To the future #MentalHealth

I’ve been on a journey, for nearly two years now. It was a completely unexpected place to find myself, having thought my life was pretty much mapped out until retirement. But for many reasons, that I’m not going into here, I had to make a change. It’s not like there wasn’t a choice in the matter, there’s always a choice even when one of the options is completely unpalatable. I made a choice that at the time was, I sensed, the lesser of two evils, driven by a survival instinct, and chose a path for which I had absolutely no idea what the outcome would be. It was a risk. A huge one, but I’ve never once regretted it.

I knew this choosing this path would come with challenges, and committed to myself that I would be patient and take my time doing the inner work I needed to move forward. I promised myself self care, and to treat myself with gentle kindness, and most importantly to keep going because at some point it would be worth it. 

There are plenty of adages about time healing all wounds and the like. Sometimes it does take more than time, for wounds to heal properly. It takes the pain of washing that wound out, cleansing the infection, peeling back the layers of damage, repeatedly, until new skin can grow over without any trace of the infection remaining. Like putting Savlon on a cut, it stings, it draws tears and once you’ve felt that pain it can be so easy to just stick a plaster on it and hope for the best. But you’ve got to keep treating that wound however painful, until it really is healed. You’ll get better and better at washing it out and applying the cream, you’ll learn to be at one with the pain while it lasts and from where to enlist help to become a pro.

Because one day, it will be healed. One day, you’ll wash it out with salt water, rub on some Savlon and it won’t hurt any more. You’ll look down and see fresh new skin. And that skin will be stronger and tougher and more resistant to future wounds.

This is when you know you can lift your head back up, and look around, and thank the people that held your hand, or sat next to you, or persuaded you to keep washing that wound even when you wanted to stop. You’ll let them know you will always be there to do the same for them. And when you lift your head up, suddenly it’s a year or two years later and you can see just how far you’ve come. And then you can start to live again. Make plans, set goals that go beyond just getting better, choose what gives you joy, live for your own happiness and in doing so bring happiness to everyone who loves you; live in the present and look forward to the future. 

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