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The Power Of Words – Masks, Veils And Hidden Selves

Written by: JL Keez, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Deep within the soul lies the truth of who we are. A truth too often lost to the words conveyed from birth as to who we must be, and apparently how life works! The power of spoken words delivered by those we trust have the opportunity to support peace in lives, or pain.

Life for those experiencing mental illness were prime targets once for having been guided by words in conflict to who they are and hence misguided as to how life apparently works. These are the ones tormented by thoughts that condemn, words that control and messages that configure life into a torture. These are the ones twisted in pains that appear to have no definition. These are the ones searching for answers as to why their lives adopted coping mechanisms in the form of mental health disturbances; be it an eating disorder, depression, alcoholism, gambling, disassociation, or the likes.

Masks worn carry messages of survival to those surrounding them. Veils shield the suffering held tightly within. Hidden selves suffocate beneath the weight of the power of words which determined their path.

The power of words have a huge responsibility where health characteristics respond in a downhill spiral. So what am I getting to here?

As I healed from anorexia nervosa, and a range of associated mental illnesses, it would be the power of words that had taught me how life apparently works which would eventually come under scrutiny as I explored each for validity. I came to understand that words spoken hold tremendous power as to how a human develops in life.

Words of punishment, control, criticism, sarcasm and bullying lined a life bowing to societal pressure, and family pressure; to measure up or sink! My soul masked up, veiled up and hid itself from the condemnation on offer should I wander from the path I had to tread. Unable to connect with my truth I adopted so many alternate personas in an effort to find both self and peace. Of course, none worked! For when the self is buried beneath the words of others who control, the resulting persona cannot survive without the need to reinvent itself over and over. Experiencing interlocking, twisted messages being taught from the words guiding one, the body collapses under the strain of falseness. In withered response a mental illness is born in an effort of kindness to desperately tell the owner to go within, draw out those misguiding words, rearrange each, and create a new dialogue for life moving forward.

Well, that should be easy! It is anything but!

Where the power of words are wrapped in fear, the process of healing is a challenge of enormous complication. Hence we learn, and understand, that healing from mental illness is not only about exploring the words outlining our script for life, we also face a barrage of fear threatening to thwart every attempt made. Removing masks, dropping veils and exposing the real self is a task too often experienced as way too difficult – leaving the one pursuing this goal to curl up in a corner and cry, “Too hard”.

This was my life. With fear holding court the ability to heal seemed impossible. But for those reading my article, and now feeling there is no out, I can confidently share, there is. Healing from mental illness needs to undertaken using baby steps alongside of, and with the support of, someone who has walked this path before you. Let’s see what this looks like:

Steps for healing a mental illness:

  1. Acknowledge the offending words used to shape you

  2. Outline the fear(s)

  3. Decide to tackle to easiest ones first

  4. Explore the words and fear for validity

  5. Ask others for their opinion and how they live – what words shaped them

  6. Establish an alternate set of words to live by – ones that free and reflect you

  7. Devise a plan for implementing the new words and their direction

  8. Feel the fear and do it anyway


As you undertake this work – yes, it will seem like hard work – do know there will be days when you wish to walk away, days where the tears are endless and the disturbance to your life excruciating. Unfortunately, this is a part of the process. Your body is in pain, the result of the power given to the words guiding its existence. The pain is telling you this is necessary. The additional pain attributed to healing cannot be avoided. However, as you tackle your list of words and fear, the process lightens. Fear becomes an entity that no longer holds power. The new words comfort, nurture and nourish.

Know that as you challenge, and experience, that the perceived fear does not actually occur, confidence grows. It is this confidence that will spur you on to the next challenge, and the next. Conquering the smaller ones first will lay firm foundations for conquering the bigger ones. When you arrive at exploring the harder ones they just may not seem like the insurmountable wall initially viewed. The strength born from removing the small ones prepares you for the big ones!

Together, confidence and strength will be your saviours, your companions, accompanying you toward the finish line!

This path cannot be defined in time. The time frame is individual. Accepting you are walking toward the end each day is what you hold onto. Visualise your end. See yourself recovered and thriving. Keep this vision as your motivation. The push and pull of making ground then seemingly retracting may frustrate. This simply demonstrates you are moving toward your end. The push and pull is fine-tuning.

And as you feel lighter, there will come a time when the mask you wore will fade, the veil tear and the hidden self emerge. This is the time when living through the pain, when enduring the process, will deliver a freedom unknown before. This is when you celebrate in style!

At this point acknowledge how much your daily dialogue has changed, how much it is now so much a part of you that, in review, you acknowledge the previous script no longer carries weight. We can even find ourselves questioning why we lived as we did!

Words hold power, the power to determine who we become, and how we live. Depending upon their impact, masks may be devised, veils concocted and beautiful selves lost to them. I encourage you to investigate your dialogue – does it support or negate?

The power of words is a notion worthy of contemplation when mental health fails and solutions allude. A thorough examination, throwing away those that damage, and filling one with words that empower is exactly where we need to go to see mental health developments find their demise.

The power of words… choose carefully…

Eliminate the mask, throw away the veil, allow the self to be seen, to flourish…

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JL Keez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

J.L Keez survived a nine-year struggle with anorexia nervosa. She endured years of mental illness, including suicidal depression, OCD and depersonalisation. Today, she is the Director of JL Keez Anorexia Unlocked, a passionate speaker, author and Thought Leader in her field. In her role as a Reality Therapy Coach and influential teacher she empowers others to heal their lives through delivering the understanding required to do so.



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