A few years I fractured my left foot. I dropped a five pound dumbbell on it from about nose height. Don’t ask.
If you don’t understand how a teeny-tiny little dumbbell could do much harm you I dare you to drop one on your bare foot. Needless to explain, the pain was so intense I could no longer stand.
Fetal position, big tears like I was five-years-old, and there was cursing. Oh, was there was cursing. And then I called my husband.
“Drive yourself to the ER,” he told me.
“I can’t actually stand right now,” I said. “When you come home from work I’ll go to the urgent care.”
I hung up and shoved my foot in a bucket of ice.
That whole day I hobbled around in wild pain. I did end up going to the Urgent Care later that night. It wasn’t fractured badly enough for anything more than a “boot” but I wasn’t able to put any weight on it for a week without pain.
I didn’t say,
Oh no big deal. I’m a martyr. I can handle it.
Because we usually don’t do that with physical injuries. My husband said to go to the doctor. He was right and I listened to him. I got my injury looked at and cared for. I got help for my pain.
But we do that so easily with emotional pain. We say that it’s no big deal. It doesn’t hurt that bad. I can heal on my own. I don’t need help.
I can speak from personal experience when I say, what-a-load-of-crap.
We do need help. Whether we actually need professional help or simply help from friends and people who support us, we do need help. Gone should be the martyr mentality for emotional and spiritual struggle. Yet so many of us neglect this part of our lives.
When I wrote about our house loss a few weeks ago I talked about the idea of the disparity between what I felt and what I thought I should feel. A part of me really didn’t think my house loss was that big of a loss so I really shouldn’t need help.
It’s like my foot. I hurt my foot but I could still drive the kids to school and I got by on some 2 or 3 or 4 extra strength Tylenol. When I consider someone down the road who might be recovering from a broken leg, the rational part of me says that my pain is no big deal.
Not only can she not go to work but she can’t drive or exercise or vacuum her floors. She is seriously handicapped by her injury, way more than me, and it takes a lot longer than me to heal. We are both in pain but maybe hers is more than mine.
But, does her injury negate mine? Not at all. My foot still must heal and there is legitimate pain involved with an injury, even like that.
Does her injury make mine any less important? No. Not at all.
Our injuries, whether physical or emotional, are not connected beyond the fact that we are asked to bear one another’s burdens and help carry the loads of others in our life.
But here’s what I’m learning. We must care for our injuries, however small, because when we don’t we cannot carry the burdens of others. And further, when we neglect our emotional or spiritual pain, we are legitimately neglecting a part of us that needs real types of care and real healing.
Go to a therapist.
Get your girls around you to talk.
Ask your spouse or mother for support.
But do something. Be honest with someone about your emotional or spiritual pain and then move toward healing. We only hurt ourselves more when we don’t get help.
What do you think? Do you neglect or care for yourself spiritually or emotionally? What kind of help have you gotten in this area? Why are we prone to care for ourselves physically but not emotionally?