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  • Kennedy McLean

Healing Is Not An Event

As I look around on social media, in particular, I notice how often it is often portrayed that healing just happens and that there is a quick fix to feeling better. While this might sound nice, and even give temporary hope, I can honestly say that from my own experience and in the years that I have spent helping others, I have learned that this is far from being true. Healing is not linear and quite often there is a temporary increase in discomfort. If you want to heal anything you should expect there to be messy feelings, disappointments, and setbacks. I believe in approaching things eyes wide open, and this is no different. While we can’t predict what will come up, I do think it makes sense to be prepared to feel uncomfortable. If we go into therapy expecting to have a quick solution, get some answers and be all healed, we are likely to be disappointed.


Imagine a boat that has a hole in it. Maybe it seems easy to patch the hole in a cheap easy and quick way and this may seem like a better option than the more expensive one that will take longer. The trouble is that the first option will only be temporary and it is only a matter of time until the boat begins to leak again. The second on the other hand will take longer initially, but the boat's strength will be restored and it will go on to last. You are the boat.


Healing within the context of therapy is about finding safety. It is about creating a relationship where we can sit in the discomfort and tolerate it. We learn that someone is there for us, that we can depend on someone to be there no matter how bad things feel. We learn that discomfort is only temporary. We learn to feel a sense of safety. Eventually, we can let go of some of that discomfort that we carry both in our minds and bodies.


This all takes time. It cannot happen overnight. You can’t just force your mind to heal any faster than it wants to. Sure there are set treatments will x number of weeks but that doesn't mean you will be "healed" by the end. Each of us doesn't come with our own guidebook that says exactly how long it will take us to heal so it is impossible to compare ourselves to someone else (something we all love to do). It might seem like someone is getting better faster but you are not them, you have not lived the same life. Your mind will work on its own time. You must give it that time and space.


Your job is to show up, to be willing to do the work, whatever that looks like for you, wherever you are at. Your job is to make your own healing a priority, to make therapy a priority. Your job is to be compassionate with yourself, to give yourself the time you need to heal. Your job is to take care of yourself to the best of your ability, to find a therapist you feel comfortable with, and to ask for help when you need it.