Written by Kristin Barton Cuthriell, M.Ed, MSW, LCSW
When I meet my clients for the first time, most of them are going through some of the toughest times in their lives. Their strength and courage often amazes me. Empathizing as their story unfolds, can sometimes be painfully overwhelming. If it feels overwhelming to me, I often think, imagine what it must be like for them?
Together, we embark on a journey; a journey toward recovery and healing. The journey is usually a process, not an overnight fix. This road to healing is often difficult and sometimes long, but it is a road worth taking. Clients must feel their pain, grieve their losses, and begin to make changes in their lives so that they can find joy again.
Unaware of the long-term consequences, many people take the path of least resistance, avoiding their emotions. They may numb their feelings through the use of alcohol, drugs, sex, food, excessive shopping, gambling or other self-destructive behaviors. Self-medicating in this way, covers up painful emotions temporarily, but they do not go away. A band-aid has been placed over the injury, and the healing process has stopped.
Little do they know, their pain will pop back up in all sorts of different ways. It may show up in the form of somatic symptoms such as back pain, headaches, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal problems. The pain may resurface in the form of addiction, anxiety disorders, depression, or other mental health problems. Unprocessed, the pain may also increase the risk of illness and disease.
It takes a lot of strength to look pain in the eye and fight through it without covering it up in some self-destructive way. I admire my clients for being willing to take on this challenge. Whether their pain is due to a recent experience, they are tackling demons from the past, or they are relinquishing their self-medicating methods, they have chosen to get better. They have chosen to do what it takes to let life in.
One of my clients recently told me that a certain bible verse helps her with her pain. She inspired this post today, and I told her that I would share the verse with my readers. This post also goes out to those of you who are hurting.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”