When Healing Is Hard

August 25, 2015

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was sitting on his couch with my eyes closed, sobbing harder than I had in months. I’d stopped breathing, resisting the next step of the process with every cell in my body. I could literally feel every inch of my being saying “oh hell no, we’re not going there.”

He was speaking to me clearly and firmly, pushing me to do what I needed to do to heal what had been broken. Pushing me to say what I couldn’t bring myself to say so that I could finally move forward with a little bit of peace.

“I don’t want to,” I sobbed.

“You have to, SAY IT,” he pushed back.

An hour and a half and I was spent. My face covered in mascara, my voice was fragile, and I could feel the exhaustion in my bones. He asked if I was sure I could drive home or if I wanted to stay awhile, and I felt like I floated out to my car, collapsing into the driver’s seat. The rest of that day is still a blur.

The following night I took another step by releasing some items that needed to go. Things that only brought me back to the hardest moment of my life and were keeping me stuck energetically. As I burned the things I needed to burn, letting go of what no longer belonged in my space, I got so nauseous I could barely stand up. Standing on the side of the road, after the ashes washed down the creek and there was only one thing left to release… I was bent over with tears in my eyes, not sure if I was going to throw up or pass out. Not sure I had it in me to fully let go.

I spent the next four days sicker than I’d been in years. Burning up at night with a fever that brought chills and sweats and aches all over. A throat that hurt so bad I could only tolerate tea and popsicles. Work stalled and things fell behind. I slept and slept and slept some more. My skin actually, physically hurt, both to the touch and just to be inside myself. People worried. He reminded me that this was a deep and intense healing process, and that it was normal… even though I was sick longer than most people. Even when he started to worry too.

“I feel like death,” I squeaked to the one who held me through every painful moment of the days that followed, who brought me juice and tucked me in at night. “That’s because you had your soul ripped open,” he replied gently and knowingly.

On the last night, I went to bed packed full of anti-inflammatories and with a 102 degree fever, chilled to the bone and intending to go to urgent care as soon as it opened the next morning. Instead, I woke up drenched in sweat like nothing I’d ever experienced. Sopping wet, with sweat pouring out of me, my skin as pale as snow. My throat stopped hurting, the aches in my bones went away, and my fever was gone. I felt like I’d been through an exorcism.

And when I could finally step back into my life and work fully, I was back. Really, truly back. I could remember all the things I had forgotten, and I could function in ways I thought I may never be able to again. I could talk about things without crying, and I felt so energized I worked until 3am without a second thought.

When we think about healing, we tend to only think about the gentle parts.

Rest and recovery.
Massages and a lot of naps.
Juice and healthy, nourishing meals.

But sometimes healing is hard.

Sometimes it hurts as much as, if not more, than the thing that damaged us.

Sometimes healing is about breaking what didn’t break all the way through, so that we can put things back together the way they’re supposed to be. So we can finally mend.

And let me tell you, when healing requires that you break first, a lot further than you thought you were capable of handling… it’s hard.

Oh my goodness is it hard.

There are things in this life that hurt us so deeply we don’t realize what’s been broken until well after the fact… until (like I experienced) you can’t run on the fumes of the aftermath anymore and the things you didn’t notice become unavoidable. Until you can’t function at all, spending most of the day in a mess of your own tears, wondering if you’ll ever understand what it means to feel whole and healthy again. Wondering if you’re just too broken to be fixed.

Sometimes we have to walk into healing prepared to be bruised more deeply than the thing that hurt us, and broken in the places we’ve mended poorly and carelessly. Sometimes we have to walk through the pain in ways we never could at the time, so that we can actually, truly move through what needs to be moved through. So we can put it behind us.

Sometimes healing is hard. And that’s scary, I’m not going to lie. I didn’t walk into this healing thinking, “this will be fun.” I walked in with hesitation and resistance that made me tense. I walked in filled with nerves and wishing I was anywhere but in that room. Wondering if maybe I could fix myself, but knowing that I had to face what was next. And knowing that it was going to hurt like hell.

It takes a lot of faith, trust, and strength to walk into a healing that you know will hurt like hell.

But I can promise you that it’s worth it.

I’ve never been through such an intensely painful experience. I’ve never had to face the pain and the ones who hurt me in such a raw and challenging way. I’ve never been pushed with such forceful love by someone unwilling to let me step back in fear. I’ve also never been so ridiculously sick after this kind of work.

I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I would be equally as nervous and resistant.
I wouldn’t be the least bit excited about any of it.

But, I would absolutely do it again.

Because when we’re willing to face the hard stuff in order to heal and release, we grow in ways we couldn’t grow otherwise. We learn things about ourselves and others that we could never know otherwise. And we heal ourselves in powerful ways that we could never do otherwise.

Band-aids aren’t enough, and you can only outrun the damage for so long. The broken parts will only stay glued and taped together for so long. It’s better to walk into it with everything you have and a loving guide to hold your hand. It’s better to choose to become healed and whole, no matter what it takes.

No matter how much it hurts.

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