Dark places

Chantal Vrede

As a FED (Familie Ervarings Deskundige) in training and a licensed and practicing ED (Ervarings Deskundige) I write about my own experiences, allowing the reader to take a peak inside my soul and hopefully find some healing of their own. My deepest wish is to contribute to healing the African Diaspora as I share the steps I take to heal my Self. As we heal one by one working on our own Self, we restore the collective.

These last weeks I have seen several posts by sisters that are coping with severe loneliness, anxiety and fear.. A deep sense of despair, desolate, hollow and unfulfilled. The one thing all of these posts have in common is a desperate seeking on how to fill this void.

I lived in this dark place for almost two decades. At times an external beam of light would enter only to be dimmed by the darkness of my most inner thoughts. To fill the void I allowed toxic people into my life, allowed men to desecrate my temple and polluted my Self with chemicals just so I could be numb and less aware of the hollow feeling. The more I got high on life or substance the deeper the fall into despair would be when sobering up. The more I sought to fix my problem the deeper I would sink. Therapy, anti-depressants, counseling, good sex, self help books, name it I tried. I felt hopeless, nothing or no-one seemed to be able to fix me. I was broken beyond repair. Shattered by my experiences.

I hit rock bottom and was committed to a mental asylum. During the observation phase I was placed in ward 1. This ward was the catch-all for all empty and lost souls. Some came in handcuffed, kicking and screaming, others tied to stretchers and a few, like me, walked in on their own with a empty gaze. I could not speak without crying for the first few days. The harsh realization of my whereabouts was a slap in my face.

As I sat in front of the automated glass sliding doors, paralyzed by fear to step outside, a psychiatric nurse from another ward joined me. As I felt him observe me the tears started streaming down my face. He asked me where I was from not paying my tears or trembling any mind. At first I didn’t understand the question and answered ward 1, I am allowed on the compound 3 times a day for 15 minutes. No are you Antillean or from Suriname, the latter I replied. His face lit up talking about my homeland that he had visited on many occasions. Contemplating to go and live there when retired. Why don’t you walk through those doors he asked. Fear, I replied. Why, whats beyond those doors. I was taken aback by this question. I am just afraid, I am not sure why. His beeper went off and he got up to attend to his duties. He turned to me and said the healing is in the Why. Keep asking your Self why.

I was committed the summer of 2017, I have gradually conquered most all of my fears, simply by asking myself, why. Why is this scaring me, why is this hurting me, why do I feel lonely. Why is not some kind of magical word with healing powers but it is a caring word. A word without judgement, filled with genuine curiosity to the underlaying reason of fears or anxiety. I have been able to peel the layers of anxiety and fear back to the moment that they reared their head.

Loneliness has made place for solitude. A place where I can go to heal, where I can reach my hollow places and fill them with love, compassion and gratitude for my Self. Grateful that they once served as a way of coping with the trauma’s that I survived.

Peace, love and light

Over ons

Over ons

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