I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what comes next after you’ve started healing.
I use the word started because as addicts and those who struggle with mental illness know, the struggle is lifelong. We never completely surrender to healing or health. Even when we’ve been sober for 20 years… or mentally stable for 30… it’s always with us to some degree.
BUT when we start taking steps towards healing and we start seeing changes internally and externally, what happens next?
As I stated before, 2018 was the year of darkness for me. I purposefully and consciously walked into the caves I’d buried long ago to seek healing. It was exactly like you’d think spelunking feels like. Cold. Wet. Dark. Scary. But slowly I began to see healing and subsequently change in my brain, personality and life. I very much so came into 2019 a completely different person… for the good. I’ve had my closest friends point out how I seemed to have shed the shame, fear and smallness I’ve carried around my entire life.
So. I ask myself the question what happens now?
On the other side. Not that I am ever going to be completely on the other side, but now I have healed some very dark deep caverns, now that I have paid the price for the tools needed to traverse these tunnels, and now that I have broken open the entrance to light… what happens?
When it comes to healing, a lot of people don’t even get to this point. They freeze. They deny. They blame. They ignore. They make themselves so busy with monotonous life in order to ignore the emptiness inside. Many self-sabotage for fear of what happens after. The unknown! Many people don’t treat their trauma because they have no clue who they are without their trauma.
Do you remember that scene in the first Jurassic Park movie where there is a glass of water sitting in a cup holder and suddenly it starts to make rings as the footsteps of the dinosaur approach?
That’s the image I tie to the question of what happens next.
Because when you have been one way your whole life, people expect you to be that the rest of your life.
People do NOT like change.
Change is uncomfortable.
I’m OK with changing myself and working towards my healing and better mental health, but I still fear the shock waves that sets off out into other parts of my life.
Thankfully I have a very supportive husband who has been WAITING for this time. How could he be upset with a happier, healthier, funnier, more easy-going wife whose function better as a person? He has even taken the harder things like my boundary setting in stride.
My kids? Well obviously they LOVE a Mom who yells less and crafts more!
But everyone else?
It’s hard waters to navigate because you are propelling forward on shock waves. Getting healthy isn’t like getting pregnant.
You: “Hey friend. I am pregnant.”
Friend: “Wonderful!” or “What were you thinking?!”
But with mental illness it happens slowly over time and sometimes you don’t even realize it’s happening until some of your closest friends are wondering why on earth you no longer do the things you used to do. Whether that’s going out and partying. Or drinking. Or popping pills. Or telling them no and setting boundaries. Some people LIKE you the way you were and the new you… just doesn’t… feel right.
I’ve had some very hard conversations lately and I know I have more ahead.
But if I am going to make 2019 the year of light, the year I live into the new person God has made me, the year I step into what God has called me to, the year I try to show others how to heal because I’ve been able to heal…
That means adjustments and dealing with some uncomfortableness (is that even a word?).
I’m so grateful for a husband who, when I began to set my boundaries and expectations as my new self, was receptive and encouraging. Even when it made him uncomfortable and required him to change or adjust.
Not all of you will have that support.
But if we want to heal… we have to deal with the ripples in the cup of water before it can settle back down.
Some of those ripples are uplifting.
And some will toss your boat and leave you heartbroken.
I want to reassure you that while change is uncomfortable and can make you weary, it also can be very good and clarifying.
Sort of like when you toss that box from your Ex you’ve been hanging onto for years.
You are like a snake sloughing off it’s old skin to embrace his new one.
Keep working to emerge from that cocoon.
The best things come through pain.
You got this.
– Your Mental Health Trauma Momma.
The photo below is a quote I edited. It specifically referred to relationships. I crossed that part off so it can relate to the rest of us as well. 😉