Trizzy's Blog

Recycle Your Pain

A lot of people with mental health challenges experience physical and emotional pain. Everyone experiences this pain differently and they cope with it in their own unique way. There are coping skills that have been shared throughout the internet which you can choose from but, today I am going to demonstrate one of the many tools I use to cope with my mental and physical pain in a way it works for me. 

I want to make a disclosure. I am not a psychiatrist or therapist. I am someone with lived experience in mental illness and I use my recovery story to encourage and empower others who are struggling with mental illness as well. 

I used to carry a lot of waste from my past. This came in the form of memories, thoughts, or feelings. Because of the trauma associated with these past experiences, and my lack of knowledge on the topic, it was difficult for me to dispose of them in a healthy way so I carry them in my subconscious for years and years to come.

According to Oxford Dictionary one of the meanings of recycling is to convert (waste) into reusable material. I see past experiences and traumas as waste material in my mind that causes me to feel emotional and physical pain. One of the ways I cope with these symptoms is by art making. Whenever a painful thought or experience pops into my mind, I try to convert that thought or experience into something beautiful. 

Something that helps me cope with my pain is helping, supporting, and sharing my recovery story with others. When I share my recovery story, I also incorporate my art. I subtract power from the source of my painful emotion or situation by doing that. By releasing all pain through art and creating something beautiful and meaningful, I change the course of that experience. I create a new story every time I recycle my painful emotion into a positive outcome. like painting or sharing my story.

When I took all my past experiences, trauma, and pain and, said to myself: “I am going to live my life teaching others ways to cope with their mental health condition and how to use all the pain and convert it into power“, everything changed. 

In order to recycle our pain into power it is required for us to take the power back and away from the source of our pain. Sometimes this pain has the form of a family member, a challenging childhood experience, and even trauma. When we give power and control to a person or situation we lose sight of who we are.

As a survivor of sexual trauma, for many years, I gave someone who hurt me that power. I was feeling miserable, weak, tired, and without hope. I wanted the pain to ease so I challenged myself to change my way of thinking and then, I took the control back. It was an amazing feeling and experience.

When my marriage collapsed, the loss was so overwhelming that, I registered for a Grief Healing Arts Workshop. In the workshop, we were asked to create a painting explaining our pain and loss. Using acrylic paints, I started releasing my pain into the canvas. Every time I would use the brush and place paint into the canvas I felt like I was releasing it. I called the piece of art “Holding On to Letting Go”. I took all my pain, frustration, and sadness and recycled it. It was a painful experience but I took my power back by releasing it into the canvas and creating something beautiful out of that painful situation. All the power that painful experience had on me vanished the minute I released it. 

Even if art is a great tool to challenge symptoms of pain in my body, prayer, and scripture reading are better tools. They help me release all pain by reminding me of who carries my pain.  By illustrating my faith in my journaling Bible I find peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding.  What better way to release your pain than by placing yourself in God’s hands?

The book of 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Taking our thoughts captive simply means gaining control over the situation. Whatever we think has an effect on our minds. God has provided a way for us to overcome those unhealthy patterns of thoughts and behaviors, and gain control over the matter. How do I gain control back? By admitting that I have those intrusive thoughts, accepting that I can gain control back with the help of God, and bringing to mind enabling thoughts instead of disabling ones.

I had to learn to take every thought captive and allow God to transform me by renewing my mind. (Romans 12:2). Instead of focusing on my outward behavior or thoughts, I started working on disciplining my mind from which the behaviors stem. Whenever the thought of how unbearable the pain is comes, I take a grab of it and release it to God. If I allow the pain to overcome me then intrusive thoughts start rising in my mind and those can cause me to lose control. So I think of things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. (Phil 4:8)

The Scriptures tell me that I am never alone. God sent the Holy Spirit to empower me and help me in any situation and so are you. He is my comforter. My comfy blanket, where I go to find peace. He is the source of our strength. Whenever I feel pain, either emotional or physical that is overbearing, I can pray to Him and He will rescues me. “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”. Philippians 4:13.