Everyone is fighting battles no one else knows anything about…
Today, I found out a friend of mine recently checked into a rehab center. Not because he was addicted to a drug, but so he could work to escape the crushing weight of past trauma from his childhood. This comes no more than two weeks after another friend checked into a hospital in the middle of the night looking for that same relief. Just for a bit of reprieve from the mental burden of trauma.
And it makes me wonder how many others are one bad day away from losing themselves completely. I’m thankful that my friends sought help, but It’s a tragic fact that last year, over one million people attempted to take their own lives in the US alone. I think of all of the dreams that will never happen because of the mental and emotional weight of unhealed trauma. The birthdays, graduations, belly laughs and extraordinarily mundane moments that will never be shared because the burden was just too great.
I also think about how good we are at wearing the masks we choose each day. The masks that hide the troubled thoughts, tearful eyes and cries for help. The masks that make everyone else around us feel more comfortable than if they were inconvenienced to know that everything might not be ok.
In these current times, it’s been a common trend for people to talk about the effects of social distancing, losing income and staying home — because we’re all a bit more willing to have a shared experience during this COVID pandemic. This is a shared battle that touches every corner of humanity, and we seek to lighten the load of this experience by sharing what we’re experiencing with each other — because we know we’ll all understand on some level. We have brothers and sisters on the battlefield with us.
But, so many people are facing armies on their own. They’re carrying the trauma of painful childhoods, monumental loss, gripping addiction and unspeakable pain. It gives new meaning to the cliche “everyone is fighting battles no one else knows anything about.”I have had a tremendous amount of loss in my life and I know that time does not heal all wounds — it just makes the pain more familiar. It gives others permission to get back to “normal” around you. But, that grief is just as heavy on day 1,000 as it was on day 1. It’s now just a familiar heaviness.
To be human is to know pain and to fight battles just to survive. Be kind to one another. Let’s allow ourselves to be uncomfortable in the presence of other people’s pain. We are all wounded in some way or another, with masks of perfectly painted smiles to hide any signs of worry or pain. After all, those masks are heavy, too…