One of the biggest lessons learned when I first took a step into therapy over 6 years ago up till now is "healing is a process, not an event"; something I have had to accept as a part of this journey. I saw this quote yesterday and I sat with it for a while, it really did hit me, and I have had so many thoughts about it since I read it, and so it helped me to write this blog tonight:
"Growth is not a steady, forward, upward progression. It is indeed a switchback trail: three steps forward, two steps back, one around the bushes, and a few moments simply standing, before another forward leap"
The other day I was thinking back to my first day of therapy. I remember my therapist and I playing phone tag for days before I actually made my first appointment.
I pondered and pondered and feared showing up being vulnerable to be seen and heard holding the stories and pain from my past.
The first day I walked into therapy I had this unrealistic vision that I would get to know this therapist, tell him my story, he would then wave a magic wand and say "you are healed" and I go about my life all better, all fixed.
.... and here I am 6 years and 7 months later and I am still walking the path to my healing. I am still finding wounds that were not healed, open and raw.
I look at that quote and I smile because my therapist is right, healing is a process. It's about taking steps forward, taking steps back, sitting down, or standing still, walking around the many obstacles that this healing path takes, all for the small moments when I take a big forward leap! It is a process, not an event.
I will admit, there are times when I am exhausted from this process of healing. I want to give up sometimes and just close the book and say "I'm Done" but I'm not done, and its in those moments that I want to throw in the towel, when it gets hard, that I find the most healing happening.
It's funny how those moments that feel the hardest are the most effective healing moments, and although sometimes it doesn't feel it, it truly is a process of a wound healing over to a light scab; still painful, but making its way to a full healing.
This year has been one of the hardest years I have ever had in therapy. There have been many obstacles and many wounds ripped wide open.
This year I have isolated and really gone inward and its been painful and very hard - but I still have not given up and I won't.
My therapist always tells me "when you give up, I still wont give up on you for at least a year after you give up, so your stuck with me".
I show up to therapy 4 days a week, with one of those days being 2 hours. I work hard, I show up and I work hard because I KNOW that this healing path is a process and a process that will heal the wounds I have carried for so long.
This is for the 5 year old, the 6,7,8,9 year old that I was that never had a voice to heal the wounds I carried when I was little. This is my chance to give her the voice I couldn't.
I never thought that when I first walked into therapy 6 years and 7 months ago that I would be in this process for this long. I never knew that healing was a process, I just thought it was something I had to do, and once I did it, I was done.
I do have to say, although there are moments that healing is painful, there are moments that are also filled with JOY! There are moments I look back and think "wow, I would have never done that before".
There are moments in therapy that my therapist and I celebrate! There are tears of joy, and there are funny moments of laughter as well! ALL are healing!
My therapist and I went through a lot last year around an unfortunate "situation" that happened that distorted a part my healing and our work together, but my therapist leaned in and assured me that we would get through this, and we were not giving up and would fight hard for the healing path and our relationship that had its challenges because of this situation... and he was right!
We have been working extremely hard in the year and I am so blessed, just so blessed for the person he is and for God putting him in my life to help me walk this path with someone I can trust and lean on.
So as the quote says .. "Growth is not a steady, forward, upward progression. It is indeed a switchback trail: three steps forward, two steps back, one around the bushes, and a few simply standing, before another forward leap"
Time and time again I have been shown just that. Healing is a process, not an event. We have to feel the pain of the wound before it heals. We have to show up and be vulnerable and never give up even when in times you feel you just can't do it anymore. The process is filled with many obstacles and road blocks, and even moments of despair when you are challenged - but NEVER GIVE UP!
I am still going through some hard emotional struggles right now, but when I look back at the path and see where I was and where I am, I know this struggle is not a road block, but a part of the journey needed to take another step forward.
I read a lot of blogs out there around people who are on the same healing path I am on, and I see people struggle and go through so much pain, and I wish I could tell them "that struggle is the healing". I know it doesn't feel it, but it's there.
My therapist always tells me "I wish you could see, what I see, and my job is to remind you where you are when you can't see it".
I am a better person, wife, mom, friend and child of God because of that first step I took into therapy 6 years and 7 months ago, and I can only imagine it will only get better - even when it's painful and hard like it is right now.
I am glad I can sit here and write about the process of healing and how hard it is, because it's my way of letting people know "you are not alone" and that reminds me of the same.
Take those steps.. even if they are steps backwards, they are sometimes needed in order to take a bigger step forward.