“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” ― Rose Kennedy
Time heals they say and I have to say I agree only to a certain point. Time allows a person to process the pain, the hurt and grow through it. I don’t believe anyone “gets over” intensely difficult times. I don’t believe it helps when someone says, there are starving people in Africa…that sure does not heal any wound but adds guilt and shame for feeling the way you do. Okay, enough with what I don’t believe as this post is getting to be a bit negative and that was not my goal.
Moving right along on the word at hand here on my stream of consciousness, “heal”, let’s look at what that means. We can heal from many diseases, illnesses and yes many mental illnesses as well. Perhaps I will delve more into the latter. Since we are nearing the Bell Let’s Talk day soon to remove the stigma of mental health, it may be an appropriate time to discuss this.
So many people still today are not comfortable with the phrase “mental illness”. I am well aware of that when I speak to youths at work. I say mental wellness, emotional illness, mental health and a new one that is more positive “mental ill-health”. Why all the fuss for Pete sakes? Well, if you have ever suffered from a mental illness or are being treated for some form of mental illness, you know darn well why we are sugar coating it …to make it enticing. We need to add lovely superlatives to entice the non-believers and especially to lure mentally ill persons who are not getting treatment so they can finally recover from their illness. Mental illness can be treated and yes, many can be “healed”…recover .
So much is still misunderstood even by many professionals. I remember going to a lecture at the Douglas Hospital a few years ago and the topic was Schizophrenia. A guest speaker was a person who took years of misdiagnosis year after year after year of her condition…until finally she had a serious episode of psychosis and another doctor diagnosed her with Schizophrenia. I won’t go into the details and yes, I realize not all people affected with this illness can recover completely, but they can live healthy lives with proper treatment. This speaker was sharing her experience and told us she no longer had to take medication. I was shocked. I thought it was not possible.
I later spoke to a brilliant professor from Queens University in Kingston on the train to Toronto several years ago. I was going to Toronto for a job interview related to Bell Mental Health project. I told her about this woman who spoke at the lecture and added how rare this must be. She shook her head and said, “Actually it is not as rare as you think.” Well, there you go…another condition that can be treated and some may even recover…be healed.
Depression is one mental illness that I hear about day after day. So many youths are afraid to reach out for fear of being labeled. Many times they don’t want to worry their family and friends. I hear this so often from youths and what breaks my heart is when some parents tell their teens they will outgrow it…it will go away like it came…it is part of being a teen. Really? They will outgrow feeling sad when it lasts months and years? Some don’t get help for they are not permitted to get treatment because some adults/parents believe there is no such thing as mental illness such as depression. “Just stop feeling for yourself and get over it.” Yes, we do hear that again and again.
Recently I heard someone say that psychologists and psychiatrists are just out there to invent illnesses to make money. I suppose many do believe this.
Lastly I would like to talk about grief for a moment. I often say that Grief is a necessary depression only it is time that alleviates the pain. Grief and loss are difficult events in a person’s life and they are not easy to process especially when you don’t know too much about it. A teen is grieving the loss of a boyfriend for example…that is a huge loss and it hurts A LOT for a while. It feels like your heart is literally broken and science has proven that parts of the brain are triggered in the same areas where you feel pain. So yes, grief and loss hurt a lot.
Do you heal from such losses? I believe it hurts less and less each day and in time, in your own time, you learn to move on despite that loss. A wound is healed but you are left with a scar…there that sounds better. Scars are reminders of past hurts…not to feel sorry for yourself but to be reminded of what was, what you learned and how you grew through those difficult times. Soldiers have scars when they come back from battle…well, yes, I realize they have huge emotional scars too but here, I am referring to the physical scars. They are somewhat like a badge of honour for the bravery they had to go to battle and fight for their country. So if you finally “heal” from a loss, depression, a difficult patch in your life, any other emotional mayhems you have experienced, your wound will heal and a leave a scar. Wear it with pride for the courage you had to survive that ordeal as well as reach out to get support to get through it.
I have a tiny scar on my right shoulder that is barely noticeable. It is from sailing when I was doing trapeze on our catamaran. I feel pretty good when I share that story and carry that shiny scar with pride.
Healing is a process…not everyone has the same time clock but you still get there eventually.
© Cheryl-Lynn ’15/01/17