Wake up, show up at work, show up for your family and friends, dying on the inside, but masking your hurt with fake smiles, social drinking, binge watching and anything else. It has become easy to hide behind computer screens when we are faced with life’s hardest challenges, and often we dodge our friends who could probably tell something is wrong. We finesse our way through our day only to fall apart at night silently, alone, and isolated.
There will be quite a few of us who will live to tell our tales of surviving depression, and various stages of mental illness, unfortunately, some may not. They will have become masterful at blaming their low energy on work, or stress, but they will never admit to feeling choked and oppressed by their lives. They will never speak about taking breaks to cry at work in the bathroom, countless hours researching the easiest way to die, and will not share the drafts of the suicide note they’ve edited hundreds of times. You will never know until you are crying as they lay in their casket wondering how this could have happened.
Children who are not allowed to speak or cry freely with repress their emotions until they no longer can. At some point everyone boils over, and all of their painful emotions bubble to the top. Repressed children do not have to become repressed adults IF they take serious measures and steps to work through vicious cycles of untreated pain. How does anyone come to the point where they know they have something to work through?
At some point, there is a reality that no amount of praying, hoping and wishing will take away. You witnessed the moments where your caregivers weren’t too right. You saw the days when they could not get out of bed, and you compare that to your own inability to get out of bed. You observe your caregivers lack of sleep, and extreme moments elevated joy, but followed by periods of rigid and outright wicked lows. You see yourself displaying and living out these same behaviors, and you wonder; is there a connection here?
In order for us to break cycles of silent pain, we have to put measures in place to protect us while still holding us accountable for our communication. What good is a group of people put in place to support, if we do not tell them when they are needed? Many of us have limited experience with coping with pain, and even less experience coping with long term emotional pain. We have to create the presence and opportunity for ourselves, to find healthy coping mechanisms so we can break the cycles that had us believing trauma has to stay with us forever.
We know better than our parents did, and therefore we have to do better. We want to arm our children with tools which will support their mental health and wellness. They learn that their lives, voices and sadness matter when they have the room to put their emotions on display. Knowing, and being shown that you matter creates trust and an opportunity to be honest when things do not feel right. Your voice matters. Your wellness matters.