Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Healing Facts

Over the past year, I've discovered that the path of healing is singular for everyone. This article fits my experience and what I have observed in others; it also strengthens that conviction, that we all do what we need to do in order to heal and, yeah, we make mistakes, but without them, we'd be robots. Healing is an ongoing creative process, imo, and so, we stumble and fall..... and rise up again and again. ~Invicta, MA, July/02

Common Misconceptions about Healing

---Dee Ann Miller, RN, BS ---

Before leaving psychiatric nursing to devote more time to advocacy work, I wrote some hand-outs for my patients. No matter what the trauma, no matter what the diagnosis, no matter if the patient was suffering from a chronic or an acute condition, I found that many profited from one that helped clarify some of the common myths about healing. Hopefully, these myths can help you, as well:

MYTH #1. Emotional healing is a process that's needed only occasionally, when one has been deeply hurt. NO! Healing is a constant on-going part of daily living. For everyone! It is required whenever we face a change or crisis. Much of it takes place without us being consciously aware that it is going on. Survivors often feel "different" or permanently "damaged" when, in reality, they are waging an internal war because of cognitive distortions that constitute unwelcome changes in the way things are perceived. Healing requires the adjustment to new understandings, new ideas, new skills, new behaviors, and a new self-concept that, in time, has the potential to produce a healthier person than ever before.

MYTH #2. There is a magic formula that I have to find if I'm going to recover. Sorry, there are no magic formulas! When I worked with children, I frequently sang a little song to them: "Look all the world over. There's no one like me." It's true for adults, just as much as children. In fact, life's circumstances can make adult processes even more complex. The way you heal and how fast you do it can depend on your personality, past experiences with trauma, how you perceive your present situation, your support system, and many other factors. There is absolutely no right or wrong way to heal. There is no normal timetable, no measuring stick. You are not in competition with anyone else.

MYTH #3. Professionals are the most important people on the healthcare team. NO! You are! Professionals have a lot of knowledge, but they are not God. They alone cannot bring healing, no matter how much they try. Their work, and yours, can be undermined by circumstances beyond their control. All of us have our limitations. The most important thing a professional can do for you is to provide a listening ear and an accepting, empathetic spirit.

MYTH #4. Healing is an event with a definite beginning and ending. Unfortunately, problems tend to recycle periodically, requiring one to face new issues related to the trauma, years after saying: "I think I'm over that." This can be scary, especially if one is not warned of the possibility. The stages of grieving may have to be repeated when reminders or other traumatic events trigger old garbage. This is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of normality. Our losses often involve sub-losses that may not be recognized until years after the initial trauma.

MYTH #5. Time heals all things. No, again! Ignoring pneumonia usually brings a slow, painful death. So does ignoring emotional or spiritual pain. While healing is an individual process, finding well-informed professionals, friends and other survivors who are able to support you can go a long ways. So can reading material. You DO need time, but time alone isn't the answer. Healing involves a lot of grieving over changes and losses. And grieving is very hard work. It's exhausting. So set realistic goals. Take vacations away from the active process, from time to time. Be kind to yourself. Expect things to get better slowly as you are able to take time for the pain.


Anonymous said...

This a beautiful aid in the on-going healing processes of life, bearing deeply wise and informative words.

Anonymous said...

This is the kindest and, as anonymous said, *wisest* information I have found on healing. Many thanks. Will endeavour to take it on board.

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog, but Myth #4 scares & disappoints me.

I was involved with a N over the Internet for 1.5 years. Just like this post says, I keep thinking, "I am mentally damaged...traumatized...I will never be the same."

I have gotten to the point where I will be fine, and then one thought about "Did he ever love me as much as I love him?" ruins my whole day, leaving me sobbing into my pillow at night. I don't want to be a mentally traumatized person. I am only 24 :(

Sensei said...

its been a year..
still shocked, hurt, betrayed and angry.

Anonymous said...

It's been a year since my marriage ended. I am sad and morn the loss,but need to heal from the emotion abuse of the relationship. We were great together when life was fun and we socialized with friends. He was the life of the party. I was diagnosed with breast ca., on the outside he was the caring husband. At home he told me I looked ugly, and that it was not all about me. I actually believed that our failed marriage was my fault, that maybe if I had have been so needy. Thank you for this site. I am working on forgiveness so that I can move on. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there
I would like to share my recovery story with you:

Look at my posts under Mr. Hyde
from Anonymous from Europe :-)

It will help you a lot and you may even start to believe in some sort of good in the world, because I WON!

I have lots of tipps in the post what helped me.
Good luck and remember you have a darn right to get angry after you have mourned :-)


Anonymous said...

Healing is painful

As the scapegoat female child of a malignant misogynistic narcissist ,i have been told by the male golden child, that they are all healed now,have "moved on" with their life and that i should not be bitter and "get over it" already.

So in healing work...many times, the victim does need to cut all ties.
When any contact with family retriggers memories, and they DO NOT CARE that they are hurting you because you should "just get over it" is time to let go.

Anonymous said...

How do I get over the anxiety,fear and some times even terror,of going in public.Even where I work. Ive been there 4 years!I know these people.Why do I feel this way?!