‘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). It’s not just cutting and/or overdosing, but also getting drunk, doing drugs, smoking and fighting are among many vents used 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.
Being able to talk to and with someone, even at the other end of a phone, can free feelings and facilitate emotional literacy, words found to describe the inner chaos and help untangle twisted lines and knots in your gut.
A recent Rick Astley song offers a novel, ancient option in the face of trauma. With songs on his Number 1 selling album ‘50’, like ‘God Says’, ‘Angels On My Side’ and ‘Pray With Me’, you might think Rick has become all religious, but he 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 – 9/6/16)
Listening to Irvine Beat FM in the car, I felt sure I’d heard this silky and husky voice before. Was it Tom Jones or Neil Diamond? Rather long forgotten
Rickrolling ‘Rick Astley’. Now 50, Rick’s released a superb soulful gospel album. ‘Pray With Me!’ has something special, encouraging us to share our emotional inside world of need with people we trust.
Astley encourages us to really let it rip in prayer: no pretend, parroted pious words, rather your own words which allow the fear, worry, guilt, grief, sorrow, anger, angst, sense of loss, etc, fizzing and frothing in your soul, to get out and be 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 potentially a lifesaver. Try it!