Healing Isn’t a Smooth Timeline

One of the things I frequently hear from survivors when they are struggling in an area of their healing is “I’ve been at this for ‘x’ years, shouldn’t I be past this?”, or other similar sentiments. Or, sometimes they will talk about how things with their healing were going along nicely, and for the last month, or more, it just seems to have hit a wall and everything is a struggle and they are feeling overwhelmed.

At these times, I find it important to point out that healing journeys are rarely ever a straight line. Not only are all of our paths to healing different from one another, but they tend to work in fits and starts, more than in a straight line of progress.

When I think about my own healing, I can clearly see the times where there was a great amount of progress in very little time, and also those times where progress seemed to be always out of reach, and even the times where there was regression instead of progress. We’re complicated creatures, and dealing with childhood abuse is a long process. For every sudden realization that changes our perspective almost overnight, there are just as many day in and day out struggles to simply cope with the information we are processing. I spent a few years in and out of therapy, on and off medication, working and seeing progress, then suddenly giving up, only to wind up back in the same place until the one session where a concept suddenly clicked for me, and healing seemed to come almost overnight.

Granted it wasn’t really overnight, it took many long months after that to start to build an adult life for myself, and it took years of work and struggle to even reach that point, but the progress I was making sped up dramatically after the day I finally saw myself as a capable, responsible adult instead of a victim. That progress wouldn’t have come, and couldn’t possibly have been that quick, without all the other struggle that came before it. That slow time, and all of those times where I didn’t think I was ever going to get anywhere, were part of my process. The very same process that changed my outlook and my life within a short year or so. I couldn’t have had one without the other, and all of you fellow survivors, are on a similar journey. You’ll have times of great progress in a short amount of time, and times of great struggle that can last for a very long time. That’s pretty typical, actually.

It’s not a race, and the pace will change as your life, and your health dictates. The important thing is that you follow the advice of Winston Churchill. “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”

Keep working, no matter how slow the progress is, it’s better than giving up.

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  1. This describes how my journey has been also—two steps forward and one step back, sometimes with huge leaps forward and other times with very little progress seemingly being made. I appreciate the fact that you share you journey. Not many men are willing to. It is good to see more men willing to break the silence of abuse.

  2. I love that quote Mike ! I find in my healing the memory is always there and I will never forget but the pain is gone . It is exactly that just a memory , an expereince it dosen’t hurt anymore when we see things for what they are and were etc. open to deal and be honest about pain , emotions etc. eventually the pain lifts . I think the difference is when we are working on healing that expereince we are reliving , refeeling etc. a memory is not reliving because it is in the past not the here and now . My friends who have lost spouses and others close to them say the same thing about the pain of grieving . It hurts so bad . for yrs sometimes but eventually the pain is gone and just the meory it never goes .
    I like to welcome the good & bad memories because it helps me see the whole picture . I need to be real and deal with it all 🙂

  3. You are so right on! I often lapse into self pity (my therapist quickly calls me on it) and fail to see the long, hard fought for road behind me.

  4. Hi

    Nice Thought, Mike! I really appreciate the way you have share your journey. I think the difference is when we are working on healing that experience we are reliving, refelling etc.

    Thanks . keep writing

  5. hi

    i am so very happy because i am helping kids out not stoping child abuse and i am doing a powerpoint on one so come out look at its cool plz help stop child abuse

    thank you so much 🙂

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