That sudden and extreme moment that changes your life forever, that moment where your heart is blackened and becomes nothing but ashes. You question “is this really happening? And wish to pinch yourself and wake up from the nightmare. But it’s real. It’s happening. Something you did or didn’t do was the creation of an accident, and that accident took a life, destroyed what you once knew, and destroyed who you were. Even now, a year out, 5 years out, 10 years out, even longer, it creates a shadow over your existence and impacts your daily decisions.
Every second you move forward surviving, it is still with an invisible cage of torture that threatens your whole self. Threatens every aspect of your life, your health, your well-being, it may even feel like you are stuck in infinite darkness. It dominates your thoughts, your every action. You wander if there may just be a way to climb out, or is it that you cannot escape it?
It obliterates your energy for life and leaves you feeling helpless, stuck, and misunderstood. You cannot describe why, or how, you just feel it in your core, even though others cannot see it. You are burdened by the scars, and it feels impossible to move beyond them.
It fills your soul and conscious mind, and no matter the scale of your suffering, it has stolen your identity, it has changed you, and you can’t seem to escape its grasps. With time it may feel like it evolves, it may feel different, yet it continues to propel you into an existence where joy, happiness, passion, connection and hope seem to have little place, if any.
Adversity is cruel, very very cruel. It not only affects us emotionally, but the unseen effects are just as great. Physiologically every system within your body gets hit really hard, which creates major depletion that can last well into the future.
It leaves you questioning what’s on the other side. You feel it in your mind, your body, and your emotions. You dare not tell others of the heaviness you carry around with you daily. I mean, heck, it even scares you sometimes. Yet you hear of stories of post-traumatic growth and it blows your mind to imagine there could even be such a thing.
I feel it, I feel you, I’ve been there, and there are days when I am still very much in it. The guilt, the shame, the blame. You start to despise who you are.
I’ve been searching for something since my accident, I didn’t know what, but there was a little flicker of hope in me that refused to accept that I would be forever consumed with my self-hatred and suffering.
In my search, I’ve been through it all, all the therapies: prolonged exposure, EMDR, traumatic incident reduction, talk therapy, a spiritualist, reiki, cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, the list goes on and on.
I realized there was no one answer, that all these things were in fact tiny little pieces of a very complex 3D puzzle, and it wasn’t about erasing or escaping my pain, but in fact learning to live alongside my pain.
With time, attending numerous support groups, and a lot of deep inner psychological work with two phenomenal therapists, I started to feel a shift in mindset. I became able to accept that what had happened was a tragic accident. My mind opened to the possibility of there being more than just an existence on the other side, and I was sparked to make changes.
However, it wasn’t until I inadvertently found the world of Wellness coaching, that it all started to come together….
I previously thought of a coach as someone who teaches baseball, tells you what to eat, or optimizes your performance, but never imagined there was such a thing as a coach who was an expert in behavior change and specialized in health and wellness. Not to mention a coach who “guided and supported” versus “instructed and persuaded”. I had discovered, it was, in fact a thing.
We rarely have a conversation about our core self, let alone give ourselves the time to connect with what we need, who we are, and what matters the most. This is at the very core of what Wellness Coaching is, and as such, I transitioned from being a lost soul, to the beginnings of laying down the foundations of something different.
I had found my missing link, a dedicated space to reflect upon what mattered to me most, and who I wanted to become. A space to design, and experiment with, practical actions for improved wellbeing. A space for caring about me, and figuring out what it was I wanted.
There were no “should’s”, no “have to’s”, no judgements, no persuading, no “telling” me what to do. Just me and my quest to figure out who I was, in partnership with my Wellness Coach.
In combination with the work I was doing in therapy, I was amazed at the profoundly positive impact the addition of a coach had made. By asking me the right questions, listening intently, and letting me uncover the rest, she guided me to the intuition I had locked away deep inside me. My heart at the very least had an inclination, and at the best knew what I wanted and needed. I was able to discover what I valued and set wellbeing goals that involved more than simply surviving.
I found myself changing from pressure relief and suffering, into finding out what else there was in me. I had found a space where the emphasis was entirely on me being the expert on me, and over time I became more confident, trustworthy of myself, and inspired to want something more than just existing. The topics we discussed were endless, I got to choose: Self-compassion, sleep, stress and energy management, human connection, work-life-family balance, the list goes on and on, and often, as the session progressed, I found myself talking about something entirely different than my start point.
As the famous Buddhist monk and poet, Thich Naht Hanh, said, “Life is full of suffering but we can choose to suffer better”. I’m still on my journey of discovering who I am which includes moments of joy and contentment, as well as moments of pain and suffering. Moments where the suicide prevention strategies I have learnt become vital for me to practice. As I’m sure you can relate to, it’s an incredibly difficult journey, and it doesn’t come with a manual.
I have no expectations that my pain will ever be erased, it will always be there, but it has evolved. I realized focusing on what I could control, and what I could do for myself and others, was where I wanted to place my energy. I own my story and give recognition to the fact that life is uncertain, but I’m moving forward injecting some color into the grayscale existence that has been so familiar, and I wish the same for you. You are so worth it!
To contact Sarah, send an email to Hyacinthfellowship@gmail.com, and we will forward your message to her.
After reading this, part of me wants to cry and never stop… Not necessarily out of sadness, but, because of human connection. No one can fully understand the ‘invisible cage of torture’ except for another that also exists in that space… My heart thanks your heart for so precisely conveying in words all of my inner most feelings. Battling my accident for 24 years. Thank you.
Wow part of what you wrote, I could have wrote thank you so much. I wish I could write my thoughts like you. I’ve been battling my accident for 40 years. Good luck to you