22 Aug Healing wounds seen and unseen
When I was in Jr high I hurt my left knee so much that it was black and blue, swollen up and could hardly put weight on it.
The doctor said nothing was wrong so I played sports for the next 1 ½ years. Mom couldn’t stand me coming home in tears after basketball practice, gobbling pain relievers and hardly being able to go down the stairs to shower so she brought me to a specialist.
The specialist looked at my old x-ray and said “well, she has a broken knee cap”. Hmmm, no wonder my knee hurt. I had been accused of malingering, being a baby and trying to get attention. “You look just fine” was the theme. Fast forward a few months after and the doctors took out the ¼ of my kneecap that was broken. I did not want to do the surgery because I was afraid. I was angry afterward because my knee hurt to bend, put weight on or move at all. It felt better before! Don’t even get me started on what a pain it was to take a bath.
Eventually, my knee felt better but I had to work on getting stronger, learning to move it again, being gentle and allowing it to catch up to the rest of my body. After a few months I was SO relieved to bend my knee and not want to cry. The doctors had to dig in and take out the damaged piece before I could really heal correctly. Is it like new? No, but it was a lot better than being broken. Another added benefit was that once I had the surgery people believed and helped me. Well there were the bullies who tripped me on my crutches but that is a whole other blog!
I am a visual person and like to use metaphors to feel what my clients feel. In a recent session I was talking to someone about healing and allowing yourself time to do this. When you hurt yourself physically can you immediately heal or does it take time? It does take time.
I have seen two types of breaks in peoples Spirits.
1. Breaks or hurts you see: Some of the hurts, like losing a loved one, strikes like a broken bone we all can see. No one expects you to start running on a broken leg with a visible cast so keep that cast on and the bone will heal. Same for those who are grieving through death, no one expects you to do the things you used to do for some time. Again, everyone heals at their own pace!
When you start to move forward in your life after a loss it is like taking a cast off. Moving forward is a relative term, it is personal for each of us and most of my clients just “know” when it is time to move forward. It could be going on trip, attending a concert or dating again. With the broken bone example, can you start running after removing a case that had supported your leg? No. Anyone who has worn a cast knows you can’t just start to run. It hurts all over again, it hurts to move, bend, put weight on, etc. During that time though that suffering is not visible. “why are you limping? What’s wrong? Let’s go”.
Same with emotional pain which has been immobilized for months or more. When you start “moving forward” No one may
know why you are crying at the grocery store, a football game or during a holiday. It can be confusing and frustrating to you and people don’t want to bring up the death to “make you feel worse” but often times can be part of the process for the grieving.
I have seen guilt in many people when they decide maybe it is time to move forward and really heal after the death of a loved one. They make a decision to move ahead and it hurts all over again so it either must not be time or they are not doing it correctly so we stop. Everything seems to hurt all over again and you think “when will this end? I thought I was healing!”
But the more you branch out, little by little, the more you help others up in their time of need and the more loving you are with yourself you can work through this pain.
2. Breaks or hurts we DON’T ever see: Some hurts go way back and have never been visible to the outside world. We are so good at hiding our feelings out of not wanting to disappoint or out of fear. Even though we may not see them, they are wounds none the less How many of you would have a cut on your arm and keep ripping that wound open? Or knowingly use a broken limb? With my broken knee cap, would it have helped to hit the knee cap? No. That would make no sense but I see a lot of us doing that with our emotional wounds.
Many of us will beat and beat and beat ourselves up and wonder why we can’t heal. When we don’t understand why things happened to us… we often times believe we are bad. That is SO common! Was the bullying, physical, emotional or sexual abuse your fault? No, so why are we hating and abusing ourselves. It is not your fault but only you are accountable for righting that wrong with yourself. In the end, the only person we have from day one to the last on this earth is ourselves. Those who hurt us either don’t realize the impact or care. We are not being babies or wimps; we are being true to ourselves.
Just like my knee cap and the surgery, will it hurt to dig up this old stuff? Most likely, as part of the therapeutic process is experiencing the pain and moving through it in a healthy way. You will eventually be able to put weight on it, bend and move again with practice and patience. Will it be the same? Not exactly, but could be better than you thought.
My ask of you is …. The next time you feel yourself getting angry, upset or beating yourself up, be aware of that and realized that beating on your Spirit will not help you heal. When you love yourself, others follow suit and do the same.