Psychological Scars: Time Itself Does Not Heal All Wounds
I often hear people say “it has been x number of years, I should be over this.” Unfortunately, that is not how healing works. We as a society like to tell people that time heals all wounds, and while it may be true that for some natural losses, the intensity may diminish with time, healing from trauma does not work in the same way.
Waiting for things to get better without doing anything differently or getting professional help only increases feelings of hopelessness. It keeps you trapped in patterns of behaviour that you do not know how to escape.
Anniversaries of traumatic events are known to cause an increase in trauma symptoms, including nightmares, anxiety, agitation, feeling unsafe and wanting to isolate. Without knowing how to manage this or understanding what is happening, it can feel destabilizing.
It is not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed at the idea of facing what has happened or the time that has been lost. It is easier to avoid taking action, to keep going in the same direction, not getting help, not living. This avoidance only furthers the cycle of hopelessness and despair.
Recovering from any trauma is not easy, but it is possible. There is life after trauma. It may not be the same life as the one you had before. It is okay to have feelings about that. You are allowed to be angry, or sad or resentful. You are allowed to feel whatever you need to but pretending that the trauma didn’t happen, waiting for things to get better is unlikely to be effective. That is the work that happens in therapy.
It is not a pity party. It is not a waste of time to talk about the things that cannot be changed. Therapy is about learning how to live after trauma, how to have connections. We all need connection.
If you find yourself struggling, no matter how much time has passed, email me firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk about how psychotherapy can help you.