Friday, September 25, 2015

The Complexities of Healing

We all know that when you have a wound it will scab over as it is healing. Pick at the scab and the wound usually starts bleeding again. The healing process is interrupted and the body must heal the part of the wound that was reopened. This is the best analogy I can give to the way I experience healing from trauma. Healing is not linear. Healing is not predictable. Healing is not "neat and tidy". In fact, healing is messy and it's not pretty and it's very unpredictable with lots of ups and downs, highs and lows. 

Healing is frustrating. 

I decided to share my week publicly because I think it will help other people who are trying to heal - whether it be from trauma or otherwise. Healing from whatever hurt you is a process regardless of how the wound was made. The process can be confusing, lonely and frustrating. 

It started last weekend. My girlfriend who is a mother of twin girls who are close in age to mine posted a photo of her girls as toddlers on Facebook with a caption saying she missed that age. I broke. It was like the flood gates opened. I couldn't stop it. I messaged her because she's knows everything and I knew she would be safe and offer support. I missed that age too. I missed when my girls were so happy and without a care, as children should be. I wished I could take them back to the age before they were hurt. I wished I could turn back the clock. I also felt an incredible sense of guilt as I thought of my girls at that same age. It's hard not to do the "what ifs" and while I've gotten much better at it over the last couple years, it still happens from time to time. 

Come Monday morning I was sitting in the office of the Family Advocate at my children's school. She says, "tell me about your family" and I fell apart. The flood gates - open again. It caught me off guard. Usually I can tell my story without much emotion - dissociation is the main way that my brain has coped with the trauma. The way dissociation works is your mind basically makes it like an "out of body" thing. For me, it's like I'm telling someone else's story. This couldn't have happened to me and my children. Dissociation does not allow the mind to heal, it just allows it to cope. 

By Wednesday I was doing two IEP meetings for my twins, holding back tears the whole time. As I sat in the meetings I was angry. I was angry that it took me 2 1/2 years of fighting for the authority to have my children evaluated for this process. I was angry that my twins missed 2 1/2 years of services for learning disabilities that would have helped them immensely. I was angry that I had to fight to give my children what they need. I was angry I had to fight a parent who was unwilling to do what was in the best interests of their children. 

As my children and I transition into a new time in our lives the healing process takes another turn. The dissociation has helped me to be able to fight for my kids. It's given me the bandwidth to take care of what I've needed to take care of on the legal end and with the medical and education services they need. By dissociating, I've been able to forge ahead, full speed. By dissociating, I can use my anger to fuel my fight. But sooner or later, the anger has to go because it's not helping any of us. 

Healing comes in waves. I don't want it to come in waves, I just want to be healed, darn it! I also know that to heal it, I have to feel it. Feeling the grief of what trauma has done in your life and to the people you love is downright crappy. It feels awful and it's not fun. But the only way out is through. I know that. 

In the midst of my own healing process, the best piece of advice I can give is be patient. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with the process. 

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