Imagine if we could see the emotional pain and scars represented on the skin of those around us. Festering, oozing, open sores on the skin of those still trapped in their pain and black and blue bruises covering the bodies of those beginning to heal. What about those with scars? Some may hide the scars, embarrassed by their pain and past struggle even though they had to be so very strong just to survive. Those with scars that show, uncovered in the sun, for all to see may be the strongest of all. These are the scars of people who were strong enough to survive, heal, and continue living despite their past. How different would we relate to people if we could see their internal pain? How different would we present ourselves if our past was visible on our skin?
This recent struggle is overwhelming and at times, unbearable. It feels like running a marathon and sensing the finish line is within reach, but suddenly being forced to run with two broken legs. It is the exhaustion setting in along with the absence of rest that weighs so heavily on the body and mind. There is no option to quit. There is no option for failure. I will crawl if I must, dragging these broken and bloody legs behind me to claim the prize – healing, rest and most of all, peace.
This is me today and all of last week with a non-stop migraine. I’ve been out of order but still trying to function. Every task requires so much more effort. I make so many mistakes which take even more time to go back and correct. The pain has subsided – for now, but I am thoroughly exhausted. My body feels heavy and weak. My brain feels like it is swimming in foggy oatmeal and my thoughts are slow and shallow. When I talk, many words are forgotten, slurred or mispronounced. I make no sense, and I recognize the look on my children’s faces. They are worried, scared and try to help me, all the while warning me not to do too much. “We don’t want your migraines to get any worse,” they say. It hurts. It sucks. It scares my children. This is the first time in many months a migraine has lasted more than a day or two. I’m desperate for the end of this episode.
Depression is much more than the feeling of sadness. Feeling nothing is like insulation against the cold, stabbing pain of guilt, anxiety, self-loathing, hopelessness and isolation. Sadness is a painful feeling, but combining it with all the other feelings is overwhelming.
There are undoubtedly many stages and layers of healing but I find most interesting about these six stages is the last one, Maintenance. It involves returning to the earlier stages to continue healings. As I look at these six stages, I see myself in each one, and part of me wonders why I’m not entirely healed. I realize now that I’ve returned to the earlier stages, several times, and my healing is ongoing. It is deeper now than ever before.