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The Wounded Healer’s Journey – DIFFERENT BRAINS

The Wounded Healer’s Journey - DIFFERENT BRAINS

By Gabriela Guardarrama

What is a “Wounded Healer”?

A wounded healer is someone who has gone through pain and suffering, yet despite the circumstances, they displayed perseverance to work on helping others. Therefore, this process aids others to never feel alone with their “scars”. A wounded healer is someone who empathizes when someone is hurting, and it can be challenging to discuss it, since one may have the mindset that no one will understand what they are going through.

For many people in the field of psychology, understanding trauma and pain is vital to connect the dots on how it can affect people in the long-term. This is also why a plethora of people who have suffered through trauma have joined the field of psychology.

From my personal experience, I have met many wounded healers, like me, in university studying psychology who attend to other’s personal wounds. My fate has always led me to the desire of healing others through healing my similar scars.

My Scars

For example, when I was young, my father went to prison. During this dark era, I had been diagnosed with Bipolar Type I. When this transpired, I was devastated. It felt that my world had shattered, and that everything seemed like it was falling apart. This spiral led to me losing plenty of friends, but mostly, losing myself.

As a result, trying to work on understanding my recent diagnosis during all of these events happening was overwhelming and exhausting, and caused me to feel paralyzed. But as the old saying goes, “Time heals all wounds”.

Later down the line, I began to grow my self-esteem, flourish new friendships, and progress in my career — including earning my master’s degree. I was successful in growing my own dog walking business, which helped me during the struggles in life. In a time where I could have chosen to give up, I persisted. I became stronger than ever as a result, and grew my resolve to help others. I transferred the pain I had been going through into something far more beautiful.


One cannot have a breakthrough without a breakdown. Meaning, without the breakdown one cannot have an epiphany and self-discover the need to change. Thus, one loses the opportunity to reach enlightenment. My form of enlightenment is through the means of writing poetry.

During my worst moments creating a safe space through words always felt comforting for me. For example, whenever I felt misunderstood, I knew my poetry could help me feel connected with someone with similar painful experience. Whether it is heartbreak, broken bonds, trauma, etc, one can choose to share in order to establish trust and create connection. I actively choose to always connect with myself, and with others when I am engaged in writing down my thoughts and feelings — with a hint of poetic justice.

Trust me, I have attempted running away from myself many times, but when I choose to face myself in front of a mirror, or in a poetic format, I become stronger and embrace self-acceptance each day. Instead of the old saying “practice makes perfect”, I believe “practice makes progress” instead. With that note, I leave you this message, as a mental health advocate, as a professional mental health therapist, and most importantly as a wounded healer that I am: you got this.

The Wounded Healer  By: Gabriela Guardarrama

A wounded healer is the role

I strive to become one every day.

The desire to help others with similar scars

Ignites every fiber of my being.

The pain I carry is temporary

And it is my turn to lift others.

My mind doubts myself if I am ready,

But my heart said I can do this.

The world is already heavy enough.

Therefore, I will crave my own path of healing.

However, my imperfections get in the way

I stumble and fallover and over

Again, and again.

Yet, I do not lose sight of my purpose.

Despite of my flaws,

And issues weighing me down

I will conquer and become

The wounded healer

I am meant to be.

I want to pay it forward.

Dear universe,

I am ready.

Headshot of Gabriela Guardarrama

Hello, my name is Gabriela Guardarrama. I am an Outpatient Mental Health Therapist for
Chrysalis Health. Thank you, The Different Brains for having me on board. I am truly grateful to
share my story and my tools that have helped me thus far during my mental health journey. For
example, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I at age 19, when my father was sent to
prison. This negatively impacted me to the point that I need to voluntary Baker Act myself for
treatment. In essence, one of my strongest forms of coping is writing poetry. I invite you to join
me and follow along. – Sincerely, G.G.

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