Monday, January 11, 2016

Healing Begins with a Question

Having the revelation, and coming to terms with the fact that you've been setting yourself up for failure and hurt - for your entire life - is not one that sinks in nicely. This leads me to wonder...

Does time really heal all wounds
I can't say it does.


Does time at least ease the pain of those wounds? 
It builds scar tissue. It creates a barrier of tough skin which is meant to seal the wound shut, but evidence of the wound is still going to be there thirty years down the road.

The intensity of the pain lives in stages. When looking at heartache, trauma, losing a loved one, or any devastating event that takes place, the pain is very comparable to an external wound.

When the event initially takes place, one of two things will happen;
It's either going to hurt like you've never hurt before...
It's going to be such a deeply penetrating, incomprehensible trauma that you become numb and feel nothing.

Some would prefer to take the lifeless, numb rout. Personally, I'd rather feel the pain in all of its glory. I never got to really feel the pain initially, and as a result, the delay in healing is one that seems never-ending.

If you're lucky enough to feel the pain at the time of the trauma, at least you know that because it hasn't killed you, it has to eventually get better. You can move on and eventually look back, being grateful that you aren't stuck in that moment. It allows you to live the rest of your days with a much deeper appreciation for the small things in life, and to see the beauty of the world that goes unrecognized by most others. You have a gift. You know that you are blessed and your life is lived with clarity and peace. It may take weeks, months or years to come to this point, but when you arrive, you wouldn't have had it any other way.

Sometimes, as a defense and survival mechanism, our own psyche must protect us from ourselves. Our inner spirit knows that if we are able to feel the pain of the newly inflicted wound, either the pain itself will physically kill us, or we'll intentionally kill ourselves.

Everyone has a different threshold to different levels of pain. This is why we all react differently to pain, and there is no "right" way to respond. Some levels of response are more long-term beneficial than others.

The most detrimental level of response, is to have no response. Having no response may temporarily cover up the wound, and add Lidocaine to the sore spot, but when that numbing agent slowly eases off, the pain begins to ease on. The pain can come on months or years after-the-fact.

At first, the pain may not feel as if it is a direct result of the wound. It might begin with an annoying itch, a tingling sensation or just a feeling that something isn't right. In my case, the pain reared its ugly face in the form of panic attacks. After I had "normalized" my horrific, dangerous living situation and circumstances (which is also known as Stockholm Syndrome), my psyche must have felt that it was safe to begin the healing process.

My inner spirit knew that I could not begin the healing process, though, until I first felt the pain of the initial wound. This is where the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD began kicking in. I eventually developed agoraphobia, a condition that makes it nearly impossible to leave your home out of the fear of having a major panic attack, or from having experienced a major panic attack. I was frustrated and I didn't understand why I was getting these panic attacks.

The pain got worse, much worse, before it began to ease.

The most painful events, which are also consistent with PTSD, are when anniversaries, birthdays, or specific dates come around.

In my case, it was Birthdays that hurt the most. I was forced to ask myself why the happiest, most loving and awakening memories of my life were causing so much pain. I'm referencing to the birth of my daughters. Their Birthdays hurt me.

Their Birthdays hurt me because I no longer got to celebrate them, with them. My daughters, then two and three, were taken from me by the system when I was only eighteen, after a horrific sequence of events happened (narrated in my memoir).

The symptoms of PTSD eventually helped me to get out of the dangerous situation that I was living in. But the problem with the fact that I was so numb to the initial wound for such a long time, is that I never got to fully understand the root cause of the wound. This made me susceptible to similar wounds occurring in my future. I was living in "survival mode" for such a long time, striving to have just my basic needs met.

I wanted a "decent" man in my life and children that I could love and cherish. I was sure that would be enough to meet my basic needs. If I had slowed down enough to just ask myself the simplest and basic of all questions, I would have, for certain, prevented future wounds from causing more destruction.

Why don't we ever ask ourselves why?

If we backtrack, we will quickly realize that all of the painful aftermath could have taken a lighter, more bearable course if I had only asked myself that very basic question.

I am amazed that I had this revelation from simply asking myself the most basic question. Why?

By accepting, understanding, and forgiving ourselves and others, it is possible to begin healing to a point of being able to live again. Usually what seem to be the most difficult of answers, are revealed with the most basic of questions.


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