mental healing

The process of healing: What you go through when you heal

After any traumatic experience, you go through a period of healing to bounce back to your normal self. It is a step-by-step process which takes time, varying from person to person.

We all wish for our life to be a cakewalk, but it is mostly not so. We go through our own share of losses, a few of which might leave scars that don’t heal as soon as we’d like. Even when we revisit daily events, we find that there are many situations that are upsetting or where we may not have come on top of things. The book Sometimes you win, Sometimes you learn, by John Maxwell although highlights that lost battles are actually the best teachers. These are events which plunge us into emotional upheavals, where we do not feel our usual happy self and find the loss overwhelming. We find our daily routine in a mess for some time as well. We spend a huge chunk of time mulling over that loss.

Indeed, once a traumatic event takes place, a process of after-effects happen. Initially, the grief, the rush of emotions may be too intense to let the mind win over the heart. But gradually, we move through many such phases to finally being able to take proper control of our painful thoughts and emotions.
It’s important to acknowledge here that mental healing is the progression of permitting, accepting and handling painful life experiences and strong emotions. This can include empathy, regulating self, self-kindness, accepting yourself as you are and mindfulness. Once we understand that healing follows a path and takes a stipulated time, we become more accepting of the same.

Rather than plunging into chaos post trauma, being aware of the various stages makes us more self-compassionate and allows us the freedom to let it take its own course. ‘Time is the biggest healer’, which is originally a Russian quote, is one of the most widely used proverbs in the world. When the cycle of healing is complete in due time, which is different for everyone, the psychological hurt stops bothering, its sting diminishes over time and life flows through us again.

Soulveda shares here the various phases of mental healing to help us comprehend it better.

Guilt and forgiveness go hand in hand

Guilt is the first step towards healing. But what you need is a discerning thought to realize the mistake and not just blame yourself. Guilt if taken positively can guide you to repair the damage done or save relationships gone bad.

A word of caution though, one should never get caught in the guilt of having a mental health issue as it is no guilt at all. People often mistake it to be one and struggle to accept it or forgive themselves.

When guilt is understood properly, forgiveness follows. In fact, not seeking forgiveness is like punishing yourself emotionally, as anger is a destructive emotion and can cause physical distress to the one harbouring it. This struggle can be painful so it’s much better to forgive as that leads one on a road to recovery. Forgiveness is indeed a way to bring inner peace and wellbeing for the self.

Feeling lost leads to rediscovering self

This sense of a drift and emptiness can be really damaging if you allow it to linger on for too long. Going too hard towards one’s passion or finding it difficult to find a purpose often brings with it a feeling of being lost. But it can also be a good launch pad for your subconscious mind to wade through the unseen and discover your true self.

Try to understand that the feeling of discouragement comes into play mainly on account of others, disallowing you to heal. To take control of the self in such times and identify negative thoughts is crucial to reduce emotional distress and let meaning takes precedence over our glum moods.

Don’t self-isolate for long

Life is a roller coaster and has its up and downs. But what makes our loneliness even more painful is when our partner or near and dear ones start to abandon us. When one self isolates to feel a slight reprieve, they tend to  stop communicating with others. This behaviour sometimes leads to losing relationships and even oneself in the longer run, prolonging the process of mental healing.

The right way to redeem any relationship or for that matter yourself is to put yourself ahead of others in the healing process. Take care of your health first and if possible, involve others in supporting you to get better.  This way, you learn to take responsibility of the situation first, helping correct it.

Do not give up even if no one is watching

A feeling of despair sets in when you find that nothing is working for you and that no one is paying any attention to your struggle at returning to normal life. The feeling of powerlessness and helplessness is a state which pulls you down. But this can also lead to a possible way out if you keep trying and do not accept your helplessness as a final fail.

Changing your perspective is a great remedial measure. As you are responsible for your healing, being a little selfish towards your wellbeing is not a bad choice; the self-care, the requesting of help or support from others helps you emerge victorious in returning to normalcy, to a healthier you.

Own up to responsibilities

With a little professional help if need be, one must own up to life’s responsibilities that do not stop because one is grieving or hurt. One must take responsibility for healing by identifying and acting on things they can control. This is an incredibly positive change and improves not just mental health but the ability to learn as well.

This change allows one to think that this is an opportunity to redefine oneself and gain an internal control than being controlled by external factors. This sense of responsibility also stop us from making excuses or blaming others, immensely helping in improving our relationships with others, boosting our confidence as well.

To grieve is to seek help

To grieve is the most natural response of any human being when confronted with a loss of a loved one. Even crying is a natural expression of grief, but those who do not cry also grieve, its just that they feel and express their pain in some other form. Grieving is a natural way to take out our negative emotions and prepare to seek help which is essential to come out of the grief itself. Seeking help is a positive step as it shows that we have admitted it as a fact. It encourages our support system like friends and family to bring in conversational therapy as well.

However, a long spell of grief can cast a gloom and a sense of denial that no such thing even happened. An overthinking mind can also prevent us from accepting that we could be wrong too. That is why we should always be mindful of the present and consciously try to bring out future oriented parts of life which can help us dream and swim through this phase of life with ease.

Mistakes can be overwhelming

We do not live in a perfect world but still, the society we live in does not accept mistakes of any kind. While mistakes are usually a complete dampener, we must understand that life is not perfect and it allows us to make mistakes – as long as we learn something from them.

Mistakes, if not normalized emotionally, can bring a lot of anxiety coupled with health issues like high blood pressure or obesity. One can learn to exercise and practice breathing techniques to combat that feeling of being overwhelmed by a recently committed mistake. Thinking about such mistakes also tends to frustrate and anger us so it is advisable to share or vent such feelings with someone we trust.

To this end, developing a mental healing roadmap with an achievable short-term goal is a solid strategy that boosts confidence and encourages results in the long term. So the next time we commit a mistake, we are better prepared to deal with it in a healthy manner.

If we learn to make mental healing our primary duty and unlearn that others are responsible for our mental health, we can start the cycle of self-love. Having gone through a traumatic experience is upsetting but once we are on the path of mental healing, it opens new vistas and christens new beginnings. So let’s learn to take the first step and allow the process of healing to take over us.




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