We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us–that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.Emilio Estevez
I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine, Michael, yesterday.
He called me specifically to discuss the fact that I blogged about seeing a therapist.
‘Why did you do that?’ he wanted to know. ‘People might think you are broken. Maybe people wouldn’t want to do business with you anymore. People might think less of you.’
As Michael spoke to me, I knew they were his own fears. They were a large part of the reason why he has never sought help for the problems and traumas in his own life. Because if he did, and someone found out, he would be judged. He might be seen as weak, or unable to handle life.
Michael wasn’t really ringing to talk me out of blogging contentious topics. He was calling to see if I could raise points that might help him to grapple with his own struggles about wanting to talk with someone, but not wanting to be judged.
‘Therapy is like a car-wash for the mind,’ I told him. ‘As an empath and intuitive, every day I take on the troubles and pain of the people I work with. I am impacted by the suffering and the circumstances of my clients and community. Every day I show up, and take on new burdens, while my arms and my heart are still full of the burdens of yesterday. When I talk to my therapist, I’m able to wash off a lot of those old burdens. It also helps me to see and bring light to my own wounds too. That makes me stronger. It makes me wiser. It helps keep me turning up in tough times. It stops me from breaking under the load.’
‘But why did you write about that?’ Michael’s voice had a tightness to it.
‘I did it for people like you,’ I told him. ‘People like you who think that seeking help, or acknowledging that you are struggling is somehow a weakness, or a failure, or something to be ashamed of. It’s not. Seeking help is like going to the dentist. It’s something that is part of your health routine. It’s preventative maintenance. Some of the people I admire the most, firefighters and paramedics and police – all those first responders; people who take risks and put themselves into danger, and who are there for us at our hardest moments – they taught me of the power of a debriefing, and of unloading with a counsellor. It’s changed my capacity to be able to keep turning up in the hardest of times without ME breaking. We are all living in hard times right now. We all have stresses and difficulties. It’s a characteristic of a strong person to be able to reach out and ask for help. It’s a wise thing for all of us to be able to protect our mental health, and to unburden our souls when we need to.’
‘So you’re not worried about what people will think?’ he asked me.
‘Not any more. If I worry all the time about what other people think, then I am never free to be me, and not being myself has its own stresses. I am doing what’s right for me, and by sharing my experiences, maybe it will encourage other people to look after themselves better too.’
Michael was really quiet on the other end of the screen.
I waited for a long time.
Then I asked him, ‘Do you want to talk about it?’
‘What?’ he said.
‘The reason you’re struggling with seeking help for yourself?’
Tears rolled down his face. ‘I think I have a problem…’ he said.
And then we talked. And it was good.
Here’s the thing, lovelies. All of us are broken. That’s what living does to it. It dings us up. It cracks us open. Sometimes it really smashes us. No-one escapes that. All of us have scars and wounds from living and loving and losing, from making mistakes, from being present with our own hardship or someone else’s suffering. We all have insecurities, and wrong thinking, and patterns of thought and behaviour that aren’t serving us well.
Self-examination and self-reflection have helped me a lot with that. I journal often, and I will pull cards sometimes as a way to access wiser parts of myself and to see things from a new perspective, always seeking to know myself better. Talking with wise friends has helped. Talking with therapists, counsellors and coaches has helped too.
I know you. You are sensitive, you think deeply and you care a lot – and your life is exposed to suffering. You have been hurt in life. Being big-hearted means you take it on for others too, because you can feel their own pain, and you have compassion and empathy for that. You need to find ways to reduce that burden in yourself, so that you don’t become overwhelmed. Life is a long-haul event (hopefully), and we all need coping strategies that look after our emotional and mental health.
If worrying what other people might think is preventing you from seeking help, maybe it’s time to care less about their perceived reaction and more about your own wellbeing.
And let’s keep talking about seeking help, let’s share our stories so that we normalise help-seeking behaviour for everyone. That can only be a good thing.
Love, gentle hugs, and reassurance, Nicole xx
PS – My Journeymaker’s Planner for 2022 is an excellent companion for your spiritual journey, and can be a friend to you in the good times and the bad. I’ll be kicking off the new year with a free 30 day Challenge to help you connect into your intuition and learn how to support yourself better. Want to join us?
The digital version of The Journeymaker’s Planner 2022 is available at ETSY.
Other supportive tools I have available include:
My limited edition and heavenly Ylang-Ylang Oil for emotional support – available at ETSY.
My limited edition gold-embossed Journeymaker’s Journal for writing and exploring with words – available at ETSY.
My limited edition NURTURE Mala for spiritual and emotional support and nurture – available at ETSY.