Guest post by Peter Bruun, founder of New Day Campaign.
Healing is complex and requires connection: connection between yourself and others, ideally a community of family and friends who accept in full your fallibility and hold on to hope and faith despite whatever erring, shortcomings, or hurtful behaviors you may exhibit; connection to your own body and its needs for exercise and good nutrition; connection within your mind, be that to a higher power or a quiet place within yourself where you know everything is okay all the time, and you are okay; connection through love wherever and however it can be found.
Healing takes not one thing, but many things. Healing is not a thing that happens and then is done: it is a continual practice.
We all need healing - those affected, and those with loved ones affected. Part of that healing means recognizing when fear and judgment threaten to eclipse compassion and understanding... recognizing our emotions are powerful things to absolutely acknowledge but not necessarily act upon.
Emotions are to be felt, like weather, and like weather known to be passing. Part of healing is staying connected to compassion... to love (unconditionally)... while also knowing support may at times be conditional (conditional support can be the most loving thing to offer).
Healing may depend on knowing there is no single right way, and our paths to healing can take surprising and even alarming paths.
My personal example: it became incredibly healing for me to spend nearly a year living in close proximity with a young woman living in active addiction - I had to understand and be with the part of my daughter I so did not want to know when she was alive. After my daughter died of an overdose, the only thing I wanted to know was that part: that year of living dangerously gave me that, and it was a necessary and healing tunnel.
Healing means giving yourself permission to live, and nurturing the belief you are worth it. Healing means knowing that hurting - even the scariest and most far out there variety - is normal.
To those upon whom mental illness (or addiction) visits itself for the first time? Know the sun still rises, and help exists, and hope is real. Know that your love matters.
This guest post was submitted by Peter Bruun, who lost his daughter to addiction and a drug overdose. This post was submitted as a part of our Recovery Month 2018 efforts.
You can reach Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org
The New Day Campaign is an initiative led by artist, curator, and organizer Peter Bruun that is dedicated to using arts programming and public engagement to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and substance use, making the world a more healing place.
In 2018 and 2019, the New Day Campaign is presenting a number of exhibitions and events throughout Maryland as part of its Dusk & Dawn series, aimed at awakening hope and healing for those hurting from behavioral health challenges. Learn more here.