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The healing journey can seem very long and daunting if you’re trying to recover from the trauma you’ve suffered. It is. I’ve been on my healing journey for 5 years now and still have a long way to go.
I don’t know how long that will be though, because I don’t know what ‘healed’ even looks like.
I imagine the healed version of me to feel safer, have less anxiety, get triggered less, stand up for myself, feel confident, and reject any relationship that is short of healthy.
Sometimes it’s painful to reflect on the past five years and realize that I’m still struggling with some of the problems I had when I started this journey.
Other times I think of the invisible progress I have made and feel joyful and proud of myself.
I have itemized just 5 of the successes I’ve had, milestones if you will, that you can use to measure your progress or set out to achieve.
1. I give myself permission to feel
I used to shove my feelings aside and distract myself, now, I find myself feeling pain, sadness, depression, annoyance, irritation, joy, ease, etc. The more I let my body feel, the more I understand what message it is passing on to me.
2. I become more sensitive to watching True Crime and listening to sensitive topics
The number of horror movies and True Crime videos I’ve watched horrify the normal person. Rightfully so, as being desensitized to violence is never a good sign. It started little by little, I started crying when gory details were being described. A year ago, none of these bothered me. I feel the change in me, life’s a bit brighter — pardon my French — and anytime I’m inclined to watch or read anything with sensitive themes, I feel uneasy because I remember the dark times I used to have.
3. I get angry at fiction books containing the slightest form of toxicity, mistreatment, and abuse.
Even when it’s not romanticized I find books or movies with the above themes very hard to get through. We should not get used to forgetting the pain just because the ‘abuser’ is sorry and wants to set things right. Besides, this rarely happens in real life. Why are we taught to expect and wait for a change instead of finding closure in setting boundaries and moving on?
4. I don’t take (as much) shit anymore.
I notice when my boundaries are being crossed and I set people straight (65% of the time — it used to be less, believe it or not).
5. I became better at managing my anxiety.
I now ruminate less, and I catch myself catastrophizing before I get a panic attack or explode into tears.
Healing is a journey of transformation. The process — the pain, the tears, the punches to the gut, the knives in the heart — can be beautiful (yet painful) experiences on their own. The pain is the healing part.
Your journey and mine will be different. It takes some people less than 5 years to reach a stage where they are comfortable saying they have healed (to a certain extent).
If you’ve not hit any of these milestones or don’t know what steps to take, here’s a guide on healing your inner child, including steps to take and areas of your life it will impact.
You and I will get there one day. I mean, there’s no way to go except up right?