There is no denying the fact the living with mental and chronic illness is a challenge. This seems especially true for those of us who have also experienced trauma. Childhood trauma sets us on a path that leads to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and attachment issues. Many live in this state of maladjustment for years, often unable to recognize that something is wrong until we are well into adulthood, believing it to be the norm.
At some point in our lives, we begin to acknowledge the effects of childhood trauma. For some, this awareness surprises us, when we find ourselves, once again, in traumatic situations. For others, this awareness has a way of sneaking up on us, as we struggle with confusing and frightening emotions. Often times attempting to keep them at bay through unhealthy coping mechanisms. The faster we try to run away, the stronger the fear latches on. We continue, creating a hell far worse than the one we run from. For some, this is necessary… We come to a place where the only choice is to die or heal the wounds.
The mere thought of having to face our fears, our trauma, our sadness is enough to make us want to run, or bury our heads deeper in the sand. But there is a new possibility. There is a way out. The strength and courage it requires for us to seek help and healing through therapy is a victory on it’s own. We are courageous beings, willing to give reality a chance before there is any evidence that it will serve us. If this isn’t bravery, I don’t know what is. If we can believe in even a glimmer of hope, then it is time to let the flames carry us home, where we are safe to melt and feel. To keep cracking open so that the light that is in us can begin to pour in and out. It may feel that we are breaking, but in the breaking begins the process of putting ourselves back together again, waiting, and working to discover the beauty, freedom and hope of our existence.
I believe, with the entirety of my being, that people who have any type of chronic illness, mental, physical or both, are inherently sensitive and compassionate. Able to feel intensely and hurt immensely at the slightest suffering, in the tiny bird flung from her nest, in the summer leaves beginning to yellow, in the butterfly with tattered wing, in the single tear of a child. We have compassion beyond bounds and must work to give ourselves the same compassion that we give to others. We need each other. The world needs us.