Help the Healer – Network of Pillars
I was inspired to write this article last week and jotted down the points I wanted to make. There are days when inspiration hits you from all sides and you do your best to jot them down as they come fast and intense. Then you have days where nothing seems to click. That day is today and I realize how much value was written in those few scribbled notes.
People who are with you when we are down, hurt or in a panic are healers on so many levels. They slow down, give you all the time in the world. They seek to understand you and do their best to support you to a better place. What happens to these healers when they are down, hurt or in a panic? I know from my 2o years of experience working in crisis response that first responders and other healers struggle to seek out help. Even though they are keenly aware of its value. Why is this? The individual may be afraid that seeking help will impact how others see their ability to do their job. They may perceive it as a sign of weakness or just feel they don’t have the time to help themselves when so many others need the help more.
I can sympathize with this from my own experiences.
As a volunteer and assistant trainer at the Distress Centre for Windsor Essex, I was drowning myself in shifts and extra training events. My home life was falling apart. The work of training volunteers and helping those on the phones gave me a false sense of purpose when my life at home was devoid of meaning. This happened again many years later as a full-time manager and trainer at Community Torchlight when funding was being pulled. There were huge shifts and pressures along with personal challenges with mental health for members of my household. There were huge pressures, huge overwhelm and fear. I thought that if I admitted I needed help that I would lose the respect of my peers, and maybe lose my job. It made more sense in my stressed mind to find a way to get hurt in an accident so I would have a valid reason to escape real life and rest for a while. In both cases, I was fortunate enough to have people who recognized that something was wrong. My deepest gratitude goes to both Sybil Lowry and Katherine Johnson for being the people who stepped up when I was burning out.
This is happening for others.
I am not an isolated case. Our network of supports is all burning out and suffering from compassion fatigue everywhere. The system is not set up in a way to give them what they need to fully get back on their feet. We need to find a way to create a safe space for healers to reach out and support each other. With this support, they can take the essential time to recharge, and find their footing again. What I envision is a network of healer pillars in overlapping arches so when we need it we can step away, that our clients and ourselves are supported. The network would create a space that allows for a full recovery so we can come back at our best. It would be a net of safe people to talk to, who will hold the space for you and support you to find what you need to go from empty to full.
Having my own independent practice there is the flexibility be able to move away from the desk, meditate, contact my supports and be in nature. As well as all of the other things that I know will heal me so I can be fully present for those I support. This is not the case for everyone. What I am proposing here is an opportunity to create this network of overlapping arches to be that safe place to support those who are looking for a safe place, because we all need someone to lean on so we can Live Strong and Authentic Lives and not just smile and fake it.