Today I’m going to jump to the end of my book, Say It Out Loud, and share some thoughts on what I call bumps in the road.
What happens once the scars have been revealed and healed? Life.
The process of healing from any trauma is long and difficult, but eventually the good days become more frequent than the bad and life takes on a new look. Joy seeps into the spaces where darkness prevailed.
Chapter 12: The Ongoing Journey
Months, even years go by. You are living your life as a survivor, healed and whole. Life is good, until something nudges you back in time or slams you against a wall. You feel as though you are back in the depths, facing your abuse, anxious, angry, sad.
Almost anything can trigger those old feelings; a news item, movie, event in someone’s life etc. There are two important strategies that will help you get past the negative feelings and back to experiencing your new life as a survivor.
First, remember it is just a bump in the road. It is normal to fear that you are slipping back to the beginning of your journey and will never again experience feeling whole. You have to tell yourself that this is temporary, caused by an external event that triggered your feelings. No matter how well you are doing, the trauma you experienced was real and a part of your being. It is natural to have sad or angry feeling resurface but know that they will subside.
Second, talk about your feelings. When life is finally going smoothly the tendency is to ignore or push aside any negative feelings. By now you’ve probably learned that that doesn’t work. The feelings sit inside and fester. The sooner you can talk about your feelings and identify the trigger, the sooner you will work through them and be back to feeling healed. Some “bumps” only require acknowledging them and perhaps a good cry. Others may take more effort, such as a few visits with your therapist. Whatever it takes, if you say it out loud, and let yourself feel you will make it over that bump healed and whole.
I’ve been contemplating this topic as a post for a reason. I hit a bump in the road recently and followed my own advice to get past it. Today I read a Facebook status from a dear friend who has worked long and hard to cope with the loss of her son. Her status made it clear that she had hit a “bump in the road.” It sent me straight to my computer to get this post written. I hope she reads it and gains strength from knowing she is not alone and she can make it over her “bump.”
Have you hit a bump in the road on your healing journey? How did you get over it? I’d love to hear your strategies.