A Monthly Inspirational Viewpoint of Life’s Journeys with Sonia Wignall.
This morning, I was very intentional about getting to the gym early and on time for my spin class. When I was about to turn into the gym parking lot, I noticed a lot of cars parked at the building close by. I turned into that parking lot instead, and asked what was happening. Someone told me about a special event featuring a celebrity speaker. She shared the registration link.
My first blessing. The event was free, I was in, and the gym visit was out. I got my desired front row seat, (2nd blessing), and was very grateful.
It was an interview style presentation and the celebrity speaker was “Michelle Williams”, formerly with the singing group “Destiny Child”, (think of Beyonce’s original signing group). Michelle was interviewed on her book, “Checking In: How Getting Real about Depression Saved My Life—and Can Save Yours.”
No spoilers, but the event was amazing. She shared her story of how even in the middle of fame, her lack of emotional healing from a dysfunctional childhood was not only painful and mentally disruptive, but laid the foundation for a period of very deep depression that nearly ended her life. The power and take-away of her story is the same as many that have been lived and written before hers and will continue after her.
Our traumatic experiences in childhood, and beyond can leave us emotionally exploited, pained, shamed and stagnant. Our dysfunctional and traumatic experiences become our normal and we carry on living within and outside of the pain in order to survive as children and adults. In me however, the suppressed pain of the experiences catches up with us and then we are no longer able to carry the weight of our past, or present.
We become agitated, fatigued, stressed, sad, angry, easily triggered, make bad choices, and manifest many other external and internal non-peaceful characteristics. There is no escape from the duress of the deep well of poison within us which is spreading through every vein and artery of our lives. No, during this time, we are not ok, no matter the polished look, the designer wear, the job title, who we are married to, our bank accounts, portfolios, profession, our mask, or our smile.
This was the point Michelle reached before she removed her mask, and allowed her healing process to begin. Michelle’s story touched a deep core in my life, and I imagine the same for many other people in the room. On some level, we could all relate. She talked about the power and process of releasing the trauma, and the “safe” support system needed.
She talked about healing as a courageous journey not requiring the baggage of shame on our backs. She explained the baby steps she had to take to begin her journey. She modeled for us “safe” conversations that will help us and others on our journey. I believe that this was a God detour for me. He orchestrated the timing of my arrival 15 minutes before the event began. Although I have done my own healing and therapy work over the years, the healing process is a lifelong journey. Healing is like an onion, layers upon layers of inner scars to be removed.
It is sometimes hard to believe, or count the number of people from all walks, cultures and economic status of life that are living in a perpetual state of denial, trauma and pain. We bring our trauma backpack to work, into our relationships, our business, friendships, partnerships, our marriages, our parenting journeys. We are like hikers.
We have become accustomed to carrying our weighted bags full of survival gear. So many of us were, or are, living proof of highly dysfunctional people. We pop pills, overindulge in alcohol, and or engage in other addictive behaviors to cope with and ease the pain. Yet the pain remains persistent and ever present. We look sweet, loving and cool on the outside while our lives are burning out of control on the inside. We rage with anxiety, fear, physical ailments and distress. We work hard at holding it all in, at the expense of long term damage to our physical and mental health.
We either break, or break others first. Michelle encouraged us all to “take a breath”, be still and access where we are and what we need to begin our healing journey. Therapy, healing centers, groups, private, etc. The resources are there and available to us. Moving from where we are to a new and healthy normal is not only a courageous journey, but a necessary journey that will support us to remove the backpack, unpack and release the pain and the weight.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverb: 17:22.
“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.” – Germany Kent.
By: Sonia M. Wignall
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