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If there was only a pill to take away the pain… If there was only a genie who could appear and tap me lightly with a wand and remove the hurt and despair. 

Have you ever wished for that? Have you ever been in so much turmoil or grief that you could not see how you would make it through that moment not to mention making it to another day? I have been there. I have sat on the side of the bed in the dark wishing God away and begging- literally begging– God for some type of quick remedy for the pain I was drowning in. Needless to say, no quick remedy ever came. I had to fight through it, push through it and accept the responsibility of the role that I would have to play in my own healing. I didn’t like it, and I wasn’t sure that I could do it, but it was empowering to know that although I had no control over the situation, I did have control over whether or not I chose to heal and so began the journey.

winding road photography
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Let me digress for a moment. I didn’t just suddenly realize that healing was my responsibility. I had a lot of hidden things from my past in my heart that needed to be dealt with as I tried to figure out the immediate mess that was before me in my present. I had feelings of abandonment, guilt, shame and low self-esteem that I had to contend with because they surfaced in the midst of my dealing with “it”. We all have an “it”- you know that something that happens in your life that literally knocks the wind out of you and makes you question why in the world you were born if it was only to go through “it”. That thing that you can never quite see yourself getting over or getting through…the thing that happened that almost stole your sanity and mental capacity to go to work, enjoy time with your family or eat. Yeah, that “it”. If you are reading this and haven’t had an “it”, keep living. It’s coming. No one escapes this life without having an “it”. The insane thing about “it” is that the incident resurrects those hidden things in our hearts and in the distant, dusty corners of our memories that makes “it” more difficult to deal with. Ok. Keep reading. My divorce brought my abandonment issues to the surface. I feared people leaving my life because that had been the pattern, and because that had been the pattern, I expected every important person to make an exit sooner or later, and because I expected that, I overcompensated in trying to make them stay by taking a lot of their crap and lowering my standards. Does that make sense? So the present issue of my divorce stirred up my past issues of abandonment. Those “hidden” issues made my divorce more difficult to deal with. What was HIDDEN ultimately HURT ME and made the divorce hurt worse. I needed a therapist to help me understand how that worked. I needed God to help me do the work to heal.

man kneeling in front of cross
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My whole point is that the things that we don’t deal with- rather we know that they are neatly tucked away in our hearts or not- are the things that make life challenging to live. The issues and mindsets that come from the problems that we encounter shape who we are, how we think and how we navigate through every day life. Being molested or physically abused or being abandoned by a parent as a child has an effect on us just like being a victim of domestic violence or sexual harassment at work does. ANY type of hurt has the ability to cripple us if we do not deal with it appropriately. It is our ability to push, stuff and hide the effects of those traumatic experiences that slowly eat away at our soul on the inside while the hurt continues to permeate our lives and our relationships. No matter what race, religion, gender or socioeconomic status we identify with, we will face adversity. There will be times in our lives that we question why we go through the things that we do. We will question our ability to handle life and all that it comes with and rightfully so. Questioning and seeking to understand is normal. Hiding and suppressing feelings of hurt and despair are not.

So what am I saying? I will be the first to tell you that I am not a psychologist, counselor or therapist. I am just your girlfriend, neighbor and sister who is concerned at the increasing amount of suicide and homicide that I truly believe is because we are a nation of hurting people, and you know the old but very true adage- HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE. I don’t have the five-step-fail proof remedy for dealing with the things inside of us that hold us back, hinder our progression toward our better selves or, at worst, make us hurt the ones in our lives that we care for. I wish I did. I think that my life would be much different now. I do know that avoidance isn’t the answer. I do know that finding outside remedies to numb the pain doesn’t work. I do know that there is validity to seeking therapy, especially if you find that you are continuing to make the same mistakes over and over or if you have people at different junctures in your life saying the same things about you that needs to be addressed (they are not conspiring against you; what they are saying is probably true). I also know that if you don’t express and address those things that keep you up at night or keep you stuck in fear or anger, they will come out eventually and probably in ways that are not good.

Ask some friends and loved ones- who you know love you and have your back- how they view you. I know. That is a big risk because it means that you must be vulnerable and open to hearing things that you may not like. DO IT ANYWAY. These people will tell you the truth. Afterwards, take some time and be alone with you. Journal and pray about what they said. Listen to that still, small voice to see if it confirms any truth about what they said. Seek counseling, if necessary. Walk in forgiveness- first forgiving yourself if necessary. Read books and articles to help you deal with “it”. Ask God to help you on your journey to HEAL the HIDDEN.

It is going to take some work, but more importantly it is going to take a lot of courage, but you can do it. It will be the best investment you will ever make. YOU are TOTALLY worth the work!

C. Mack

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