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Forget Me Not: Choosing Survivor Status
I’ve noticed a trend; one I can relate to all too well. There are a lot of people out there, men and women, who know they need help, but fight the prospect of actually seeking it out. I was there. At times I still am. It’s kind of like losing weight. I know I have gained weight and it is affecting my life. I’m sluggish and cranky, my clothes don’t fit right, and I feel a little too self-aware (and not in a good way). It affects my attitude and my demeanor, how productive I am, and my general outlook on life at times. But, cutting the sugar and going to the gym are a little more work that I’m ready to put in.
Emotional healing is the same way. I know I’m not acting right, but I don’t want to fix it. I know I don’t feel right, but I tell myself that I’m stronger than this and will get a hold of my emotions soon. I don’t want to feel weak, but I don’t have time to work through these issues. Help is needed because I cannot keep living my life this way, but seeking it out is a little more than I’m prepared to do. I’ll get around to it later. Time heals all wounds, right?
Time helps to put all wounds further behind you. They no longer have the same effect as they once did because they are further into your past and you have had time to put some distance between those experiences and your current life. However, they do not fully disappear on their own. Wounds are like a small infection just under your skin. It’s nothing, you say, and you ignore the redness. But as time goes by, it grows and grows until it is interfering with your life and health. Soon, your days are filled with a much larger issue that interferes with everything you do.
Emotionally, you might become agitated, overly sensitive, protective, defensive, depressed, and anxious. As the days go by, more of these emotions creep in as a defense mechanism to the pain you have experienced. You know you have been here before and you thought you had moved passed it, but the feelings are slowly coming back. And, guess what? That affects your work, your relationships, your family, and your happiness. It steals your joy.
Sadly, I believe that these emotions and behaviors become so much a part of us that we don’t even always realize how much they are interfering with our life. But, I assure you that others do. We cannot ignore our pain away. It is important to understand that you need help in order to thrive. You must be willing to accept the help that is around you and seek out support. A simple support group or group of friends who have been in your shoes may suffice. Or you may need to seek out more traditional means, such as individual therapy or group counseling with a trained professional.
No matter where you are, however, don’t get caught in the trap of shame or pride. Most of us cannot do it on our own. We all need support. When you refuse to seek out that help, you are hurting yourself, your children, your work life, and those you love most. You deserve happiness and peace, and it is up to each of us to personally make the choice to heal instead of choosing to stay stuck. That is the difference between remaining a victim and becoming a survivor. Allow yourself the opportunity to actually work on it. You, and those around you, will be thankful for your effort.