Recently, a friend told me something I didn’t know about jellyfish: that certain types of jellyfish are responsible for bringing little bits of nutrients from the depths of the seas all the way up to the surface of the water. They deposit bits of those nutrients as they push their way upward, contributing nibbles for all sorts of creatures in the ecosystem. When I heard this, I immediately thought of how this can be a metaphor for our lives, and dealing with trauma.
In the deep, dark places, things happen to us. We get hurt. We’re betrayed. We’re abused. It’s traumatic. And it’s very easy to keep all of these experiences in the depths. But, what would happen if we followed the way of the jellyfish? What if we decided to leave the depths and head toward the surface of the ocean?
Around the same time my friend told me about jellyfish, I had another diagnosis added to my list of mental illnesses: PTSD. It wasn’t a surprise to me. Flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and constantly walking around in a state of fear were all clues that I might be dealing with that. But hearing that acronym out loud was still a bit of a shock (no jellyfish pun intended). I thought this diagnosis was something that was only given to people that have had really bad things happen to them. And then I realized, I have had some really bad things happen to me. And, clearly, I’m still not at peace with them.
So, what to do with all of this? How do I handle this diagnosis? I knew I had to “avoid avoiding” and deal with these lingering issues by putting a plan into action. So, for the first time in about ten years, I found myself a therapist — one who specializes in treating people who have experienced trauma. On the day of writing this, I’ll have had my third meeting with her in which we have been creating a timeline from my birth to present day of all of the traumatic events that have happened to me. Yeah, it’s been a rough few sessions.
But, like the jellyfish, I know it’s time for me to finally come out of the depths and push my way to the surface. I’m bringing all of those bits of trauma with me, and I’m going to release them into the ocean — little by little. How will this benefit the ecosystem around me? I’m hoping that as I go through this process of talking about and treating each bit of trauma, I will be empowered, and that this empowerment will radiate to those around me. Because, as we let go of things that keep us in the depths, we’re one push closer to being able to see the light at the surface, and we’re more able to point others toward that light, too.
And, the great thing is, just like jellyfish (who travel in swarms), we’re not alone. When we push upward from the depths together, releasing those dark bits that we’d much rather hide, we can have a profound impact on our ecosystem. So keep sharing those bits from the depths, however you feel safe to do so, and let’s all push upward together.
This post was originally intended to be my normal, weekly post. So, that means you get a song of the week to go along with it. Enjoy!