“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”― Brené Brown
I heard a TED Talk by this woman today and decided that I would continue on my vulnerability journey. I checked myself in a week ago and I’ve been silent here largely because of the fear of stigma and shame. I have been through some of the darkest hours of my soul the past 8 days and this morning this woman’s talk reminded me of who I always say I am. I am in the business of truth-telling. The new meds, changed bedtimes and other structures have made a difference in surviving my brain chemistry. I am grateful to the friends and family who have known the past week and have reached out. This is my first time seeking this kind of care and I’ve worked through my shame about needing help and emerged to congratulate myself for choosing to live yet again. I hope anyone reading this will see it this way as well. If not, please refrain from reaching out to chastize me; I have enough guilt in my life.
It has been an interesting 8 days. I think the fact that I no longer had work to serve as a mask for not taking care of myself, made the first five days unbearable. I had no one but myself to take care of. I semi detached from myself and watched the unwell part of me sob uncontrollably and want to exit earth on countless occasions. It was tiring. I found myself exhausted all the time. Of course it didn’t help that I was adjusting to new meds and a room half the size of mine.
This program mainly works with groups, and after grumpily shuffling my way through most of them the past 8 days, I can finally see a flame coaxed from that feeble gaslight I came in here with. There are several things I would love to have be different, like have some other POC in the program. Not even one of the staff is POC and until yesterday, I was the only POC out of the 40 clients. Or having more of a spiritual bent to the way they approach the work. Or having more folks with mental illness vs. addiction. Or having more folks in the middle-age range. Despite all these, I have see my flame sputter and burst forth over the last two days and I am very glad that such a place exists. I am grateful to those who walked with me as I made the decision to come and for those who have supported me through the dark days of February and March.