Mental Health

Pebble Theory


Imagine a lake. It is surrounded by trees and grass and a bed of rocks circles it. The pebbles are wet and shiny. The trees are bright green with dark, moist bark. Perhaps there is even a hollowed out log along the bank.

You are one of the pebbles. You are nestled all nice and snuggly in your spot and everything fits together just right around you. You are comfortable.

Then, out of nowhere, a human hand picks you up and tosses you into the lake. As you sail through the air, you are in shock. How can this be happening to you? You crash into the surface of the water and droplets go flying but you only see them for a split second because you are sinking. You are slowly on your way to the bottom of the lake and away from everything you have ever known.

You are looking up towards the sky and can see where you made your entrance into the water. You can see the disturbed ripples all around. You continue to sink in what feels like slow motion. Slowly the light from the sun is disappearing. You can’t do anything but fall – you have no control.

You finally land with a thud at the bottom. Panic. Everything you have known has been rudely taken away. You feel alone and are now misplaced. What are you supposed to do now? Seconds, moments, or even hours later, after you calm down a bit, you look around and notice for the first time that you landed in a bed with hundreds, thousands of other rocks. Your heart starts to slow as you realize: you aren’t alone. After the traumatizing toss, you are suddenly aware that you are with numerous other rocks who have also been through a journey.


Now, my theory is that the toss into the lake is the traumatic event. Whether it be a death, an illness, an accident, etc.

The initial splash is the period of time after the event occurs.

The slow descent all the way to the bottom of the lake is the journey. It is filled with heartbreak, sorrow, confusion. It might go faster or slower for some but it is the experience.

The thud landing is the numbness after the struggle. The period of time in which the person doesn’t really know if they are going to be able to continue on so their body/mind shuts down.

The moment of awareness is when you realize that you are going to be okay and you are not alone. Other rocks have sunk too and they are still surviving and thriving at the bottom of the lake.


Over time, more rocks will be thrown and your position will shift. And who nows, you might even got tossed again and land in a completely different part of the lake.


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