Healing from trauma is a journey, a journey that in many cases if you are the one in the thick of it, others may become impatient with. It seems to me in our 24/7/365 society that people become uncomfortable when a friend or loved one remains in a place they perceive as “stuck” or “unable to move on.”
But there are no rules of the road when it comes to making ones way down the healing highway, it is individual.
If only there were a list one could check off much like grocery items on a shopping checklist: 120 hours of grief, CHECK. 90 hours devoted to forgiveness, CHECK. 60 hours of therapy, CHECK…and now I am cured and around the corner I see it that wonderful destination called closure.
No, it simply doesn’t work that way and from my own perspective that is okay. Healing isn’t about holding on to the past, it is about safeguarding the future.
Many years ago while in the infancy of my own journey I had an epiphany during which I discovered I was the only one who could truly take the steps to feel whole again. That single realization found me giving myself permission to naviagte at my own tempo. Truly I have come to believe that healing is a verb, it is on-going.
I can’t always predict what may trigger a memory but I do know this, when I pay homage to the emotion, allow it to wash over me, feel it, be with it, I find myself moving through and forward.
An excerpt about healing from my memoir, Tornado Warning:
New questions skip through my bloodstream like a pebble on still water. Do we really “get over” wrongs that have been done to us? How do we know we are “healed”? The diameter of the the rings grows wider in my blood lake. I can almost see the ripple appear beneath my skin. Maybe “healed” isn’t the objective. What if it is “healing” as in on-going, like the ocean in a constant ebb and flow? the rolling of the waves begins to settle over me, giving way to a more lucid view of the past that has shaped me. It is as if introspection serves as a ceremonial ablution and through that ritual the chokehold of shame is rinsed clean and makes room for me to see that I am not a victim. I am a survivor, but there’s more. I need to thrive, share, prevent. I can no longer stay quiet in this world, I have a voice and I feel it reverberate off my internal walls, making its slow climb upward until its melody can be heard all around.”
I invite you to share what you have discovered about healing, this is a subject I am writing more about and love to hear from others about their own experiences with it.
Vanessa (Purple Song) says
My song “Movin’ On” is about moving on after our experience with abuse. Healing truly does continue, as there are moments that pull us back (triggers and flashbacks) and sometime the process of grief can begin again. I personally am grateful for those moments because they remind me of what happened and of my own purpose in this life. Your blog post on this is great, because survivors need to know healing is in fact a lifestyle change that requires our own maintenance, but being in the process allows us the sweetest, most free life (future) we could have ever imagined.
Vanessa, thanks so much for sharing your experience with healing…beautiful connection between pain and life purpose. xo-Elin
Though professionally I have observed how essential and integral individual resilience and responsive support from others have been to the process of healing, personally my experience has been that the unconscious has served as a source of individual pain, which has affected my perception and experience of personal healing despite the degree to which I have developed resilience and support. At times I have responded to conversations with family members and close friends, particular songs, films, books, dynamics with certain colleagues, and increased stress with the unexpected sensation of sinking to a depth from which I had perceived having surfaced, resulting in my feeling more isolated rather than connected. It is interesting that healing functions as a gerund, participle and adjective depending upon how the word is used and realized.
Thank you for your thoughtful response Rod, what you have expressed has me thinking about several different things and I actually foresee writing further about this. The long and short of which is you touched on something that is vital to this conversation… xo-Elin
I appreciate your reply, Elin. My previous comment should have acknowledged, however, that clearly the category and degree of trauma affects the healing process. Though no longer am I conscious of my personal trauma being associated directly with individual pain (and perhaps my healing is not related in any way to historical trauma), admittedly I am only aware of behavior and feelings of which I am conscious.