not apologise for any of the above. Nor is any of this open for debate. These are some of the parts of my humanity where I create and live from.
I have been dreaming up and working towards my work projects for some years now and I am beyond excited to finally be realising and creating these dreams. I am so grateful to all the people who have supported me in reaching this place, as I couldn’t have got here alone. I look forward to collaborating more as the projects move forward.