The Counter Voices


Sometimes we need a counter-voice to the one inside our head. So I put myself back in counseling. I say that with zero shame, one- because it’s healthy to recognize and be able to admit when you need outside help, and two- by the time a person usually arrives at this conclusion, they are so desperate for relief that they don’t care how others might perceive them. 

So there I sat, across from this stranger, pressing my wadded-up tissue against my palm, and giving her a window into my soul and recent events. 

She listened, closing her eyes at times, almost like a nod of familiarity to this grief experience I was describing. Whether from personal experience or proximity by profession, I am not certain, but either way, she understood. 

She told me that anyone would be feeling what I am given the circumstances, inviting me to give myself permission and freedom to feel, to walk alongside the pain and not rush to run past it. 

I had someone ask me to be that counter-voice recently, and she shared that just four raw months after the most unimaginable loss in her life, someone told her that she couldn’t use it as an excuse forever. 

I know. I felt rage on her behalf too. How unfair to have insult added to brutal injury, and to be told to just get over something that quite honestly, no one could. 

She eventually came out of it, she told me. She was able to get out of bed again and could actually remember a full day without it being a blur, and her appetite slowly returned. 

But it wasn’t because someone judged her grief and told her how to process it. 

It was because of all the people who surrounded her with love. 

The counter voices. 

The ones who said, “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling, but I’m here for you. 

“I care.” 

“I will make you something to eat.” 

“It won’t always feel this way.” 

“Let’s go outside for a walk.” 

If you’re reading this and you feel stuck in a vulnerable place of pain, know that it’s ok to ask for help. 

It doesn’t make you weak or more broken than others. It just means that sometimes life hands you something too big to process on your own. 

No one gets to tell you what to feel or how long to feel it. Period.

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