‘Self-harm’ is described, by some as, “when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body, a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.” (NHS Choices). Such vents can include cutting, excess drinking, doing drugs, smoking, and fighting in attempts to try and cope with inner pain. People of all ages have moments and periods in life when they struggle to cope with inner storms of the soul.
Talking to and with someone, even on the phone, can free feelings and grow emotional literacy, words found to describe inner chaos and help untangle internal knots.
Singer Rick Astley offers an ancient option in facing up to trauma. Rick says, “I’m not really religious. I’ve got a faith but I’m not exactly sure what it’s in. It’s mainly in human beings, I think. But when you do gigs, there’s definitely an emotion you have in contact with other people – and it does come close to religion, if I’m honest. There’s a real joy in it. There just isn’t a negative moment.” (BBC News)
In his song ‘Pray With Me!’ Rick encourages us to share our emotional inside world of need with people we trust and to really let rip in prayer: no pretend, parroted pious words, but your own words to release the fear, worry, guilt, grief, sorrow, anger and angst fizzing and frothing in your soul, to be outed and handled in the cold light of day and warmth of a loving presence.
“Pray With Me”
If you’re ever gonna make this work, You gotta pick yourself right up
From out of the dirt, You might need someone To give you a helping hand
Show you how to love, Make you understand. Well you never thought that you would fall, Now you’re on your knees, And you’re about ready to crawl.
You need someone to rid you of your disease, I’ll tell you what to do,
Show you how to be.
If you pray with me, On your knees under the willow trees and
Pray with me, For what we need. Might not be money, Might not be gold,
Let your love release your soul, Come on and pray, Won’t you pray With me.
There’s electric in your veins, It’s burning you up, And you can’t stand the pain
You need someone to listen to your fiction, But ain’t left doing just one more addiction. Show me emotion, Show me your pain, Let it out, So you can live again. Share your emotion, Share your pain, Scream and shout so you can love again. If you Pray with me, Come on and pray with me, Won’t you pray with me yeah, For what we need.
This is the unashamed approach of the Bible’s psalmists, who tell God exactly how they feel and what they want. It’s not just therapeutic; it’s raw, real, relevant, relational ‘primal prayer’, and can be a lifesaver. Try it!