Elisa A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 10-27-2020
“There is a beauty even in pain. Beauty in hard paths and difficult choices. Beauty in a messy life. Character and lessons are built from hard choices and many mistakes.” -EaE
I wonder how often humanity will continue this toxic pattern. Where we are so driven toward a destructive lifestyle with the wish to gain, that we allow ourselves these deep-seated wounds that go untreated for many years to life. Honestly, if we were stabbed and bleeding out, and a medic chose to put a band aid on us and send us packing, we would flip. Yet, we address traumatic grievances and emotional wounds by avoidance, overworking, eating junk and many other types of compulsive behaviors and deflective techniques. Our mind get’s stabbed and we think a drug potion can tame the wound. Our world get’s shaken up and we believe we can just ‘put it in the past’ and pretend nothing happened. A mental wound is a major disruption toward present goals for sure, but when it goes untreated, it becomes a life disruption. Rest assured that even though these mental wounds are a lot more invisible than the physical wounds, they are just as real and sometimes even MORE debilitating. Enough with the band-aids!
What do these mental band aids look like?
- Substance abuse (self-medicating with drugs illicit or otherwise)
- Using untrained people to give advice frequently (parents, siblings, friends, acquaintances, strangers on the internet)
- Avoidance of the traumatic topic (with the idea that it will all go away)
- Compulsively saying yes to work projects and people projects (distraction from issue’s)
- Allowing our ‘vacuums’ to suck us in and make us lose consciousness of time and reality (TV, phone, games, internet in general etc.)
- Major random changes/ morphing that feels exciting/ new in the moment (new hair style, redesigning your entire home, new wardrobe, piercing & tattoo obsessions etc)
- Buying ‘happiness’ of any sort, out of temptation & comparison vs need
I do not choose to write this blog with the goal of telling people they SHOULD NOT do these things, ever. I write this to allow us to open our minds and pay attention to our emotional behavior themes. Is that monthly shopping spree going to heal your wound or put you into a position where you are not only emotionally damaged, but now also financially damaged? Is self-medicating with alcohol going to numb out all anxiety for the rest of your life? Or will you eventually be an anxious person with a damaged liver too? Will the phone addiction cure your cocaine addiction? Or will you just end up with two addictions; phone and cocaine? Overall, does avoidance, compulsions and drugs heal any mental wounds… at all? Unfortunately, everything I listed and more, are band aids. It’s understandable why many people resort to these things on a daily to weekly basis, but overall, it’s important to know we are not healing our wounds with the band aids. We will still bleed out, even with the band aids.
When did Feeling become this BAD thing?
Emotional wounds hurt, and many feelings associated with emotional damage are… what we would call, uncomfortable. Unfortunately, humans have taken what’s uncomfortable and equated it with something unacceptable. Uncomfortable does not mean unacceptable or forbidden. It just means, it’s uncomfortable. Losing a loved one hurts, facing life and death situations is scary. Break ups hurt. Dealing with chronic pain sucks and impacts our mental pain. Having depressive, anger bouts as well as anxiety attacks are very bothersome. Every circumstance, hurt, and emotion we encounter is something we must interpret and deal with. Avoidance is the true enemy, and band aids only exist because we were terrified of feeling these very human things in the first place.
Just like a physical stab wound, if we have a mental stab wound, we must heal. The healing process can never go ignored in either department. If we continue ignoring a stab wound, we may just bleed out. If we continue to ignore the mental stab wound, we will bleed it in the form of anger, anxiety, crying spells, erratic behaviors, compulsive behaviors and more. Healing means admitting there is an issue, taking time outs, practicing self-care, emotional expression, leaning on our support systems and working with our limitations. Healing means acknowledging that we are humans and having perfectly human reactions to adverse situations. Going about our lives pretending to be immune to pain will bite us in the ass, I can promise that.
Rip off the Band aid!
Think long and hard about a deep-seated emotional wound you may have been masking with one or more of the band aids listed above. The question is, can you rip this band aid off and expose this wound for everything that it is? Or is there something in you that is still afraid to address it? What is it about addressing this issue that makes you uncomfortable? The stigma of ‘weakness’, the fear of being invalidated? The worry that the symptoms ‘will only get worse’ if you think harder about it? The vulnerability of being emotional and/ or sharing with another person? The idea of no longer living with blissful denial? Know that everything listed above and more does make it hard to address a wound, I could never argue that. However, we can not neglect the fact that we are human, these emotions have their place in our lives, and we deserve to heal after our trauma and grievances. Healing happens only when the wound gets proper attention, affection and restoration.
One thought on “Band-Aids on Stab Wounds”
WOW! What a lot to think about. I recently ripped off a band aid with something that happened in my childhood and it felt like a 2 ton brick being lifted off my shoulders. But it was very painful during the rip off, but so glad I did. I Still have a few more band aids to rip off but I’m working towards those. Thanks for sharing and giving us good advice.
LikeLiked by 1 person