The Many Layers of Healing

Physical wounds take time to heal. In addition, they need to be nursed and protected against further damage. When the human body is wounded our immune system goes into overdrive. White blood cells are shipped to the location of the injury to capture germs and bacteria. Proteins are diverted to help rebuild cells. Nerve endings are fired causing pain to help deter further devastation; and those are only the steps that our bodies take automatically. In addition to the reparative outline that has been instilled in our biological function by The Almighty, when we are hurt physically we do everything from cleaning the wound with an antiseptic, to getting corrective surgery so that we heal appropriately. So with so many steps taken to heal a physical wound, why when emotional wounds are incurred do we expect or desire one quick fix?
As a survivor of sexual, emotional and psychological abuse, I know first hand that there is no one solution that is the solution.

Over the years I have searched for help in my healing process. After being taken advantage of by one of the people that was supposed to protect me; my love, trust and ability to depend on another person were damaged almost irreparably. Rather than hope for the best, I used to prepare for the worst. Instead of trusting in my fellow man, I ridiculed and feared those that sought to get close to me. The wounds that I suffered at the hands of my father were so deep that it deformed and distorted my hopes at a "normal" life. Until I thought: what is a normal life anyway?
Acknowledging that there really is no such thing as normal, was the first form of therapeutic healing I applied to hurry the reconstruction of my mental and psychological wounds.

Sometimes we as individuals get so caught up in our own lives and issues that it seems like we are the only one going through whatever we are going through. When I found out my sister slept with my husband, it seemed so outlandish that I couldn't imagine it happening to anyone else. Fast forward 7 years when I learned about a friend of mine who's sister not only slept with her husband, but had a baby for him that no one learned about until the child was four years old! My point is, there is nothing on this planet happening to only one person. It's not possible. Somewhere in the world there is someone else experiencing similar events that I have. That being the case, there must me proven therapies to recover from the negative results of any trauma. I just had to find the ones that worked for me.

My father with my first daughter.
In any attempt at healing spiritually, mentally or physically, the first step is to acknowledge the damage. Like a cut on your skin, if you don’t recognize it is there, it could get infected, fester and contaminate healthy surrounding cells. This applies to physical, spiritual and mental wounds alike. The larger the lesion, the more damage it has the potential of causing if it is ignored. I learned from early in my adolescence that blocking out and trying to pretend that it was not my father forcing himself inside of me, only exasperated my suffering and disappointment of how a father was supposed to behave. That disappointment in him would’ve transformed into an expectation that all men would disappoint me.

Which leads to the second step of healing: acceptance. Once you’ve acknowledged the damage, you have to accept it. On a daily basis I make myself aware of the damaging effects my life had on me growing up. This is a scary process because there are times I have to relive some of the things that happened to me in my mind. But I know in doing so, I am better able to pinpoint what still needs treatment. Concurrently this helps me to acknowledge and make use of the strength that is inherent to myself and every other human being. By doing research, talking to people, learning how to cope through meditation and prayer, and exploring other types of therapy I may be able to employ, I actively seek solutions to the problems. And there are many. Like the steps that our immune systems use to fight off infection, there are many tools that could help in the healing process. And accepting that fact helps in constructing a plan of action.

They say time heals all. This is accurate, but time needs some assistance. Once you’ve recognized the wound, accepted that it does exist and begin applying mechanisms to help along the healing process, it takes time for the cure to be effective. Patience and consistency are very important keys to healing. When our immune system identifies a wound, it sends white blood cells to the site of the injury. Over time the white blood cells isolate the infection and begin repairing the damage. In addition other nursing techniques like the use of outside antibiotics and supplements to strengthen the immune system can help the process along. Emotional and spiritual reparation works the same way. Along with time, other means of therapy must be employed to encourage healing. And that therapy must be used for as long as it takes to effect a positive change. 

Time may heal all, but like a cut deep enough to require stitches, if not held closed, the resulting scar will not be pretty. Forgiveness is essential to recovering from any traumatic experience. But most people think that you forgive someone one time and that's it. This is just not true. Forgiveness is like a fire that has to be tended to. You light the fire and it will burn for a while; but eventually it will start to dwindle unless you stoke it, add more fuel or expose it to more oxygen.
Whether it be yourself or someone that caused you harm, forgiveness is a remedy that encourages healing by strengthening your spiritual and mental immune system. By applying empathy, sympathy and taking the attitude that says "I'm not going to be angry at you anymore thereby depriving you of the ability to hurt me through my mind", we build up strength  against that which can harm us.

Healing is not easy. Then again, anything important or worth doing never is. We may scrape our knees and within a few weeks our skin has regenerated itself. But there's a lot going on in the regenerative process. The end result could be comparable to what it used to be, or we can give the body some assistance and the skin will turn out stronger and more resistant. 

It's been a long road for me on my healing journey and I've accepted that it may not end until the day I stop breathing. I'm good with that. In fact, you know what; I'm great with that.  My life is what it is, and better yet, it is what I make it. We are spiritual being having a human experience, and I will do whatever it takes to have the best experience I can, because I can.

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