I sat across from my therapist, rubbing my fingers against my palms and trying to figure out how to articulate the question that had been burning holes in my mind for the last week. "How long does it take for someone who's been through what I've been through to heal?"
What I meant was, is there some magic, light-bulb-going-off kind of moment where you can say that you're healed? How will I know that I'm not broken anymore?
In previous years, I thought that there was some magical or euphoric sensation indicating such. When I accepted God into my life, I assumed that all of my struggles, both inward and out, would disappear. There were years of running into brick walls because I thought that I had gotten myself together, only to fall back into my old patterns a short time after. I felt this unecessary need to prove that I was not only happy, but that I didn't need anybody to hold my hand; they had seen me go through enough.
On top of that, I carried a false notion that everyone has to deal with their own hell on earth, but they only go through one major crisis and that's it.But I've discovered that we're not limited or immune to any kind of heartbreak, regardless of what it is. For nearly a decade, I endured the hell of being told that everything was perfectly fine at home, yet seeing and hearing that it obviously wasn't. Hell was wondering if my best friend was alive or dead in a ditch somewhere, and wondering why this person pulled away from me afterward. Hell was experiencing the consequences of choosing to live with someone was as equally, if not more broken than I at the time.
Yet, nothing compares to the hell of feeling like you're walking in complete darkness, without hope or guidance. You're alone, because you think no one understands or wants to try to understand. They just tell you to "suck it up and move on." That is a hell we have all been through, but do not have to go through.
Clearly I was not healing. I was only doing my best to survive.
And survival only works for so long.
About a year ago to last weekend, I had a meltdown. It was not the only one, but it was the one where I knew that I couldn't do it anymore. The problems that I mentioned above were crushing my spirit and my soul. I hated the way I saw myself, along with how I was living my life.
Through counseling and a lot of emotional support, I began to dig deeper, and thus began to discover why I was constantly going in and out of these depressive funks. My biggest feat was learning how to actively surrender, mostly in terms of faith and spirituality; to give up the need to have control over what was really uncontrollable. To give up the want to know why everything happens the way it does, for the sake of being able to move forward. If everything made sense right away, there wouldn't be any need to have faith.
The most important thing of all, as well as the hardest, is reminding myself that I can't do it alone.
Read that again: No one can move forward or do anything completely on their own. Forget the individualistic crap and "needing people is a sign of weakness." There is so much strength in weakness,along with admitting and taking the steps to get help.
To answer my question above, I've found getting past any pain or obstacle is not just a sense of peace felt from within, or some destination that you reach and everything afterward is all sunshine and sparkles. It is a path that enables you to see your negative experiences as a way to grow, rather than a way to curl up in a ball and hide, as I sometimes feel like doing. You don't have to deny that it happened or that it's part of your history, but you don't have to let it become you.
A lot of my own healing, and transformation, has come from being authentic and upfront with my loved ones. I'm incredibly blessed by those that sat and talked with me, cried with me, prayed over me, and or listened to what was on my heart. Some of them might not have known that they were being any kind of help, but they were. Being vulnerable is not always easy for me; I used and still tend to put pressure to have myself all together. I'm very independent and stubborn, while I still like being cared for and knowing that I matter to someone.
The other part is a simple, down-to-the-mere-bones kind of Faith; not politics or various inputs about what someone shouldn't think. It's about me taking the time to connect with the One who knows me best. I do keep a journal, and that has comforted me when I otherwise might have turned to other means. More so, it's reminding myself that no matter what I go through, I'm going to be all right
I had a friend once say "look at all you've been through, and you're still standing." It has been a profound journey, one that is seven years in the making, and isn't over. It's not because I'm trying to attain perfection, but because I am always growing and gaining a deeper understanding myself. I'm willing to own who I am and more importantly, what I value.
I'm going to continue with counseling for another semester; I do not see myself as someone that is damaged, but a human being that is a work in progress. There are some unhealthy views and attitudes that I need to let go of, especially when it comes to men and relationships. I know that the majority of it is all in my mind, but its been really tough trying to just not think about it, as some have told me to do. Sometimes it's not just about single-handed events, but collective experiences that keep me from getting what I want or going where I'd like to go. It has created a barrier, and I'll be damned if I let it dictate my life.
Over the years, my Mom would ask me about what had happened to the happy, bubbly little girl that I used to be. The truth is, I thought that little girl was gone and never coming back. But she was just hidden beneath all the garbage and baggage that I refused to clean up for a long time. And as I said before, regardless of what kind of person you become, your true self always remains part of you in one way or another.
While I'm not a little girl anymore, I still have a very girly personality and have no shame in letting it show. I think that's how true healing takes place; that is, being able to find yourself again when you thought that you would always be lost.
All you have to do is start walking. Take your time and don't worry about what anyone else says; it's your life and you need to go at your own pace. And above all else, do what's right for you.