Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Who Heals The Healer

Any lover of video games or Dungeons and Dragons will tell you when you're creating your party, a healer is a necessary member of the group. The one with the magic incantations, potions, and powders to ensure the group can survive and thrive. Think about your close friends, you probably have someone who goes out of their way making sure you're ok; checks on you, brings you food, will stay up all night talking to you... a true blue friend, one you never worry about how you stand with.

I bet, without even knowing them, I can pin their birthday to a monthlong window. Late August to Late September...Virgos (of which I am one), are the healers of the Zodiac, the fixers of problems. Virgos tend to be sensitive, empathetic, and honest, all good qualities...of course we also tend toward perfectionism, brutal self awareness of our own flaws, and a strong desire to make sure everyone around us is happy, and doing well, sometimes, oftentimes at the expense of if not our own happiness and well being at least somewhat detrimental to it.

But all of that takes a heavy toll, being strong for others, holding everyone else up, picking up their pieces, wears you out. So if you are without a faithful friend of your own, a person who can help restore you, the road grows long. Over the last two years I have worn myself down to a nub, trying (and evidently failing, since she turned to others) to be strong for my then wife after we lost Jacob, trying to be strong for the boys, giving them a sure and comforting place of safety, trying to be strong for myself, to stay out of this pit of true despair and desperation. A pit I came dangerously close to, but was led away from by someone who will forever own a piece of my heart.

Something I have yet to learn on my journey is how best to accomplish fixing myself..."Physician heal thyself." If I have an honest, full portrait of a friend's problem, I can tell them all the things they should do to have the best outcome possible...but my own pains and problems are so many trees in an endless forest. The struggle weighs you down, the strength and empathy and understanding all drain the reserves, and if you get too selfless, too invested in helping everyone else...well you become what I currently am, a shell...

There are people I can turn to, talk to, people who have lightened my burdens, but I remain, especially during these last two years, guarded, distant, and don't let anyone in close enough to see the healer's true wounds. Perhaps because others who've seen my truest wounds have hurt me in my past, perhaps because I am still not sure anyone else could know how to fix a fixer, I stuggle along. It really is a hard thing, admitting, showing someone else those deep wounds, the ones that are scabbed over, but always ready to bleed again. It's hard because they aren't things we want anyone else to know about or see. But if we don't share them, it virtually guarantees we will never have the love we really want, and deserve.

Now to be fair I have started counseling and my therapist is working really hard at showing me how to fix myself, so perhaps that will be the key that finally unlocks that door for myself. But learning how to fix myself, and learning how not to empty myself at the service of fixing someone else are mutually exclusive ideas.

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