My Take on What Healing Means
My friend castorgirl at Scattered Pieces recently posted What is healing? It's precisely the question I need to ask myself today.
I, too, have been saddled by questions recently such as Where am I going?, What's the point of all this hard work?, Where's the progress?, How long will this take?, and on and on.
There are times when I can see that I've made huge progress and times when I am so mired in flashbacks or internal confusion that I feel right back where I was decades ago. There are times when I am super-functional and times when I cannot get out of bed. There are times when I am fully connected to my children and family and times when I cannot clearly recognize them. There are times when I feel so full of insight and times when I feel like these are insights that any child should be able to have or cannot put two and two together. There are times when my body feels so healthy and times when I am wracked with pain. There are times when I feel so full of life and times when I feel like dying.
The experience of those of us who have lived lives through dissociative coping and are healing is chock full of contradictions like these. It absolutely must be that way. All those contradictions have been with us forever. That's really not at all new. We simply weren't aware of them before. For most of our lives, we have survived precisely by avoiding the very contradictions we now must face. It was an ingenious strategy. It worked wonderfully when we needed it to. But many of us find that it is severely limiting in the here and now.
Healing, to me, means a commitment to increasing awareness and a commitment to continue to cultivate that awareness despite the short term pains it may give us. I have written before that healing is a messy thing. It's very messy! It's full of friction. Sometimes the price we pay for that awareness seems overwhelming and too much to bear. "We cannot do it anymore!" we often find ourselves writing (or screaming out loud).
But, there are glimpses of what that awareness can ultimately lead to. Otherwise, we wouldn't continue down the healing path.
It may mean being able to curb harmful behaviors. It may mean being able to sometimes genuinely "feel", whether it be experiencing sorrow or grief or joy or love or anger. It may mean being able to sometimes see yourself for who you really are; the big picture, so to speak.
If you are now saddled with contradictions, you have already made the decision that you want something more than what dissociation can give you.
The process of healing through increased awareness is the process of personal change and growth. It's not linear. It's not for the faint of heart. It takes courage. It takes strength. It takes hope and perseverance. For many, it takes faith in something greater than ourselves.
If any of this resonates with you, congratulations. I wish you well in your healing journey.
What does healing mean to you?