Healing Is Not Linear

If you’re going through a major loss or trauma (or both, in my case), the healing process unfortunately is not a linear one. I’m going to go with a “nerdy” analogy here and compare it to The Lord of the Rings movies. Parts of their journey include safe, cheerful moments. Other parts are intense and they could lose their battle at any given moment. The path to healing is similar. Death and/or physical harm are less likely, of course, but the analogy still works.

I have been putting a ton of time, energy, and effort into battling my grief and PTSD. I heal and cope in the ways that are considered healthy. I go to therapy, I journal, I practice self care, I meditate, I do yoga when I can muster up the will, I spend time in nature, I allow myself time and space to feel the feelings and digest them, I avoid alcohol, I take my meds consistently, I socialize, I reach out and ask for help when I am struggling.  But I still experience major setbacks sometimes.

Yesterday was the 16 month mark of losing my beloved Matthew. And I experienced such intense grief, I felt like I had when he first died, except now I live in a studio by myself with the majority of my family living along the West Coast, and I am in the Midwest. So it almost amplified the loss. I was grieving Matt, my old life, my old future prospects, everything. And I was left to do most of this grieving on my own which honestly I am not entirely used to. I am still adapting to living alone, and it’s not been graceful per the norm. I am an adaptable person, I am just not graceful about it.

These setbacks can be really challenging. Within your own mind, you feel like a prisoner and that your life is always going to be this acute, intense pain. You become convinced that you’re going to be this miserable forever, and it becomes really daunting and you almost wish for a short life so as to minimize the hurt. And your friends and family will have the automatic reflex to say things like, “You’ve been doing so well, what happened?” which is an incredibly human response, but ultimately I feel like I have let people down or failed when this happens. But really, this is exactly how both grief and PTSD function. There are setbacks. It is not a linear healing process. It is not an obvious 5 stages of grief and then you’re done, all better! There are triggers, anniversaries, or days where you just can’t keep the negativity or pain at bay. Grief and PTSD demand to be heard.

I have made tremendous strides in my healing, but lately it’s been very challenging for me to see the progress because my PTSD has been acting up. And I am often filled with fear that I will never be fully functional ever again. I hope and pray that isn’t the case, and I am going to do everything I can to keep pushing and healing. I refuse to let this ruin me. I have a life full of so much potential and so many things that I enjoy and love and want to pursue further. I am going to keep doing what I can to heal, and allow more space in my life and heart for the happy moments and I hope to keep the trauma and pain further and further into the back of my mind. I so badly want to reclaim my life back for myself.

2 thoughts on “Healing Is Not Linear

  1. Ya know, this was the first month in which the 5th didn’t decapitate me. Granted, J’s 30th birthday was the Friday prior and that about buried me in grief. I can totally relate to the non-linear healing process, among also the inability to see progress. Fact is, look at all you’ve accomplished. You are doin’ the damn thing, one day at a time! Widow Power. ❤


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