Unfortunately, I think too many survivors seem to think this way:
You will hear many phrases about healing. ‘When I heal’ etc. The idea of this is to give us hope. Hope that one day we will be cured and have no suffering. At the time of our darkest hour, thoughts of healing may help us but in the end after many years, healing will take on another meaning.
I think the author though, is right. Healing in this sense is not the end of suffering or a “cure” for trauma. I think this is where our typical metaphors let us down a little. We talk about abuse and trauma as injuries that must be healed. But they aren’t like a virus or a broken arm. Those do actually heal and we go away without a care in the world about them any more. Trauma isn’t like that. Trauma is much more like a debilitating injury, one that doesn’t get better, but one that we have to learn to work around and live with.
It’s not a broken arm, it’s arthritis, if you will allow me to continue the metaphor. It’s not a virus it’s a food allergy, and so on. The traumatic experience is now part of us, and healing involves understanding it and learning to work with it.
Being “healed” for me is not the absence of any symptoms of my abuse and mental health issues, it’s knowing that I can work with those symptoms and continue to grow as a human being instead of being locked down by them. There is no promise of never suffering in anyone’s life, expecting that to indicate that I’m healed is only going to lead to disappointment.