It's been a struggle to write much these last couple of weeks. Some wise people have said to write, preach, and share from your scars, but not from your wounds. That is very sound advice and I have tried to live by that.
It becomes difficult, however, in seasons like the one I am in now, where it feels as though all of my scars have re-opened to reveal the wounds again.
One of the things people don't tell you about self-discovery is that sometimes, when you dig into your past and who you are as a person, it can feel like you're undoing all of the work you've already done.
I've heard the process of self-discovery described as "spiritual work," "recovery," and "soul-searching." It can sound a little ridiculous to those who are incredulous when it comes to mental health, but I have found that it is truly vital for anyone who wants to grow spiritually. I've also found that while sometimes it can mean going through intense periods of renewal, it is also a constant practice of being willing to accept the lessons that life - and God - will teach you as you go.
Engaging in a constant practice of self-discovery does mean being ready to come to realizations about yourself and the world around you at any moment. But I'll be honest, sometimes this work gets too real, too fast.
I honestly wish I could break that sage rule right now and share some ugly, raw, profound thing that I'm learning in the midst of this current season. But I can't, and the reason why is perhaps one of the most frustrating things about this whole process: I don't know what I'm learning. This part doesn't feel like it's teaching or gaining me anything. It just feels like pain, and a lot of it. And the more I try to patch it up to stem the flow of hurt, the more futile this whole journey of mine seems.
As often as I can, I try to put a nice spin on the ugly parts of my life. I want to make sure that those who haven't lived through the things I have are able to connect with my story, and feel empowered to go and reach out to those they know who are like me. Even more, I want to make sure that the people who know what I'm talking about, and have lived through hell, have something hopeful to cling to.
I really, really like being a success story.
But maybe today the nice spin is that the people reading this can take a moment to realize that even when trauma survivors and those with mental illnesses are down and out, our experiences still matter. Sometimes this stuff is just ugly, and it deserves to be felt and mourned and met with compassion.