August 22, 2022
Rachel McCrickard, LMFT
Each week, our founder, Rachel, writes about her learnings and reflections in our newsletter, Mondays with Motivo. Sign up below to receive it in your inbox.
August 21, 2022
By: Rachel McCrickard
Do you ever scroll through social media and come across a post so powerful that you have to screenshot it and save it for later?
That’s what I did this weekend when I saw an Instagram post from Vienna Pharaon, founder of @mindfulmft. Here is what it said…
Wow. Pretty powerful words.
About five years ago, I experienced a significant trauma in my personal life. It was the kind of trauma that caused me to question everything about myself – my inherent worth and value, my sense of self, my relationships, my work – every part of my life was impacted.
I share this bit of personal history here because I’m confident I’m not alone. So many of us have experienced different forms of “big T or little t” trauma at some point in our life – the loss of an important relationship, the tragic death of a loved one, an experience of abuse, betrayal or neglect.
Through therapy, I learned that I self-medicate emotional pain by immersing myself in work – believing that I can busy-my-way-out of the pain, grief, and loss.
This form of self-medication is a bit sneaky because work/success is a type of addiction that is celebrated in our culture, whereas other forms of self-medication, like substances or toxic relationships, are easier to identify as harmful.
Regardless of the way in which we or others attempt to avoid pain, one thing is true for all of us – sitting with the pain and doing the hard work of processing through it is exhausting, and time-consuming, and ohhhh, soooo gradual.
Because my therapist is really, really good at her job, she is patient with me. She gently walks me back toward the pain because she knows that, despite my best efforts, I’ll never be able to succeed my way out of the pain.
Five years later, the pain still comes back, often, and with a fury. When it does, it feels like a relapse – almost like being traumatized all over again, causing me to feel like I’m back at Day One.
On those days, healing feels lightyears away, which is why Vienna’s post resonated so deeply with me. I love her acknowledgement that each experience of the pain is also a step closer to healing.
Vienna’s words reminded me of something I learned years ago from Bessel A. van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score – a book I’m sure many of us have read. He said, “It takes enormous trust and courage to allow yourself to remember.”
That quote is worth repeating… “It takes enormous trust and courage to allow yourself to remember.”
Bessel knew, and has taught so many of us, the power of journeying through the pain in an attempt to find healing.
The next time my pain resurfaces, I’m going to try my best to remember that it also comes with a gradual step toward healing.
Does this bring anything up for you that you’d like to share with me today? If so, I’d be honored to hear an experience of pain you’d like to courageously remember.
Rachel McCrickard, LMFT
We’ll be with you every step of the way.