In my journey I have found that community is an amazingly beautiful place to heal. I have set up various safe places where there are loving and accepting people. One of my favorite spots is the library. The local library lets me hang out for the day and study. They ask after me and are always kind. Kindness is such a balm on a sad day.
The coffee shop, where they make the most amazing hot chocolate, allow me to sit and use their internet and always have good conversation. The thing is that in all theses places there are people who have stories either like mine or similar. And so many people struggle through their own darkness.
But, one of the most amazing places of community that I have found is at Goddard College. My Alma Matter! When I showed up in 2010 for the Health Arts and Science program I was so new to being around large groups for extended amounts of time. And I don’t care what people say, orientation is almost hazing for people like me. At one point in the midst of the orientation day long session my brain had enough. I was falling headlong into a major anxiety and panic attack. All I wanted to do was run out of the room and find a place to hide. I turned to the person next to me and said “I have to go. I am having a really bad panic attack.” Then to my surprise the person looked at me and said, “What can I do to help you?” Not the usual “Well, take care.”, but how can I help. I told them what I needed. To not have to talk anymore.
In the circle, which to me are insanely unsafe things, that we were sitting in became claustrophobic and I pulled my chair back slightly. Making a “Q” instead of a circle. Then when the conversation moved around the circle and people took turns answering the current question the woman on my right answered and the woman on my left seamlessly responded. There was no pause. No uncomfortable silence while people waited for me to talk. Safety.
I had found my tribe. My safe people who expected me to be myself and to come out of my shell slowly. There is community everywhere. And we should never suffer alone. Though we often choose to. We really are not alone, though we often feel that way. It is easier to heal with someone than alone.