Heal to be Healthy
I was talking to a friend on the phone the other day. She’s going through some sh*t right now. She was very down, and telling me all about it. As we were talking she got another call, so I was put on hold. When she got back on she was laughing and said “Man, I can turn ‘it’ on when I need to.” She talked about how for the person she was helping on the other line, suddenly her entire demeanor changed, and her peppy ‘How can I help you?’ voice came out…
We’ve all been there. How often do we say we’re ‘fine’ when we’re really not? A lot. Those of us with the most “arrows” in our backs are often the ones caring and tending to the needs of others before our own.
One of the biggest steps for me in my journey was when I finally admitted that hurts and trauma from my past were affecting me in the present. For many years I believed that childhood trauma, relationship trauma, EMS trauma didn’t have an affect on me… and the thing is I truly believed it because I didn’t dwell on those things.
I completely ignored the arrows in my back.
Eventually, I acknowledged those arrows existed, but instead of removing them fully, I simply snapped off the shaft. I left the arrowhead buried beneath the skin. I wanted to look normal because I was ashamed of those wounds… they made me feel broken and weak. So, I focused on other people, or goals, or whatever… anything but the hurt. I wanted to appear strong and arrow free, but the reality is all of those arrowheads in my back were still affecting me no matter how I chose to ignore them. It made me reactive in life instead of proactive. It made me lash out at others, and I had no idea why. It affected my self esteem. It made me turn to booze, food, exercise, relationships, work, busyness, etc. to ease this feeling of uneasiness… but the pain never went away. Instead it festered and grew more painful over time.
We have a saying in EMS… “all bleeding stops eventually”. Yes, this is true, but whether we live a happy, healthy and thriving life, or die a slow death, is up to us.
We all have trauma. ALL OF US.
It probably isn’t our fault how those arrows impaled into our backs, but it is our responsibility to remove them… AND to tend to the wounds until they are healed. We must remove those arrows completely, or it will hinder what we are capable of in this life. It will have an affect on our physical wellbeing, as well as our emotional and mental wellbeing. It will affect our relationships with ourselves and with others.
Once the wound is healed, the scars will remain. We may not want to show them to everyone, but those who love and accept us fully will love us because of our scars, not despite them.
Personally, I’ve used counseling, EMDR, EFT (tapping), writing, and so much more to work through my trauma. I have removed so many “arrows”, and yet, I occasionally come across one buried deep… and of course new arrows are always flying. #life Amiright?! 😉 Because I’ve done the work I have I recognize my unhealthy coping mechanisms much faster… these are behaviors that take me further from the person I want to be. Now, I take the time to analyze why I’m behaving that way instead of getting angry with myself for having those unhealthy habits and behaviors to begin with. I can’t always find the exact arrow immediately, but I eventually do, and sometimes I stumble across another one I didn’t even realize existed along the way. I care for myself, and I let myself heal. I’ll never be arrow free, but I will continue to do the work of removing them as long as I live. Because of this healing journey I am able to stop myself from self-sabotage much quicker… I am stronger and healthier mentally, emotionally, and physically than I have ever been before… and in turn I am able to help others much more effectively.
Today is #worldmentalhealthday. Your mental health affects your physical health and vice versa. You can eat the vegetables… you can drink the water… you can exercise until you can’t exercise anymore, BUT, if you don’t deal with the arrows in your back, you’ll never be who you want to be… believe me, I’ve tried. 😉
Go to counseling. Write. Acknowledge your wounds. Forgive. Love. Release. NONE of this makes you weak… it makes you strong. You deserve a life that’s happy, healthy, and thriving. It only takes ONE person to change your life… YOU. ❤️
Stay healthy, friends.