I recently became the support person for someone struggling with mental health. Now I won’t tell you who or what or why because that’s their story to tell. What I will tell you is that it pushed me to seek therapy to be the best support person I could possibly be. Little did I know that opening that door would put me on the most painful journey of my life.
I’ve done a quick stint in therapy before. If you’ve read the blog since the beginning, you know that I used the 5 free therapy sessions my insurance gave me to process my separation from my ex shortly after we split. At the time I felt like the therapist was mildly helpful, but with only 5 sessions there was only so much you can do. After that, I did a lot (or so I thought) of inner work on myself, went down the path of healing, and a journey to find self-love. Did you ever learn about how most of the mass of an iceberg is below the surface? We only see a small fraction of the whole iceberg, and while that seems pretty massive, there’s an overwhelming amount of ice that’s hidden. I look back on that time in my life now and compare it to the iceberg. I “healed” the part that I could see and didn’t look deep below the surface to see the parts that I didn’t.
Unfortunately, unhealed trauma is not quiet, but it’s sneaky. You may not hear it at first, and you may not hear it all at once, but there will come a time when the screams are too loud to ignore. It starts to show up in your daily interactions, the choices that you make, and most definitely in your relationships. This is the moment when you are presented with two paths. The seemingly straight and narrow path that appears to be filled with flowers and sunshine, or the deep and winding path that leads you through the darkest parts of the woods. Which one are you going to take? Will you go alone, or will someone hold your hand through it?
Being the support person isn’t an easy role for anyone but doing so while also juggling your own mental health feels like you are carrying the weight of the world. That’s not to say I’m not blessed and grateful to be this person, but it’s a very difficult balance. You find yourself giving every ounce of oxygen you have to them, but that leaves none left for you. So, all of that ice under the surface gets heavier and heavier. I started to worry more about myself than them, so I shared this with the therapist, and she agreed. She said, “What if I told you that I’m more worried about you too? That on a scale of 1-10 I put them at a 3 and you at a 9.” And then, she showed me that deep, dark path through the woods. Trauma Therapy. She said she’d hold my hand through it all, especially if I didn’t have anyone else’s hand to hold. That this would be messy. So messy. And we’d need to warn those around me that it wasn’t going to be pretty. But at the end of it all, it would be worth it, I would feel worth it, and I would be amazing.
So, what is trauma therapy and why am I sharing this with you? Stick around and I’ll explain, while I try to reduce the stigma around trauma and mental health by sharing my journey just as I have done in the past. I’d love to say I’m about halfway through this journey, but realistically I’m probably about a third of the way through so I’m sharing on a delay. Mainly, because it’s messy and takes time to process, but also because I want to be purposeful in my sharing and write when my head is (somewhat) clear.
Words are life to me and each time I go through something, I find words or quotes to help me validate my feelings. Same reason I write I guess. So, for now, I’ll leave you with a dump of words I found meaningful in my journey so far. None of them are mine. Keep what resonates. Sending love to those who need it. You never know what another person is going through, so always be kind.