Sunday, August 9, 2009

Progress and set-backs

When I am working with people following a physical injury there is a time that I talk with them about during the very first session. There will come a day that they are feeling pretty good, and so they decide to do something "normal". The problem is that their body still isn't normal. It's hyper-reactive, still trying to protect itself after whatever injury suffered, and suddenly, that simple act of, say, mowing the lawn, turns into a backward step in recovery.
Emotional trauma seems to have a similar impact on some. When one is hurt, there are so many stages of recovery that it can feel endless. One day, you're feeling pretty good, and decide to stretch a bit emotionally, and it bites you in the ass, pushing you back into a darker space. "Ugh! Will this never end? Are things going to stay this way forever?" you might think to yourself.

The other side of that physical experience I talked about in the first paragraph is that the second "recovery" period is often much shorter, because that body is already moving in a direction of healing. The person whose body it is gains a whole new awareness and appreciation for how much more care they need to take with their body, because even a healed injury isn't as strong in that same place as it was before it was damaged. Often, making sure to stretch and exercise the area, to maintain flexibility and strength, makes all the difference in the world. It just needs to be movement that supports, rather than overly challenges, the injured-now-healed area.

In that same way, emotional wounds heal, but the same emotional spots seems to be more prone to being sensitive. Finding ways to stretch and strengthen tender areas without aggravation is key to recovery. What are the ways to support yourself, on your own, and with the help of others? How can you stretch without overextending? Can you make your partner(s) aware of that? Most of all, if it hurts in a way that re-damages you, stop doing it! It's like pulling stitches out before being fully healed and wondering why you still have a gaping wound.

There will be rises and falls on the road of recovery. Expect it. Continuing forward when it would feel so much easier to stay down and wallow is where true courage comes into play. Sometimes, it's fake it 'til you make it, but healing is what the body does, it's what the heart does, and it will get there eventually.


ourquad said...

How can you heal if the same wound keeps getting reopen and your partner shows no interest in stopping the behavior that causes that?

I've been through a bunch of healing with issues related to Gator, but I'm healing because he finally understood how some things were affecting me and was willing to work on a solution with me.

I'm not healing with issues related to Tech because he thinks I get unreasonably hurt. He doesn't understand, nor really try to understand, why I feel this way. So, how are these wounds ever going to heal?


Anonymous said...

Here's where I'm at with your question, Vol- If it's an issue that you can work with on your own, or can disconnect the issue from the specific partner, that can work. If it's something that is behavior specific, the partner doesn't see your pain, and you can't move through it under your own steam, it might be time to reconsider the partner choice.

When someone doesn't see your pain, or desire to understand your feelings (and I'm including the person having the feelings in that equation. It's important to understand WHY you feel something.), it sets up a dynamic that won't rejects intimacy and safety in the relationship.

There are times where one avoids pain as a way to not deal with something important (not so good). Then there are times where choosing to be around people who support your higher good, rather than increasing the damage carried, is a good thing for all concerned.

ourquad said...

It's sad for me, I find it hard to contemplate, but I am having to reconsider my partner choice.

Thank you for your help.