Everyone’s healing journey is different. People also tend to define healing differently. To me, healing means becoming whole again from a physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual perspective. That’s not to say anyone is broken. We all have experiences in life that challenge us, and over time, we may notice a gradual reluctance to feel our emotions and be present in our bodies.
Healing is not an overnight job
In my books, healing is an ongoing process. Regardless of the work and modalities I have and will engage in, I’m not anticipating a sudden realisation that ‘I’m done baking.’ I see healing as an unfolding, and what I have noticed in my own journey is that as particular ‘challenges’ metabolise, new explorations surface. For example, I struggled with my gut for several years. Thankfully, my stomach has finally settled down, but I have noticed my daily anxiety has increased. Of course, that could also be situational (I am going through a big life transition), but I have noticed feeling ‘on edge’ far more often.
How do I know if I am healing?
This is a question we all inevitably ask ourselves at some point or several points in our journey. Everyone’s experience is different, but I have noticed patterns from my own lived experience, working with clients and in the embodied processing student community. Embodied processing is a body-based approach to working with trauma. I am a certified Embodied Processing Practitioner.
Before I continue…
I am not a doctor, therapist or any other health care provider. I am someone with lived experience (no need to go into the specifics here – I share more in my course) who has used writing to navigate my way out of several sticky situations in life. I’m also an avid learner and have engaged in extensive healing, study, exploration and personal development work. As a certified Embodied Processing Practitioner, I’ve learned what trauma is and the different types of trauma. I’ve woven embodied processing practices into my writing work and have extensively used the tools and techniques on myself.
5 clues that indicate you may be healing
Reduced physical symptoms
This elicits a big ‘hooray!’ for anyone who has ever struggled with physical symptoms without any apparent reason from a Western medical perspective (I am speaking from experience here). Trauma is stored in the physical body, and over time, this may result in chronic physical symptoms that have no apparent clear cause. As we learn to be in our body more and that ongoing tension lessons, it’s possible to experience fewer trauma-related physical complaints.
Increased emotional resilience
This is a significant factor for me. I’d always celebrated the fact I was never really all that expressive. To the outside world, I looked like someone who was always calm and didn’t feel much. In reality, I was shut down. Being stuck in fight, flight, freeze or fawn mode is no fun. When we start healing, we’re better able to express ourselves and are better equipped to handle stress and emotional challenges. What I have noticed most in the last 12 months is that I have an increased ability to bounce back from perceived setbacks.
Better coping strategies
The more you look into healing and trauma, the more you realise addiction is everywhere. We tend to look at addiction through the lens of illegal drugs, alcohol, gambling and other perceived ‘negative’ behaviours. However, we are all addicted to something. Anything we chronically rely on to self-regulate our nervous system is a form of addiction. So, even ‘healthy’ habits like exercise, meditation and healthy eating can spiral out of control. Of course, some vices are more harmful overall, so developing more constructive coping mechanisms is ideal.
The ability to trust in others
This was another big one for me. I used to think I could get through life all on my own. Hyper-independence is a trauma symptom. The more trauma-related theory I’ve learned and inner work I’ve engaged in, the more I realise we are social beings designed to live in connection rather than isolation. I also figured out that my apparent inability to trust others stemmed from my lack of self-trust. I have to trust myself enough to form meaningful connections with those who will be there through life’s ups and downs. Being open to developing relationships was a slow process for me, and I am still very much a work in progress.
I am 36. I’ve made some royally bad mistakes in my life. The kind that sometimes makes me wish the world could open and swallow me up. Mistakes, bad decisions, blindspots… whatever you want to call them, are all part of life. Being gentler and kinder to ourselves is important. Realising we are flawed and will make even more mistakes in the future (it’s inevitable) is an important part of healing. As is letting go of the notion of perfection (also known as setting yourself up for failure).
Healing from trauma is a personal and non-linear process. The signs listed above are not an endless list. I encourage you to seek professional support and guidance to continue your healing journey. Look for someone who can hold a safe space for you to feel and express whatever you need to.
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