Shattered but not Broken


“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” 

― Anaïs Nin

When my daughter was little, she used to wake up screaming in the night due to pain in her legs. At first, I was concerned and wondered what was causing the pain, however, talking to fellow moms, I realized she was going through growing pains. We also experience emotional growing pains in adolescence, and I realize today, the pain and anguish I have felt lately is just that!

I am shattered

No, no, not in the broken glass sense, but in the sense that my spirit is expanding.

Over the past 3 months, I have broken 7, YES 7, glasses. I kept on wondering if there was a meaning to my dish demise, to realize that the reason I am breaking things is because I am shaken up. I am not paying much attention to what is around me, I am paying attention to what is going on inside of me.

So I lost focus somewhere along the line.

Think of it this way, my spirit is in an egg, and I am slowly growing inside that egg every time I work on healing my soul. When I decide certain things need to change in my life for the better, evolution and growth is inevitable, and the shell cracks!

That part is painful.

Think of a baby pushing its way out of the womb. I’ve read the birth process is as painful for the baby as the mother. Every time the mother pushes her baby, the infant feels pain… a pain, thank God, we do not remember.

I am expanding, pushing myself out of my oval home to grow more. I am like a Matryoshka doll, from littlest to biggest, having to come out of my shell every single time I awaken to my expanded self. After a series of “shatterednesses” (who knows when that will be) I will be left, open to the elements with no more shell, yet stronger and healthier than I have ever been. I will know my limits, I will set my boundaries, I will be self-loving, compassionate, caring and oh so understanding with myself and those around me. 

In the meantime, it is self-preservation. Taking the time to get comfortable in my safe bubble, until the next time I breakthrough!

This is why I am shattered not broken.

I am breaking the patterns of a lifetime, and it hurts! It is hard, but I am doing it.

The video below, by Amanda Bentley reminds me of this process, and the patience and self-compassion I must give myself during this important phase of my life. We want to be better, but it is not always possible. We (those with a mental illness) want to be understood, but it is not always easy for the person who loves you. We want to be well, yet wellness takes mending, and mending the soul takes time. . 

Although I am not one to say I am broken (although I have felt torn to pieces) I know I am whole and loved. Shattered, to me is a word I can live with. Amanda’s lyrics explain these feelings with such authenticity, that I cried… 

Watch this video, and share with your friends. Mental Ilness is silent. It has no bruises, it doesn’t show up in blood tests or MRI’s. It is quiet and often unnoticeable while the person suffering lives it utmost fear and isolation.

I may be shattered now, and feel like, at times my world is falling apart, yet every day I am reminded by loved ones that this is untrue, and the more I talk about it, the more people seek to understand.

Growing pains are a natural process, we just have to take the time to notice where they are coming from and what we, as a person, can do about healing our wounds.

“The body grows slowly and steadily but the soul grows by leaps and bounds. It may come to its full stature in an hour.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryRilla of Ingleside


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  1. Birth can be painful.

    Thanks for sharing; authenticity is a gift.


  2. It’s woman like you that makes people progress and accept mental illness for what is is “An illness” . The most difficult part with mental illness is that it takes a long time to heal, years and years but reading about it gives hope to many sufferers to carry on and walk the path (baby steps as you say) because without suffering there is no getting better. Someday you will gather all your work and publish a book about your struggle…that I am sure of ! So continue writing and sharing it is helpful not only to you but to all who read you. I really appreciate your kindness because throughout all you write there is kindness that one can feel. And we all need kindness <3

  3. Great post!
    I can well relate..Adoptees can and usually do suffer with PTSD and yes..mostly in silence.
    I also had many traumas in my life and by writing…I am no longer my story.
    As Leonard Cohen sings….”The cracks are where he light gets in.”
    In Japan…when something is broken there is a practice of repair where they fill the cracks with gold….they believe history, damage, cracks are beautiful and make the piece even more treasured and beautiful.
    You are beautiful and will only become more so as you emerge the as a “golden butterfly”

  4. Kim

    September 6, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Oh how I love you too Catherine. You have become a very important person in my life. and YES I will be visiting you one day.


  5. Oh Wow Kim! This post is amazing. You continue to blow me away with your bravery. The song fits so well. I want you to know I am here for you and support you on this incredible journey! luv you xxx

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