This past Saturday, I found myself at the Raleigh, NC One-Day Training here in my own backyard. Not to mention Nate came all the way down from Minnesota to help rep the CR Mental Health Table! How cool is that! We got to speak with a bunch of people answering questions about the Initiative as well as explaining our mission, handing out information. One of the fun things we did was do a Facebook LIVE video during that One-Day, and for me it was a lot of fun!
The previous night was chip night at my CR at which Nate was in attendance. It also happened to be the night that I received my 3- year coin for “Saying YES to God,” which was me starting my journey of stepping outside my box. You see, I struggle with social anxiety, which means for me it is difficult to be in crowds and around others in social situations. In fact, when meeting new people I feel inferior and inadequate, which leads me to say awkward things or to be awkward at times. Most people just laugh at me, but I’m the only one not laughing most the time. For the longest time, it caused me to avoid social situations, especially driving places I’ve never been to arriving to meetings and appointments and not knowing where to go or what to do. It almost kept me from attending CR or even stepping foot inside the church. One other struggle I deal with is making eye contact, speaking in front of others, and eating in front of people. A good many people would have never known this about me. Also, doing LIVE videos is a struggle. Yet, as in my testimony, I must do the thing I think I cannot do, so I continued to place myself in those situations so I could do what God has called me to do in this CR Mental Health ministry.
Speaking of that Facebook LIVE, Nate happened to ask me a question that I was not prepared for at all. What caught me off guard even more was my answer to his question. The question he asked me was along the lines of “Before starting CR, what do you wish people would have told you?” It only took me a brief time before I blurted out my answer, “I wish someone would have told me that to go through recovery that I would have to go through pain. That pain is part of the process” (paraphrasing). Go back and watch that Facebook LIVE by clicking HERE.
Looking back on it, it still shocks me that I gave that answer. Yet, it’s an answer that is full of truth. You see, I’ve been going through my own mental health recovery, and I’m finding myself right in the middle of the messiness of it, and I’ve been going through quite a bit of emotional pain, pain that I have kept myself from feeling for SO long, and I’m talking at least 20+ years. Pain that I’ve gotten so well at pushing aside, in the corners of my mind, the back of my mind, into this dark closeted fortress that I tend to place all my yucky, painful memories and feelings. However, God wants to clean up that room, too. And guess what? I’ve had to make my way towards that room. I still am not in that room yet, but I’ve made great progress. And yes, there has been emotional pain involved.
In order to heal, we must feel.
As a physical wound needs air to heal, emotional pain needs to be brought out into the light so we can heal. I’m going through the journey of learning just how much pain is a necessary part of my healing process. I’m learning to feel my pain, to sit with my pain without judging myself, without trying to force logic upon it, to extend myself grace and patience in that I am learning a completely new language of love and healing.
How has pain been a part of your healing process?
-April Brantley, CR Mental Health X-tra Special Factor