As I sit here, a recently experiencing major surgery, I realize how interesting the healing the process is and how it is overlooked. The process I am going through reminds me how much we underestimate the time needed to completely heal before moving on to a new normal. Think of the last time you skinned your knee and the event that caused it. Did you pay mind to the amount of time it would take for the wound to heal? Or did a simple bandage make everything better allowing you to continue along your merry way? Surely the trauma from falling was minute posing no mental concern resulting in a minor injury that would heal quickly, quietly, and on its own.
That is the best experience when it comes to healing: “quickly, quietly, and on its own.” Turns out that may not be the best thing for all injuries. Not all wounds are the result of child’s play. As emotional humans we take on different levels of injury. Some of these injuries we seek out such as a scheduled major surgery. Some injuries are out of our control but pose no less danger to our health or life. Other injuries we just don’t seem to know how to avoid because mentally, we’re not healthy enough to know what to look out for. What’s worse? We don’t know our mental health is slightly compromised because we generally look “okay” – though, deep down, we may suspect otherwise.
As I sit here at my desk, you would not know that I am injured. You would not know the injuries I have are from a scheduled surgery. You would not know I am healing and working rather hard to do so (ouch, by the way!). I am presenting myself as I do any other day. One could say I have applied the bandage that makes everything “better”. However, inside, I am sore. I am incredibly tired. I am incapacitated to a degree that prevents me from household chores due to my medical restrictions. To look at me though, I look as healthy as a horse until you see my eyes. To look at my eyes it would be easy to see something is not right. I need help.
Upon this observation one might be tempted to ask if I am okay. This is where I would tell you that despite the level of the procedure I had, “I am fine.”
You should take that statement with a grain of salt no matter who says it.
Some injuries are not visible to the naked eye. Some are not visible on the body, at all. Some traumas are such that they cause injury to the mind where healing can be the most difficult. The issue is that mental sores are not the easiest to talk about much less ask details for. Which is why sometimes when we are uncomfortable with the trauma others have experienced, we avert our eyes to “not get involved”. I find this interesting as most would rather look on or get involved with a physical trauma than a mental one. I suppose it is difficult to receive the designation of “hero” if others cannot see you assess the trauma.
This is why it is important to realize the healing process, at the mental level, takes no less time than a physical one. While the injury cannot be immediately seen nor is there obvious signs of trauma such as bandages, the injury is there all the same. It should receive the same level of care and time as any other injury. This is not to say mental injuries, such as divorces, abuse, or failures should be milked until all parties are exhausted but there could be a level of exhaustion experienced from maneuvering yourself through the emotions you feel even if you have a guide, like a counselor, to help you. This is what makes the healing process a learning process, as well.
Give yourself time to heal no matter the trauma or the injury. The healing process is designed to allow yourself the space to explore the feelings (mental or physical) associated with the stress so that you can get past them. If not, expect them to rear their ugly head repeatedly until you do. If you don’t allow yourself to heal completely you hold yourself back postponing any opportunity to get better and be better.
What injuries were the hardest to heal from? Are you completely healed?