Continuing the ˝ Reclaiming well-being ˝ series of mental health talks with Maya Macković, who captured my attention and my heart with her openness and sincerity. Maya is a regression therapist and mindfulness trainer, a hyper-creative with golden hands who choose to share about benefits of sharing.
On her Instagram profile @bigmammamm, she generously shares bare and vulnerable bits of herself in an attempt to motivate others on their path of self-discovery. Her story for this purpose is about the healing power of speaking your truth and sharing your experience, no matter how painful.
As psychologists Abramowitz, Tolin and Street`s research has shown, attempts to suppress a thought can cause an increase in the frequency of the thought, while another research by Amir, Stafford, Freshman, and Foa shown that less developed trauma narratives obstruct recovery from trauma. You might want to read the interview about the Healing Power of Telling Your Trauma Story with ph.d. Seth J. Gillihan for Psychology today here, before you dive into Mayas story. It is with honour and gratitude that I invite you to learn from her and enjoy the read.
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The relevance of an outlet
˝I am known as the one who shares her truth without any holdbacks, (people will often add) without shame. I like saying how I had enough shame and anger in my life, and as I came to this level of freedom, peace and love through thick and heavy suffering, I vowed to always do everything I can to alleviate at least someone else’s pain and journey through suffering.
I wasn’t always so open, though. I was raised with the belief that personal problems are not talked about, and that sadness, depression, melancholy and similar conditions are signs of weakness. No wonder I didn’t recognize my depression by its symptoms, because with my beliefs about 10 years ago, mental health was not a topic that is talked about as it is today – loudly, openly and increasingly.
Even when I didn’t go out on the balcony for three full months, or cook lunch, or do any of the normal stuff- I didn’t realize that something serious was happening to me. I just thought it was a phase and that various circumstances coincided so I’m a bit down.
I didn’t talk. I said nothing to no one. Not even when they begged me to open my mouth and spit out anything. I didn’t know how I couldn’t, I didn’t have the capacity for anything but to breathe and exist. But soon I noticed that there was a place I still did share: uniquely and unusually, through photography and poetry. I shared fragments of my life, travels and soul on Instagram – and somewhere along that way I slowly learned to assemble and glue back.
How speaking up can save your life
Slowly, over time, I first learned to communicate with myself, get to know my being, and then to spread the same to the closest circle of people. When I was ready, when the time was right, a therapist came into my life who helped me find my way and purpose and with whom I stepped into this version of myself today. Fast forward through 10 years of ups, downs, breaks and assembling – if nothing else, I’m sure today I know how to share. I know how to say when something bothers me. I know how to set boundaries and break them down when I don’t need them anymore. I can recognize the signals of the mind and body and slow down and stop when needed.
Sometime near the end of my son’s eighth grade, I experienced a moment of parenthood that I describe as both the most traumatic and the happiest one. One afternoon he sat down next to me on the balcony and told me he wanted to take her own life. He planned everything, solved it, arranged it, and then he concluded at the last minute that it would be too difficult for me, so he gave up.
“You know what rang in my head the most?” He asked me.
“Whan you told me was that Instagram saved your life when you were in the worst depression.”
So he opened his profile. And shared. Honestly and without hesitation, he said that he wanted to take his own life, that he couldn’t take it anymore. And then from the age of 14, he experienced the miracle of love. Love, understanding and support from all over the world. A packed inbox of the most beautiful messages that one being can write to a stranger. One that knows empathy, love, and the need to comfort, protect, and help. But none of this could be compared to the feeling he got when he did the same thing to someone else who was in a similar random situation for the first time when his love helped them stay here and seek help. When they realized that they were helping each other …
It is easier in a pack
Sometimes talking to another being is all we need. To feel closeness and recognize our share pain, to understand and realize that we are not alone. Touching someone with words, thoughts, a look in the eyes, a feel of a hand on the face.
I would like us to become aware and learn how to recognize when we are so alone (no matter how many people are around us) that it is necessary to include someone else, for healing, for growth, for life.
It is always easier in a pack- to survive, to get over, to heal. Or just rest and share the burden when we can no longer be alone. And when it comes to talking – words sometimes come, and sometimes silence is the greatest cure.
And just this – if you think that you are not worth sharing, that there is no point in helping you, that you do not deserve … I want to tell you that we all feel that way (or have felt it), that emotion is very common and part of the problem which you deal with.
Find your own way to share, no matter what it is. Just share, open that channel within yourself and let some words, thoughts, and feelings find their way out. The more you talk about what is happening to you, the easier the process becomes …
You are not alone.
Trust me, you’re not <3
* MAYA MACKOVIĆ
Maya Macković is a woman of many talents and interests who has turned her traumas and pains into experiences through which I lead women on the path of self-healing and self-love. She nurtures menstrual wisdom, female cycles while living her freedom and adoring life. She lives in Zagreb, Croatia, and is native to the island of Hvar where she can often be found busy crafting organic cosmetics and jewellery, when not in the service of helping others live the good life.