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Why the Path Toward Healing Feels Lonely

Healing is hard. Even when you have a great support system, it's common to feel like you're on your healing journey alone.

While you don't have to go through the healing journey alone (as in by yourself), healing in and of itself is a lonely process.

Let me explain.

Healing is something that comes from within yourself. No matter the circumstances or anyone else involved, you have to be the one to make a conscious choice of healing some part of yourself.

When I decided I needed to change the course of my life and recover from my eating disorder(s), I made that conscious decision myself. For quite some time, medical professionals and people in my immediate environment either directly told me or hinted to me that something was wrong. I didn't believe it until I truly believed it with my own heart of hearts, sans the input from others.

Some people know what to change and how to change it, but are afraid to take that next step. Change is scary. What you've grown accustomed to... you can't just simply get rid of it, right? It provided you with safety or comfort, whether it was short-term or long-term. This can include unhealthy relationships, bad habits, your job, your finances, or your home, amongst many other things. Even when you know change needs to occur, you don't truly believe it. You ignore it.

When you have attachments to things that no longer serve you, it's easier to say you can or want to get rid of it versus actually doing the darn thing. And not everyone around you will always be on the same page -- and even if they are, no one can understand your personal experience as intimately as you.

So, why is the healing journey lonely? Because it requires conscious effort on your part, regardless of other people's input. It requries you to truly look inward on all the decisions you have made up until this point, to get you to where you are right now, in this moment. It requires change: change in thinking, change of circumstances, change of habit, change of location, change of feeling, change of level of acknowledgement, etc., etc., etc. It requires thinking about the next steps to take to live out the changes that need to be made. It requires you to forgive yourself for all the ways you have been hurt by yourself and others, whether you had control over situations or not. It requires holding true in your peace and power, and it requires a lot of releasing. You must release the things that are holding you back from healing.

All of this can only be done by you, and no one person will ever experience the exact same experience as you.

Brittney's tips to soften the loneliness felt by healing oneself:

  • Heal at your own pace. You may also go through periods of time where you aren't as invested in your healing journey.

  • Forgive yourself when you "mess up" or "fall back" on old patterns, routines, people, thought processes, etc. Shame holds us back.

  • Remember that you are human. Humans are not perfect!

  • Some people do better with small changes over time; others do better with cutting out a bunch of the crap at once. Some people flip-flop between the two. Do what works best for you.

  • Talk kindly to yourself.

  • Even though healing is a personal journey, there are things that can help you along the way that involve other people. It is useful to have a good support system (friends, family, mental health therapist, animals/pets). Engage in discussions with trusted individuals in your life when you are not doing well or when times get tough.

  • Move your body in some way -- it's a great way to release tension and anger.

  • Journal. Many people roll their eyes at this one, but it's true. Answer different prompts or write about any negative thoughts that come up for you. It's good to write about something that recently triggered you and try to find where that trigger stems from in your childhood or from a negative experience in your life. This is one of the most helpful tools I have come to learn about.

  • Mindfulness and meditations.

  • Artistic and creative hobbies, alone or with others.

  • Practice self-care.

  • I would not be where I am today without the help of Patrick Teahan LICSW. Per his YouTube "About" section, Patrick is "a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a childhood trauma specialist". He uploads useful videos on his YouTube channel that cover a wide range of topics involving childhood trauma and how to heal. Many people's current triggers stem from their childhood.

Keep fighting for peace. You deserve it.

Much love,

Brittney xx

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