Will I ever be myself again after trauma or burnout?
Some people might believe that you cannot heal fully from trauma or burnout.
Healing is possible though, and if you don’t believe that to be true, commit to finding someone who is prepared to believe it for you whilst you cannot.
Healing is a journey towards the smooth scar tissue. It really is a strange battle with oneself, with everything you’ve ever known before and everything you now face.
Sad, unjust and cruel as it may be the reality of the arduous journey to recovery and healing is thrust upon people when they are at their very weakest in life.
Unfortunately, healing is never as abrupt as the breakage you experience in traumatic breakdown. It is a set of processes that we must engage in. That is the very nature of catastrophic events and traumatic breakdown.
I have never ever been more genuinely astounded at the courage I see people find in the face of this desolation. You find yourself shunted into a frenzy of distressing often terrifying symptoms and then to embark on a journey of healing is remarkable.
This is not one symptom alone, this is not one feeling alone, this is where everything is thrown into the air and every single function and part of life is affected.
Being able to live beyond the trauma without it impinging on you for the rest of your life is essential, in my mind, in order to attain fulfilment.
The path of healing is in no way a linear journey
The path of healing isn’t like taking a set of stairs where you see the same sized step each time and take it to the top.
I believe it requires the stages/processes, but by no means does that mean you start at stage 1 gaining knowledge and step nicely and without event to stage seven, eight and nine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
Anyone that has been through this will recognise this to be true.
It’s much more like dancing with someone who doesn’t know all the steps to follow. Things can happen along the way to throw you back a bit, throw you back to despair for instance. Throw you back to needing to go back to the self-care and safety stage. This is the ‘dance of trauma’.
‘Some dance’ I hear you say.
There is no point pretending otherwise. You cannot force anyone through these processes it’s much more appropriate to imagine it as a dance that you facilitate.
If something comes along that triggers a person into a state of panic for example flashback, it is crucial to allow that person to re-establish their safety and their self-care before they proceed to exploring anything else.
People can find this incredibly frustrating, but if we proceed with a considerate pace and work with compassion for each issue that arises we basically reduce the risk of pushing that person into a distressed state.
We manage recovery with care so we don’t risk the gains that they have made and risk prolonging suffering. Every gain is followed by putting that resource into the person’s skills-kit.
The person grows with their journey; their knowledge of themselves grows as does their resilience. The more aware of their own resilience and resources they have, the more in control of their own destiny they are.
Healing to the point where the scar tissue over the event or set of events is smooth and elastic requires us to pay attention to anything that may protrude and cause problems for us in the future.
That is not to say that we should force the issue, as this will do the exact opposite to what we are trying to achieve. One cannot force recovery and healing, there is no healing or recovery in a place of force or lack of control for the victim.
Some things may never be okay
Sometimes our healing journey will have to take account of the fact that we can never make some things okay.
Our healing will need to work with knowing that an injustice has been served us and we wrestle with it and put it into place within us; that doesn’t mean we are ever going to be okay with it, but that our healing can exist alongside knowing it can never be okay by us.
In fact, you can wrap your healing all the way around the thing that will never be okay by you. This framing of the experience gives our healing the power over the injustice.
If we give the healing power we give ourselves and our families the best chance of living knowing that we face the future with an injustice in our ‘inner circle’.
Our acceptance is part of our healing that does not mean we will ever think it’s okay. It really means that we don’t spend energy fighting an injustice that has already been done.
If you’d like to read more about recovering from trauma or burnout, you can buy your own copy of my new book ‘Smile Again’ or sign up to get my latest updates sent straight to you, at the bottom of this page.