This is the first of what I intend to be a series of posts that are an exploration, deconstruction and interrogating of the worlds and the language of mental health, trauma recovery, self-help and self improvement and the ways in which I experience the culture around these things to be gas lighting and the words to be loaded; the ways in which they are wielded as weapons as so many things meant to “help” in this culture are and are actually sources of oppression and great harm.
As I sat down and began to write the words below, the feeling of having been absent from myself, of having lost the larger sense of self trust I had gained before my recent relational loss and rejection, of being unable to write and express myself in a way that has always been home to me began to fade and I felt myself coming back. Landing with great force in what is familiar, what I know to be true and present once again within my own reality in ways I haven’t been able to over the past few months.
And it is my experience of trauma that leaving is part of it. That the expectation that I will always be able to stay is not a realistic one. That things will happen that make it necessary to go for a while. That that is part of living with severe complex trauma for me and sometimes it is the most necessary and merciful thing I can do for myself and I refuse to pathologize it. But for now, it is good to be home, to be back at this part of my work – for however long it lasts.
I woke up today thinking about healing.
And how we have turned that word into a weapon.
How it has been and still is weaponized and used against me.
How I have followed suit and use it against myself.
How often I tell myself I don’t belong because I am not “healed” enough.
How the language of recovery and healing is so demeaning and gaslighting.
How the dictionary definition of healing is literally to restore to health from an unbalanced, diseased or damaged state.
And I think, by whose definition am I unbalanced?
By whose definition am I diseased?
By whose definition am I damaged?
And by whose definition am I trying to heal?
I just thought I was trying to survive in a world, in a culture in desperate need of healing.
Responding to what it has doled out to me and those I love.
Doing my best to stay here,
for reasons that are still largely unknown to me,
amidst violence and brutality that has never ended.
The very same violence and brutality from which I am supposed to somehow heal.
So I ask again, by whose definition am I sick?
By the ones with all of the power and privilege?
By those who have been fully indoctrinated?
By those who have swallowed the all of the lies
and can regurgitate them on demand
but who cannot,
who will not
allow for humanity,
who have no compassion,
no depth of understanding,
even for themselves?