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The Creative Art of Healing

Healing isn’t easy. We want to run, jump, jab, and kick just like we used to. But the wound or the injury isn’t letting us. We have to wait. We have to rehab. 

You break a bone and your body is searching for different ways to help heal. You work with your doctor. You test a little on your own. The recipe of all three isn’t always perfect, and sometimes it takes longer than expected because a few of the ingredients were off by a bit. But you do your best to make it work. And your body heals to the extent that it’s able, and you are for a good while at 50%, 75%, or 100% of your former capacity. Through it all, you are more than likely able to receive support from family, friends, a spouse, or colleagues. 

Why don’t we work the same way with our need to heal from psychological wounds, from grief, from trauma? The brain is an organ that changes in response to grief and trauma—in essence and actuality becoming wounded. Your brain and body are searching for ways to heal. And we need to, but often don’t, call on the support of a doctor or trained professional (sometimes because of the fear of being stigmatized, and sometimes the grief or trauma is too big at the moment to see anything else in the surrounding world). You might not test healing tactics on your own because unlike getting help for a physical wound with a first aid kit, we have no such thing as a first aid kit for our brains—and the recovery process for a brain injury is probably not talked about in the home like the recovery process for a physical injury. The recipe for healing from grief and trauma, pretty much doesn’t exist. To speak again in metaphorical terms, the only spice you have in the rack is a single bay leaf and you can’t figure out why what you’re tasting continues to turn out awful. On top of it, it’s anyone’s guess whether or not you receive support from family, friends, a spouse, or colleagues. Impatience. Heal faster. What’s wrong with you? Why are you making ridiculous decisions? And so on.  

There is no time limit on grief or the healing process. And by any means necessary you must search high and low for people, advisors, or fellow chieftains who are empathetic, kind, and unconditionally supportive of you and what you need during your healing process. 

One thing to remember: you’re doing okay. You and your body are tapping into the creative process, whether you know it or not, in order to heal. Pretty incredible and worthy of self-acknowledgement that you are doing your best, and that you are fighting one of the most difficult battles you have ever known. And even when it seems like you aren’t winning you have advisors and chieftains at your disposal to assist you—and you are a powerful and relentless warrior who already has everything inside to heal, to achieve, to be. Never forget that. 

Just Say “No,” — It’s More Than Just an Anti-Drug Slogan

We're taught at an early age to be agreeable and nice, and we tend to associate saying “yes” and making people happy as a good thing. But it’s not often that a person is taught at a young age that saying “no” is okay, you can still be agreeable and nice while saying “no,” and that saying “no” can be good for: a person’s mental health, opening up doors for something different or better, and healthy time management; just to name a few possibilities. 

If you make a promise, you better be able to keep it. There’s nothing wrong with saying “no” up front when asked to do something for someone else. 

It’s way more disappointing to deal with a broken promise rather than an honest “no” or “maybe, but not now.” 

Take the Extra Help When you Can Get it, No, Seriously

So, I'm about to throw down some #realtalk. My fingers are shaking as I type, knowing I'm going to disclose some personal information, but conceptually I shouldn’t be buggin’; worrying about what people will think. I know lots of people are in the same or similar boat as me, yet this is still something we don’t really talk about. There’s lots of reasons why: stigma, fear of being seen as “less than,” the idea that help shouldn’t come in the form that it does. 

Last week I started taking an antidepressant for the first time in my life. I was fraying around the edges due to some pretty gnarly life events from the past year. My coping skills are on point, and I know this. I was back in therapy. But the pressure from these life events of the past year, were too heavy even for someone so self-aware working in the field of mental health. 

But I’m cool with it. So far, it’s helping. I don’t know how long it’s going to last. Probably not forever, nor will I necessarily need to take this pill forever. But for now, it’s cool. 

I resisted this kind of help for so long. I probably could have asked for help in pill form 3-5 months ago. But I had to do it all by myself. Not a good coping skill (pick yourself up by the bootstraps, Josh! Um, no.).

I had to try something new to get the help I needed. So, I gave the self-stigmatizing voices in my head a little b&$^-slap and made the leap. 

Bottom line, take the extra help when you need it (in general—I’m not necessarily referring to a pill), and sometimes, take that help even when you don’t think you need it. It can be difficult to get out of your own way when you’ve been slugging along, day by day, trying your hardest to do the right thing for you and the people around you. But you’re also human and perfectly imperfect. It’s okay to take a breather, recalibrate, try something new with some outside help, get back on the horse and see if that new thing is working. And if the new thing, your new efforts aren’t working, reach out again for help and try something else you haven’t tried before. Life is but a rehearsal. There is no “perfect” and there are mulligans a plenty. And there are lots of people who’ve been in your shoes who haven’t necessarily been vocal about their issues as of yet. Take the leap. Help is in front of your nose. 

Some People Will be Unconvinced

So, I’m going through an ugly battle in the building where I live in Beverly Hills. Several of the other occupants think our family is the cause of some disturbance. Of course it isn’t and we have indisputable proof. I even offered to speak with the two disgruntled parties after they approached the landlord (one of these two parties never confronted me directly), did so, and was still met with aggression, lies, and phony platitudes. One man, no matter how much evidence we have presented, is not convinced and has threatened us with legal action and is making our lives hellish. 

But some people will never be convinced, right? No matter how great you do, how you speak, evidence you present, or the incredible changes you make in your life—some people will still hate you or be set in their own personal agenda.

Since we’ll never be able to change their minds, it’s better to focus on the people who support you, love you, care for you—and on the potential people who can and will do the same. 

Trying to convince the haters and trying to prove yourself simply won’t work for everyone. It sucks but it’s okay because we can’t control everything in our lives anyway.

The key to failure is trying to please everyone. Help yourself, then your loved ones, then your supporters. Those naysayers, the unconvinced, the ones who would love nothing more than to zap you dry or steal your sunshine—%^&* ‘em. Walk away or avoid them if possible, and pay them no mind. Their energy isn’t worth your time or the time it takes for them to poke unnecessary holes in the greatness you’ve built inside yourself.