When we hear of tragedy, it can be a wake-up call. Death, by accident, choice or due to a series of circumstances or events that have resulted from deep and complicated issues, often stop people in their tracks, to contemplate.

Whether young or old, man or woman, successful or struggling, each and every one of us experiences moments, days or perhaps years of turmoil in our souls. This turmoil can lead to addictions, criminal charges, relationship issues, difficulty with work or school, and an endless stream of drama that unfolds, as long as we fail to acknowledge the underlying causes.

For some, the turmoil began as a child. For some, the turmoil began with the loss of a significant relationship. For others, the turmoil is an underlying mental health issue that acts like a veil over daily life, causing shadows on even the best of times.

As humans, we have a memory bank of words, phrases, images and videos that capture our life to date. When the memory bank causes us to feel pain, hurt, sadness, disappointment, stress, depression or anger, our behaviours often act like a mirror to those feelings.

Individuals will numb the pain with drugs, they will escape with alcohol and he or she will soothe what is hurting by immersing in vices or activities that distract, cover up and mask the real problems that are acting like a festering, infected wound. This wound can grow and get more toxic by the day.

Many people live for decades feeling this way. They are functional, in the real world and most think and believe that they have things pretty well together. It is often known, only by a few, that he or she is feeling like a mess inside.

That is the game that some people play; they attempt to create an image of composure and a façade of someone who they would like others to believe they are. They don’t want other people to know what they are really going through inside, they don’t want to burden others with their adversity and so, they trudge on, alone in their misery.

If you are someone who feels this way about yourself and your life, it means that you have been strong, you have been resilient and you have faced hardships that others may never even know. It means that you have been scarred, deeply, by whatever has happened to you or in your life or work.

It doesn’t mean that you need to go back there, relive it, or dedicate years of your future addressing it. It does mean; however, that if you are still feeling pain of anything that has taken place in your past, whether minor or major, that you can decide to acknowledge those difficult times and choose to move forward in a healthy way.

If your pain is causing you to feel angry all the time, it may be that you are directing the anger to the wrong person, which is straining your relationships. If you are feeling worthless, it may be that you have bought into lies, which have no basis in reality. If you are feeling guilt or shame, maybe it is time to forgive yourself, so you are not punishing others, inadvertently.

Your life can come out of darkness. It starts with a decision to heal. If you know of someone who is living in this kind of struggle, may you reach out to them with your own pain, so that they can realize that they are not alone and that they are cared about.

We all have or have had darkness in our thoughts that have lead us to feel as if we are hopeless and without a chance to feel better. It is what we decide to do, in the midst of that darkness that will determine the outcome.

We each deserve to heal. We each have value, gifts to offer others and people who love us and need us. Do you believe that about yourself? If not, it is time that you did. Reach out and talk with someone. They are waiting to help you.

‘You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.’ ~ Sophia Bush

If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a crisis or addiction in Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma, Northern Ontario or other parts of North America, you can call 211 to reach a live person that can provide you with phone numbers of services that may be of assistance to you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.