CW: Suicidal thoughts, depression, childhood trauma.
: to make well again : to restore to health
: to make free from injury or disease : to make sound or whole
: to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome : mend
Healing. What is healing? This may seem like a bit of a silly question, but a number of years ago when I first got told ‘It’s time to look to start healing’ I had no idea what this meant.
Here we have in front me an enormous iceberg made up of pain, suffering, childhood trauma, hurt, repression, chronic depression and I am supposed to…heal.. how?
What angle do I come at this from because I mean, of course I would like to heal but I have spent my entire life to this point surviving..coping..hanging on by a singular thread and now I am supposed to go at this thing with my teeny tiny pickaxe of want-to-get-better and start whacking away at this great thing? lol ok.. (I wish I could insert memes).
‘To make well again: to restore to health’ if I’m being honest, I don’t think I have ever known what ‘well’ felt like. For as long as I can remember I had been clouded, weighted and although many beautiful experiences had popped up along the way, I had never truly enjoyed life. Much of the time it was ‘forced fun’ or ‘this is what you do to be happy’ take a few photos to try and showcase a side of happiness on social media, then return to my overwhelming wants for life to end and to be ‘free from everything’. Everyday wake up, fight that imaginary fight, wake up to do it all over again.
Whats the saying where insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting results? I think that might actually be it. Or something along those lines. But you get it, in the years prior to my breakdown ( ‘Fake it till you make it’
) I was so conditioned to feeling the way I did that I never really did anything concrete to try and change it. Just waited for the day it went away, with the odd bit of counselling here or a trial of another medication there. I just tiptoed delicately around the iceberg, ostirching (burying said head in said sand) until I involuntary had to change.
‘To make free from injury or disease : to make sound or whole’ To make whole. I like that phrase. To feel ‘whole’. It’s paradoxical to the brokeness we can embody with depression and feeling ‘whole’ or ‘complete’ seems like the end goal right? For me, I don’t think feeling whole can be an end status because life is exhausting and there will be numerous times throughout your life where you will feel ‘broken’ so it is about really embracing those moments or days or even minutes where you feel a bit more whole than usual.
So again, how do we start to heal?
What constitutes healing?
How do I know if I’ve healed?
Well to begin, each of us are different and what encourages us to ‘start’ is going to vary but the important factor is wanting to do it for yourself and not others around you. Yes, we love our close ones and want to get ‘better’ for them but if that is our foundation ultimately it is not sustainable and in my case, I actually became resentful of having people I cared for because it made wanting to end my life ‘complicated’ (there is far greater complexity to that statement of which I hope can be understood).
YOU need to feel worthy to heal for YOU. You need to believe, even a tiny bit, just a smidgen (because it will grow) that you deserve to feel all the good stuff.
There isn’t a ‘right or wrong’ way but there are escapism traps we may fall into that we think are helping but are actually exacerbating and adding more ice to iceberg.
The reason I’m writing a post on healing is because tomorrow I start group therapy and I am so anxious (even more so than usual) that I have tried to take a step back and look at why I want to do this and the benefits that come from ‘healing’. (How many more times will I say healing?) and I wanted to share because therapy and professional ‘help’ I think needs normalizing. I sometimes feel I’m surrounded with people doing yoga and drinking ginger tea and telling me it will cure my mental health but for many of us, although they may lessen the impacts – we need to get to the route cause of iceberg (the under the sea bit). Wow I’m so cringe and cliche I know but I am like this in everyday life and it’s not as annoying as it may seem because shit analogies are helpful for me (lol).
I want us to understand that healing isnt just a word to get thrown around on twitter or facebook, it is brutal, isolating, exhausting and at times, completely consuming…but..always a but…taking rewards of taking those steps are unimaginably brilliant.
Healing is continual.
It is not linear. Sometimes you might feel like you’re going backwards but reliving trauma can disguise itself.
There is no quick fix.
You have to invest in yourself fully; emotionally and physically.
The idea of starting to confront experiences that had caused so much on going pain, was pertifying and the idea of ‘opening up’ seemed like an impossible task. Opening up for the reason of ‘getting better’ not because I felt obligated to or on impulse (you know, when everything has been bottled up and suddenly you drop a pen, breakdown and 20 + years of heartache spills out over a bottle of vino to a poor unsuspecting bystander leading you spend the next 111 days overly analysing and trying to remember all drunken words said ever).
But now, although I still feel like an anxious wreck, it doesnt feel impossible…I feel that there is a bit of power in me to go in tomorrow and open the door for the next ‘stage’ of healing. So right now, it can feel extremely distant and somewhere you may never get to – to consider, is a step in itself and is the first part to change.
‘To cause an undesirable condition to be overcome’ well, I’m going to go out on a wim and say depression/anxiety (mental health difficulties as a whole) are pretty undesirable. I can’t say whether it will be completely overcome so all I can do, is keep trying different avenues that work for me to give myself the best possible opportunities for the ‘undesirable condition’ to be overcome.
- It is an incredibly brave thing to want to try and fight against how you’ve been feeling, brave is a word we need to tell ourselves more
- Your journey is your own, try not to get sucked in to what we see online in terms of mental health and ‘treatment’
- You are worthy of living a life free from ‘pain’
- Be patient, you are rewriting your narrative from scratch…give yourself time
Photo cred: me