Even Healers Need Help
I am always so fascinated by how the topics for the blog align so much with what’s happening in my life. Spring has sprung. A bit later in my part of the world than is typical, but finally it’s here — and it’s beautiful.
For me, it signifies a fresh start. A clean new slate. My garden awaits. Like a blank new canvas, it calls to be fertilized…to experiment with fresh new veggies and herbs and maybe even some flowers for a dash of colour. Though at the moment, it’s all on hold. The foundation of the garden is broken. We inherited the garden with this home 3 years back and worked with what we had. The structure is now buckling, threatening to dump soil all over the grass. So before I can dig my hands in the dirt and plant those seeds I need to fix the foundation. Rebuild, take the time to properly plan, align and build the necessary structure to support the weight of the soil and the shift in the ground from the frost melting. To hold firm and steadfast, quiet and resolute while the flowers, herbs and plants take centre stage.
So here’s the parallel. It’s no secret my family’s been thrown some curve balls this year. Watching my father die, watching my kids struggle with it and have more health problems themselves because of it, seeing my mom struggle, seeing my hubby struggle because he sees me struggle and all the while feeling helpless to do a damn thing about it is hard. It’s also tiring. It’s taken its toll on me too. Physically, spiritually and emotionally. My foundation is cracking. Not only have I been crying, but I have also been edgy. Even to the point that when someone told me I needed self-care I wanted to punch them in the face. Literally. Because HELLO, I am juggling all these balls and the universe keeps throwing more at me — when the @#$% am I supposed to get that in? That response is so out of character for me. Yeah, the crack in the foundation is spreading a little bit more. There, I said it out loud. I can’t take it back, and I don’t want to either. I am realizing that as this has been happening, I’ve gotten further away from my self-care. Why? Because I am needed. So I stopped. Put on the brakes of the hamster wheel that was spinning out of control and I am asking for help. It’s very humbling.
I also let my kids see me cry this week for the first time. They need a strong example of what it is to be human. Not superhuman. Human. For me, this means to be vulnerable, to let them see me when I am not at my strongest. To make it ok to use words like “sad” or “having a hard time”. So I am building me back up. One brick of foundation at a time. I had to fight with my doctor to get a break from work. Despite sobbing hysterically in her office, I got the message of, “Well, suck it up. Nothing is going to change, it’s hard times but nothing will change when you are off work and maybe work can be an escape.” How’s that for a slap in the face? I am asking for help and I am being told to suck it up. Put that away and store that. I want to be sure to never ever say sh*t like that to my kids. Or to my husband, or to anyone for that matter. We need to be able to have conversations and recognize that a broken spirit is as painful as a broken leg and we need to be able to talk in a way that normalizes it. Just the same way we would never tell someone with a broken leg to “suck it up and walk it off,” we should never say to someone who is clearly struggling and asking for help for a broken heart to “suck it up”.
So I use my voice and I put myself out there to say folks, it’s ok to ask for help. It’s not a weakness. It’s loving yourself enough to say, “Hey! I am worth this time to help myself.” In the same way I help others, I deserve to help me too.
I am encouraged that we are starting to get the picture and see more examples of embracing the less-than-perfect. Spoiler alert here: if you haven’t watched the movie Avengers End Game and plan to, skip to the next paragraph. I love the character development of Thor in this latest movie. I have loved him for his strength, his sense of humour, and his compassion (his good looks are nice too). In this movie though, he is depressed. He struggles with the loss of half of the team. He struggles with his own guilt and inward blaming for his part in not being able to stop Thanos’ destruction. He numbs his feelings with drinking. I watched the screen with tears streaming down my face. 1 because I could feel the pressure he put on himself and the pain he was feeling and 2 because it was made to be ok. Hell, if the god of thunder can have a hard time with processing emotions, then geeze, me — who isn’t a god — can certainly be ok with it. It’s a small step in normalizing. The nicest thing I heard that honestly warmed my heart was from my mom. With all the other stuff she is dealing with, she looked at me with love in her eyes and told me that she is proud of me for recognizing the need for help, and then asking for it. Another small step in normalizing struggle.
I am a healer and I need help. Let that sink in. I have been resisting that. A lot. After all, as a healer doesn’t that somehow make me seem the lesser healer if I haven’t got my stuff perfectly lined up? Somehow like I am a fraud. How can I be seen as a reputable healer while struggling and feeling broken inside? (There goes the inner critic again.) The irony is that in this most trying of times, I have witnessed the biggest most impactful healings on others I have worked with. Well, there it is. My vulnerability makes me a stronger healer. I come at healing from a place of knowing and empathy. Even in my pain I can still tap into the loving energy of the universe to help others unlock and release their pain.
So enough of worrying what people say. Here’s the thing I am planting. I am planting seeds of hope. I am planting the idea that being vulnerable is ok. I am starting with working with my kids to give them a vocabulary to normalize feelings instead of stigmatizing them. And finally, these seeds are being planted to give others a voice that is true and not just the perfect world that people put out on Facebook and Instagram. To say to others who feel unheard, “I hear you. I am you.”