Why I Stopped Asking Why in my Mental Health Journey
I am someone who believes I am never done in my mental health and recovery journey. I believe this because I am never done being human. Learning to be alive and fully human has been one of the biggest gifts and the hardest lessons I continue to face in my recovery from an eating disorder, substance use and PTSD. I often hear in my spiritual practices, “You are a soul having a human experience.” But being human sucks.
I would say that right now being human for so many people around the world is incredibly scary and feels impossible. Being human means I am not all powerful and perfect. I didn’t grow up knowing that I could be human. I didn’t know that it was okay to have questions instead of worshiping at the altar of answers.
I find so often in recovery and mental health journey that questions lead to more questions more often than they will ever lead me to an answer. I have also learned that my lifeline in being human is always connecting with the people who have the same questions as me. When I find the courage to whisper my questions out loud to the world, I will often get a quiet “me too.” These two words have saved my life.
“Me too. I tell myself that my body determines my worth and my value."
"My heart is also broken because my parents refuse to accept that I am gay."
"I wake up sometimes and tell myself that I am going to hell because of who I am…what is even the point in trying?"
"I am also a survivor of trauma and abuse."
"I too feel like I will never get better or learn how to like myself, let alone love myself."
"I am broken. I cry sometimes in the beautiful moments of my life because it is a reminder that they are supposed to be here with me. I just want to know why!"
These were just some of the questions I share with many brave persons I have met in my journey. Thank you to everyone who has shown me that I am not alone.
I used to believe that healing was about discovering the why. I needed to figure out the why of the eating disorder, the depression, the trauma, the anxiety, the addiction…why do my parents abuse us? If I could figure out the why then I could fix it and make it all go away. Healing was about “fixing it.” If I could fix it then maybe I would be “normal.”
This is the lie of the why. It keeps me believing that I am broken. It tells me that being human is not enough, that I am not enough. My whole life becomes trapped in needing to solve the riddle of why. The beauty of allowing myself and others to be human is that I am no longer on the hook for the why.
I am not broken, and my struggles have not damaged me. They make me who I am. They are the beautiful questions. I have learned in my healing and recovery journey that what I need more than the answer to “why” is to let go of the shame around the “what.”