It feels so good to feel seen. What do I mean? When I watch the show This Is Us, and I relate so much to the character Randall, I feel seen. When one of the most popular shows on television shows what it feels like to have a panic attack and anxiety, I feel seen. When it shows how someone who seems to be so perfect and have it together, could truly fall apart at any minute from trying so hard to be perfect, I feel seen. When Randall’s dad asks him as a little boy, if he can just be a good boy because his siblings are already giving his mom and dad so much trouble, I feel seen.
When I was in my early twenties, I pinched a nerve in my shoulder falling down the stairs. At first I had trouble getting help or relief. No one wanted to perform surgery on someone so young. I eventually found a physical therapist who helped me with my pain. When I had my wisdom teeth taken out, it made my pain worse somehow. I told this to the orthodontist who did my surgery at my one week check up. His response was, “We drilled a hole in your bone, you are going to hurt.” I went to the car and cried. I then made an appointment with that same physical therapist who had been helping me. I told him what happened, he instantly explained what was wrong, did a chiropractic adjustment and I felt instant relief. I felt seen.
Since that injury, I have grown to love massage. When the massage therapist seems to find all the places I have knots, and feels them and works on trying to make them go away, I feel seen. Sometimes, that is all people need, is to just feel seen. For so long I did not feel seen at all. I was in so much pain, but no one seemed to see it. In retrospect, they all see it now. Of course, I was trying so hard to hide it, is one reason they did not see it. I did not speak up is why they did not see it. Some were dealing with their own pain is why they did not see it.
When I went to physical therapy and got massages, I was finally asking for and getting help, and being seen. When I was at my lowest point in my severe postpartum depression many years ago, because my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety were at their worst ever, I do not recall seeing shows or stories all around me that I related to, that made me feel seen. I do recall one time though.
I was once watching One Tree Hill. The mother of one of the main character’s had died, and she was depressed. She jumped into the pool and floated to the bottom and her husband jumped in and rescued her. In another part of the show, she was sitting at their piano and knocked down a candle and just sat there as it started to burn everything around her, until her husband rescued her again. I remember watching and thinking that I could relate to that character, and the fact I could was not a good thing.
It was not too long after this I got help, but I wish there had been more moments like this earlier. Some people like to keep this stuff personal or think it should be, maybe some are ashamed, but I share my story as much I do because I do want it to be all over the internet and TV. I want people to feel seen and to know they are not going through pain alone, because it feels so good to be seen.
Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook, or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here. Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor