Art featured by Katie Chandler
When you get physically wounded and find yourself with cuts that sting and make it harder for you to breathe, your first instinct is to get up and get away from the origin of the wound, to make it stop stinging.
When glass shards are embedded in your skin and you’re in debilitating pain, you don’t tell yourself to suck it up and leave the wound unattended and dirty, with blood and grime, or the shards still in place, do you?
You take them out, even if it hurts more than when they struck you, you carefully clean the wound and you administer the proper care needed and expected.
Then why is it that when one suffers from trauma, abuse, psychological pain, and suffering, or hurt and depression, issues that leave invisible but indelible scars on our souls – they’re asked to bear along quietly and have “sabr”- a concept grossly and disproportionately exploited in some communities to encourage silent suffering instead of seeking help.
It should be understood that just because you cannot see mental suffering and its extent— to think that it doesn’t exist is an ignorant and unkind notion. Just like when cleaning a physical wound, psychological abuse, trauma, and hurt should also be dealt with firstly taking the source of the pain away. Because one can’t heal in the same environment and with the people that caused the sufferings in the first place.
It is necessary to normalize the aspect of removing yourself from people, environments, places, things, and feelings that hurt you if doing so is within your capacity. Emotional and mental abuse usually centers around demeaning and oppressing a person to the extent they lose their self-awareness and eventually, the concept of their own selves.
Healing should be built upon unlearning abuse and finding positive affirmations within oneself. By reminding them and ourselves of our inherent goodness and positive qualities, of bringing forth kindness, compassion, and empathy.
By building ourselves upon our worth and values and not depending upon external validation. By feeling and accepting your inner truth and looking into yourself to find the strength to overcome your wounds. By giving yourself time, rest and space to heal.
Being patience with ourselves is the most important of tasks when it comes to healing.
All this would not be possible if people are guilt tripped into staying with their abusive spouses, if people are condemned for cutting off toxic family members, if people are made to prioritize maintaining a pretentious societal image and appearances instead of their inner peace and sanity.
For all our “woke culture” and supposed awareness of mental illnesses, we still haven’t made a safe place for people to be able to actively express and do whatever is needed to get better.
Unless we normalize care, compassion, empathy, and reciprocity for these issues and treat them as important as physiological care, awareness will sadly move no further than fleeting trends and hashtags.