So how did I heal my life? How can anyone who has been through something traumatic or life-changing heal their life? The short answer: It takes time. The truth is we are all affected by tragedy in some way and at some point will have to pick up the pieces of our lives and start again. Here is the extensive answer:
I once read that comedy and tragedy are the same thing, only it depends on which way you frame it. The most embarrassing life story I would never dare to tell anyone is now the example I am going to give to you, because naturally it is the best representation I could think of in which comedy mirrors tragedy. At this point I have nothing left to disclose, so to hell with it...
I was once zinc poisoned by my best friend in college. Totally by accident, of course. We had made a point to get dinner together and I asked for an IB profen before we headed out the door. Without looking, she accidentally handed me two Zinc tablets, which was equivalent to 200% of the daily value requirement. She was also sore from a grueling practice we had had and took two herself, which she amazingly was un-phased or affected by. Unfortunately, my circumstances were a little different. Immediately following dinner, I had severe stomach pains and extreme bowel movements, in an effort to make it back to my own private bathroom, the two of us rushed home. What happened next was a violent synchronization of explosive diarrhea and vomiting up an Indian-stuffed burrito I had just finished fifteen minutes earlier. The tragedy of this unforeseeable event besides the sheer embarrassment of it was that the Super Bowl was on that evening and my roommates and I were hosting a party that I ended up spending entirely on the toilet. The comedy in this awful experience is that you can all now laugh at my misery as my roommates and I all did the next day when we discovered the bottle from which the 'ib phrophen' had come from.
So yes indeed, comedy and tragedy are in many ways the same thing. But what about the tragedies that you cannot find the hidden joke or joy behind or the very least laugh at yourself about? What about the tragedies that crumble you to your knees?
I stumbled upon a crate of books I have collected over the years and had every intention to read but never did. It wasn't until I recently gave up watching TV that I found myself with lots of time on my hands and investigated in this dusty stack of books. I found one slimmer book (a manageable feat) named "Simple Truths: Clear and Simple Guidance on Big Issues in Life" by Kent Nerburn. As I started rifling through the chapters I remember wondering if I was indeed going to receive some simple truth and or answer to this very question. How do you handle tragedy? As I skipped directly to the chapter on tragedy, I did not find myself disappointed. Nerburn says this,
“The human being is a surprisingly resilient organism. We are impelled toward health not sickness. Your spirit, as surely as your body, will try to heal....So you should not fear tragedy and suffering. Like love, they make you more a part of the human family. From them can come your greatest creativity. They are the fire that burns you pure.”
So how can we allow ourselves to burn pure from the flames of tragedy? We simply allow the fire to burn within us until the flames are extinguished and from the ashes we have been reborn. From ashes we came and to dust we shall return. And it is true. From suffering can come our greatest sense of creativity and renewal. For me it started off like this:
I was so miserably unhappy for many months and took the baggage from my trauma everywhere I went. I was visibly unwell. I had gained weight, dyed my hair darker, and the light had naturally dimmed in both my skin and eye color. I was visibly, verbally, and energetically a negative person to be around. I could hide it on my good days, but was often suffering in silence. This was not okay, and it was unnatural for me to be unable to express myself in positive ways. My family knew I wasn't the same person and my current relationship suffered immensely. They were all trying to reach out to indicate to me that they cared, but I was ignorant that they did not have the capability of helping me, because they were too close to it. By this, I mean that it wasn't within their area of expertise or knowledge to know exactly how to respond to the negatively and chaos that that going on inside my head. I created an intense and formidable wall between myself and others because I assumed the people who loved me the most were supposed to the ones to support and know how to help me. But that was a completely unfair and unapproachable way of thinking.
It wasn't until I was able to talk to a licensed therapist that I was able process the emotional and cognitive trauma of what I had been through. And it wasn't until I started seeking energy healing and body work from a reiki master and licensed massage therapist, that I was able to process the physical trauma of what I had been through. The mind and the physical body are extremely intertwined and you cannot process a physical trauma without seeking expertise help in both areas. That is what our healthcare system has dramtically missed the mark on today. We must treat both the patient's mind and body. You cannot treat a patient that was in a severe car accident and not expect him or her to be in severe cognitive dysfunction or have lasting effects of depression or anxiety.
I used to believe it was shameful to discuss your mental health with other people. I also had too much pride to admit that I needed to see a therapist But once again, there is always inner work that needs to be done. While friends and family members may be trying to help, more often then not it can seem more stressful because we have schemas and cognitive attachment theories associated with our parents and the people closest to us. Attachement theories have dramatically warp