Have you ever feared about falling into a depression? Feeling so overwhelmed and exhausted that you had no idea how or where to start putting your life back together? I sure did feel like this in 2016 when I put all my power into being there for my family while my mother got diagnosed with high-grade cancer. Those were some of the most traumatic weeks I every experienced in my life – personally but also as a family.
One night, my husband sat me down during and told me: This is where you need to summon everything you have learned so far and put it to use.
Truth is: I had no idea how to. It left me stunned and speechless. I knew he was absolutely right, but I simply didn’t know what this could look like. I just felt like not having the capacity left to take care of myself in that way since everything else felt so demanding already. I worked on auto pilot already.
I cried a lot. I weeped. I screamed in the car driving home from the hospital. I lay on the floor praying it all might just go away. That my mother would not have to suffer so much. I asked WHY? when I already knew the answer. I was full of pain and I sucked it right back in when entering the hospital doors the next morning. I still remember visiting my mum after the second surgery. Her body was still so swollen and puffy, I could barely recognize her. I felt shocked. But there she was, still my mum, fighting for her life. We cried together. We laughed together. We sat together unable to say a word, just holding each others hands.
Luckily, after three big surgeries good news about her health kept finally coming in from the doctors. By the time we had also found a psychologist that is also a trained oncologist. It helped so much to have someone to answer all our medical questions as well as guiding us to speak about my mothers life after the diagnose – and in the worst case about her possible death from cancer.
This psychologist taught me on of the most important lesson:
I have to guide my inner child into safety first.
It’s my job to create a safe space for me. Treating the child I once used to be with love, care and respect. It was a game changer and once I started feeling safer inside I could face my fears on the outside. Having a psychologist at our side absolutely helped us manage as a family and I highly recommend this to anyone struggling with trauma or depression. I often asked myself after a session why speaking about death is such a big taboo in our society – even though its part of all our lives. If we would speak more openly about death it would take away some of the trauma and pain that comes along it. Or at least that’s how I imagine it.
I recently talked to a friend about still feeling the emotional waves of these last months coming in and we came to the conclusion:
No matter how reflected you are – it’s impossible to process all your emotions at once in a traumatic event.
I think our bodies are incredibly smart. While I tried to manage the next steps with my mind and got completely overwhelmed and lost:
My body knew exactly what to do and guided me with my own healing instinct.
It stored all that emotions I could not process during this time and now that I get calmer, it lets me look at it and – most importantly feel it – in little pieces.
Sometimes these emotions are stuck around my spine and a certain yoga pose would gently touch and free them. I cried up in the bridge. I weeped in childs‘ pose. Sometimes I feel the utter urge to suddenly start dancing, circling my hips, pounding with the beat, sweating like a mad woman while releasing old tensions in my muscles. And sometimes there is a gentle call to paint or draw. To find the art that is hidden in my emotions and give it a color, a face, a certain brush stroke. And after I created I suddenly breath easier.
Isn’t is amazing how the body works? How it guides us, calls us to find different outlets?. Its our job to allow this energy to flow. To take the time and self care to be with our emotions instead of pushing them away. To follow the healing instincts of our bodies. Step by step. Tear by tear. Smile by smile. Feeling truly is healing.
You know someone who is facing a difficult time and should read this? Please forward.