Last month I went through the sensitivity training course for I think the 6th or 7th time since starting at Mercy and something clicked….
one thing we are taught is to face our own challenges, prejudices, thoughts, opinions and life experiences in order to fully understand how to set them aside to help others. We can not carry our burdens in with us when we are helping others. We can not fully understand another person’s hardship while carrying our own. We can not truly put ourselves in another person’s shoes to try and understand what they need from us if we don’t take our own off first…
While it has already occurred to me that those who have struggled with what I went through in December have their own issues that they are dealing with rendering them incapable of understanding how I must have been feeling to get to such a dark place. That those who choose to judge me, or anyone really, based solely off the darkest, lowest moments in a person’s life and believing that it must be that person’s true colors is lacking the sensitivity training that has become part of my own nature without me even knowing it.
Sensitivity training… caretakers are trained to set their feelings aside for others. To put themselves in another person’s shoes. I thrived in a culture where we would ignore our basic need of eating, sleeping and even peeing to care for others in their most vulnerable moments. I learn that my needs didn’t matter. That my feelings didn’t matter. I needed to learn how to compartmentalize my feelings and my needs in order to put others first. I needed to shut them down in order to survive.
And that’s just what I did, I survived until I didn’t any more. At some point all the feelings that I shoved down deep and ignored could no longer be ignored and I was overwhelmed with feelings I didn’t know how to process. I acted out and was immature because I had never dealt with feelings maturely nor did I have anyone to teach me how to do it. I was up against things I had never dealt with before and I was expected to handle them like a pro…
I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I still don’t know what I don’t know, which is why I am in therapy every other week. Sometimes more frequently when needed and that’s okay too.
Mental health disease is a life threatening disease. Sometimes I have symptoms and sometimes I don’t.
V-tach is a life threatening arrhythmia that requires medical attention immediately or it can turn into v-fib which is incompatible to sustain life…
Depression requires treatment to prevent it from reaching a life threatening thought process called suicidal ideation.
A person in V-tach needs to learn the symptoms and warning signs to know when they need to get help.
A person with depression needs to learn the symptoms and warning signs to know when they need to get help.
A person suffering from v-tach should never delay treatment simply because they were just seen last week for the same issue. They seek treatment until the symptoms and the danger is over. They must also follow up with a cardiologist and learn a heart healthy lifestyle to prevent any future episodes…
are you seeing where I am going here? A person in therapy is maintaining their follow ups and learning how to have a healthy thought process so the life threatening symptoms stay at bay…
please be sensitive to their needs. Please understand that while you may not fully understand mental health disease, depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, drug abuse or any other mental health illness you never will until you remove your idea of what “crazy” is, until you remove the idea that people can fully control their thoughts and emotions, until you remove the pain of the wounds others with mental health illness have inflicted on you.
If you think you understand mental health disease but choose to belittle, berate or begrudge those suffering from this debilitating disease, think again. I am not saying that poor behavior needs to be condoned but if you see a person struggling to swim you don’t hand them a bag of rocks to carry…. your judgement and criticism are anchors weighing down those who are already frantically working to stay above water.
I am finally sorting out the lies in the sea of truth. I am finally recognizing that those who pull me under all speak to one another and all share a collaborative opinion picking out the darkest moments in my life that casts a shadow on who I really am. I finally see that those who are reaching out to me, throwing life vests and pulling me into their boats are all from different areas of my life who have all seen the different ways I let my light shine. That is who I am, I am not the sum of all the bad moments but a mixture of both because my dark moments give me lessons to shine even brighter to help those trying to swim through the darkness I’ve been through. ❤️