Creating a Safe Passage for Pain

With the rise of technology mankind has made incredible advancements, however as a civilisation, this surge of accessibility to information has unfortunately also come with many downsides.

Right now, all over the world people are posting, on a variety of media and then they wait while everyone and anyone weighs in.

This has unfortunately created a breeding ground for judgement. The very first version of Facebook was purely about rating people on how they looked!

The flow on effect of this becoming an acceptable societal norm, is that its often present in real life too, not just the virtual. People comment and say whatever they want, without a whole lot of thought about how their judgement might effect that other person.

Words have power and they can wound, and they can have an effect on a person’s mental health without the individual being consciously aware that this has happened. In the absence of truth, the alternative is accepted.

When someone is wounded or feels judged then where is their refuge. If someone is human and makes a mistake, where is their safe passage to have their pain dealt with in a compassionate and non judgemental way. It doesn’t exist, or if it does, they need to get on to new marketing ASAP.

In this world of judge first ‘oops my bad…‘ later, coupled with a broadly  accepted view of once a ……. always a ……… This is proving to be a recipe for disaster!

There were so many times I thought about disclosing to my friends or loved ones about my secret addiction to the pokies, but I would hear them say something judgemental about someone else and I would think, ‘well I can never share my pain with them!’

I myself bought into the floored model of ‘The cycle of addiction’ all it did was rob me of hope that I would never ever truly be well again, that the best outcome I could hope for was periods of recovery. The thought of living in fear of it just being a case of not if but when I would disappoint all who loved me, was a pain I could no longer bear.  4 years ago I almost took my life.

Recognising and understanding myself was a process that I was not even aware that I had to learn. I thought that because I was me, that I knew me. I hadn’t even realised how far I had drifted from who I actually was, to who had taken my place.

Rebuilding and restoring me was a two year journey and it was during that time and my interactions with others, in group therapy and in my life that I could see others caught in this alternate existence between who they truly were and who they had come to accept as themselves.

As I said, when you are in it, you aren’t consciously aware of it.

When a person goes to jail for a crime, they might serve their time but when they get out they don’t have a clean slate, we as a society don’t actually believe in rehabilitation. They just have to accept that they will have to live the rest of their life with the stigma and shame of the crime. This effects their job, housing and social prospects.

Also, we as a society have become so protective of any perceived or actual exposed weakness, by keeping things hidden or judging, that we have closed the door to forgiveness, compassion and HOPE. This has therefore created no safe passage for people in pain. People struggling and buckling under the weight and pressures of life. When we take away or leave no room for Hope, things we are not equipped to deal with then go underground and secret and then shame and fear amplify the situation and the cycle perpetuates.

The public outrage and scorn over domestic violence at the moment is in my opinion counterproductive. I am not for one second condoning the behaviour, but if we don’t understand its an outcome of human pain manifesting itself in a terribly destructive way then we are missing the core of the situation. That this person needs help not scorn and I believe we would see a dramatic decrease in this issue if we create a model in society that seperates peoples pain from the destructive behaviour they are displaying.

What erupts in a violent outburst in one person, is a drug habit in another. A person struggling with food issues, in another self harms. Porn, sex, internet, gaming, gambling, shopping, depression etc…….   The end outcome of pain is as different and unique as we are yet we then try and group people together and stick a diagnosis or a label on the person like we have just solved their problems. I was addicted to Pokies but that is not who I am. A person is a person, they may be addicted to drugs or alcohol etc but they are a person in pain – mental, physical or emotional, either actual or perceived and they don’t know in that moment how else to exist.

I attended a gambling group and although we all had gambling in common, that’s where it ended. I spent the first few months thinking someone would be able to help me with some key knowledge I must have missed along the way. I wanted desperately to know how I could be fixed. I gained valuable insight into myself but sadly no cure. At times I felt a renewed sense of hope for my future, then at others I felt sad when I felt like I was never going to be able to get off this rollercoaster of pain.

Education about what our vital needs are as humans, and breaking down stigma and judgements is crucial to create a safe space for peoples pain. This education will help people to be open to receiving help and act as an early intervention when problems arise. That in using this information they would be able to catch themselves in that moment or urge to do something that isn’t going to contribute positively to their life ask themselves ‘What is my body trying to tell me right now? What am I not aware of?’ Am I AWAKE?

Am I  –            A ware what is going on, of the pressure I am under right now?

Do I Know  –  W hat my actual needs are ?

Am I Being –  A uthentic?

Am I    –         K eeping my eyes forward?

Am I being –  E veryday mindful of my vital self care?

This checklist very quickly helps the individual be able to pin point the area of blindness in their life and be able to self correct.

I think that we need to move towards a model that makes it ok and more desirable to walk away and leave those in judgemental tear down roles to have to stand alone if they want to through stones. When did we move as a society to the other end of the spectrum from – if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!

If it doesn’t affirm, build or encourage then don’t say it!

We can do this, It is so important, the legacy of shame and fear has to stop. When I embraced my ultimate fear, the fear of exposure, it wasn’t comfortable in the moment, but every moment since then has been worth it. Years ago I decieded I would have to protect my children from all of this, I thought that it would completely screw them up to know their mother was addicted to Pokies. I was wrong. The moment I admitted to being human to my children by saying I had made mistakes and I was sorry. I was not only forgiven but met with the words from my 12year olds mouth ‘ Mum everyone makes mistakes!’

What I didn’t realise in that healing moment, was that I was also creating a safe passage for pain that they may one day need.

I will be there for them always and without judgement, as I am there for all who disclose to me now, because of the way I vulnerably speaking about my struggles. It provides an access to a persons inner workings, when pain is met with understanding.