What do you do when you find yourself in the tunnel with no head-light? it’s dark. you try to yell and can only hear your own echo… and while in the dark, how do you keep going? you don’t even know which direction you are going. Should you go back?
I came across several clients this week who were in so much despair, feeling hopeless, betrayed by the system, a relationship, or their own judgment, that it was overwhelming for me to sit there listening to their stories. How not to?
So what do you do when you have lost your children? lost your job and the roof over your head? lost all sense of direction and ground under your feet. All you knew or thought yours has disappeared. What that challenge is doing is not only apparent around you. It deeply impact your sense of self, kind of destroys it. All you have once been, is now gone. The memory of this previous life or self seem not yours anymore; or the thought of it is just too painful.
I have to write about this. It’s bugging me.
People going through hardship of that kind are not asking for help. When they enter the room and sit, they wonder why they are here; and while they wonder, they unconsciously hope that someone will listen. Consciously they know no-one will, but a glimpse of hope remain without them knowing. It’s called survival.
My role is to be with them, hold their pain and despair while their describe their lost life. Just to be with them. Listening, holding the space for them, holding the silence, the tears, the gaze; and the shame. Not only of course. But that is clearly the start.
I feel weary afterwards, overwhelmed, teary. And even though I judge myself for not being strong enough or for not having accomplished anything, I also know that I’ve done a good job, that what I offered was, as little as it was, somehow enough. That this woman or this man left with feeling a bit more as themselves. It’s more than feeling heard. They know that I saw them, they felt it.
…and this is like a tiny little light in the middle of the tunnel.