Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Contemplating A Life Of Empowering Young People

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A new idea has been blossoming in my mind this last month. I have started to imagine the possibility of my future career having a focus on inspiring and empowering young people to take care of the world around them.

I began writing my blog over two years ago. It originally was meant to be a venue for me to express myself as I went through a deep process of purging a lot of psychic dreck. This process took quite a bit of time. I didn't really start to feel a lot better until at least six months passed after I first took a trip down the "psychotherapeutic rabbit hole" in June, 2013. Appreciating the depth of how wounded I felt by the negligence, stupidity and corruption of so many individuals and institutions was a very sobering experience. I felt sad for many, many months. I felt inspired when the one year anniversary of my blog arrived in July, 2014. I felt pleased I had been so diligent in documenting the journey of my own conscious healing. And yet I was still dealing with the fallout of all the pain from the summer one year prior to that time. Learning about 'complex PTSD' certainly was difficult. I could easily see myself writ large in the content I read.

The sadness I (often unconsciously) carried around for so many years of my life (beginning at the age of nine) began to decisively lift early this year. This is quite an accomplishment. Considering that I essentially walked about the world with a health condition that had never been successfully (ie fully) treated for some three decades (despite previous forays into therapy) it's quite an accomplishment to decisively heal in a mere two years. Indeed, I got quite a return on my investment of time slogging through the darkest of my memories.

Some would contend that sadness and depression are two words that essentially describe the same phenomenon. I would disagree. I believe there is a fine but nonetheless critical distinction between the two. Sadness is a normal experience every human can expect to experience at some point in life because sadness is so intimately bound up in loss. And we will all experience loss at some point in our life journeys.

I believe depression is a somewhat different matter. Depression is not something I think we are wise to expect that every human being will experience. Many will however. When sadness goes untreated for a long period of time I believe it can metaphorically metastasize into something as heavy and unwieldy as depression. In that sense depression is like sadness gone very, very bad. Think of something that has sat in your fridge for weeks and weeks past its expiration date. Such food is the equivalent of depression. When sadness festers for months or even years at a time it seems depression is almost inevitable.

Based on my own life history I have become convinced of the pressing need for the mental health community to develop a much greater understanding of what trauma is and how it affects people. Studies show there many millions of Americans who suffer from some mental health condition at any given time. And the more I have learned about trauma the more I have become convinced that trauma can compound existing issues and render individuals and even whole communities that much more vulnerable. I would like to see more local, state, federal and even international efforts to understand and prevent trauma. I believe the world would be a much better place if we made such a concerted effort.

Years ago, immediately after I completed my undergraduate degree, I took a significant detour and tried out the world of religious life. Looking back it now seems so strange that I did. Though I didn't remain in the religious order I was once a member of (for nearly three years) some of the experiences I had during that time have remained with me in the intervening time. I remember my encounters with so many different types of people. I worked with many populations of people who often go unserved or underserved. And one population among them was young people.

Imagining a real career working with a younger population of people has come as something of a surprise. And yet I am not the person I was two years ago. I am a much stronger, more resilient, more unshakeable person. I have a well placed confidence in my skills and capacities.

A whole new world is opening up now.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!