Not All Wounds Are Visible

I have lived the first 44 years of my life without major medical or mental health issues. I have been sharing about my deep dive into the medical realm this year. Then slowly, by rounds 4 and 5, I started to experience the mental health issues that accompany chemo and well, everything else in my life right now. It is one of the reasons that my writing has taken a pause. I don’t feel like I have much to say right now.

However, after a visit with a good friend, I did realize that the post I am currently writing is one I want to muster-up and share. Go figure, it is happening yet again, during my sleepless steroid-induced nights. There’s nothing much better than a 3:11 a.m. musing, well, that’s up to you. LOL.

My friend was sharing about the pain, devastation, and struggle that accompanied a recent divorce. Now I have never lived through a divorce, but I have been taught it is one of the most mentally painful experiences one can have. She is a giver. And sadly, he is an alcoholic who was never physically abusive, but you can argue that the mental abuse was front and center. And like a good giver, she kept trying to figure out how to smooth it over. She would walk on egg shells and try to change and meet his needs. In this reality, she was not met with the same grace.

As we cried together over our mental blemishes, while different, I found that when she started to defend him my blood pressure would rise. I felt like a porcupine with all my quills raised. I don’t remember what she said, but what I heard was something along the lines of, “It’s not like he was physically abusive.”

That remark didn’t get my theological spidey senses going, but it sure got my physical vs mental health gong clanging!

The short of it is, I will take physical pain over mental pain any day. That statement is not something I knew prior to this experience. See, when you have your mental faculties at your ready, then you have what you need to get through the physical pain. When your mental state is fracturing, it’s hard to get through anything.

Sadly, most of us have this idea that physical pain—that which we can actually see with our own eyes—is worse. The scars are visible. I mean, it can literally kill you. And it leads us to say things like, “it’s not like I was physically hurt. It’s just an emotional blemish.” Well, fuck that shit! An emotional blemish can be just as fatal as a physical one. And sadly, we see that happening more and more these days. There are simply too many lives lost due to fracturing mental health. The truth is that emotional blemishes can be even worse because people cannot see them. There’s a lymphoma awareness slogan that says, “Not all wounds are visible.”

So, if you’re struggling and it’s not physical, please give yourself grace. Your pain is just as real, please don’t just slough it off. And for those caught in both the physical and mental pain (because as I have experienced they sure can come together), Lord, have mercy.

And in those deep and dark moments, I hope you have a safe place to turn. During my experience, I have been gifted with YOU. I do get sunshine, so much sunshine from you.

I have a whole document I’ve kept of things you’ve shared and when it gets dark, I go back to the sunshine—I have kept an assortment of words, but for this post, I’ll share one devotional quote, scripture, personal words, and of course, I’ll end on a Hallmark card. Here is some of the sunshine you have twinkled on me:

“God help me to accept the things I cannot change, and to trust Your grace even when things feel hopeless,” Amen (Christ in our Home, June 30, 2023)

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

 “May you know God’s healing touch through those around you. Christ’s hope-filled embrace and the Spirit’s beyond words peace in the days ahead.” (Pastor Kara)

“The same God who moves mountains and parts seas is watching over you, and there’s nothing God can’t do.” (Hallmark Card)


16 responses to “Not All Wounds Are Visible”

  1. Bernie Depra Avatar
    Bernie Depra

    You’re still my sunshine! I love seeing you everyday even if it’s mostly on the couch with your sweet pups! You’re stronger in your faith than you probably know. You bring communities and strangers together alike. You are a blessing to this world. I love you dear friend. Always! ❤️

  2. Diane Thomas Avatar
    Diane Thomas

    Pastor Dana,
    Having been through many different struggles myself during my life I know exactly what you are saying. It beats you down like nothing else does. I wish you peace during this difficult time and know there will be light on the other side.
    Sending you love and hugs.

  3. Debi Avatar

    Pastor Dana, never quit writing, and journaling, your thoughts. You will find an understanding that will guide you , it’ll be your knowledge of your faith ,and your experiences of those who you’ve comforted , unfortunately moving forward never comes when we are in our comfort zone- Blessings for you today

  4. Donna Avatar

    Dana, not only are you strong, you are quite a teacher. Grateful for all you’ve shared. And if I may take a moment to add a little dark humor, I concur: yes, the emotional pain of a broken relationship/divorce is far more difficult that the worst physical pain I can think of—having serious dental work! I’d rather have thirty drillings, root canals, and extractions than another broken relationship. Love you, and stay strong. xo

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