I’ve sat in dozens of therapist’s offices, swapped out different medications since the age of eight, exercised excessively, meditated profusely, and still couldn’t understand why I wasn’t reaching my desired feeling of connection and community. It wasn’t until recently that I had a moment of clarity. I want to share my thoughts on this as I believe I’m not the only one asking how long does it take to heal.
I deny myself space to create. Not for fear of it failing, but the fear of it being felt in the way I felt creating it. “If I don’t write, I don’t have the anxiety of the creation’s existence and others’ criticism of it.” Simple, I thought. So instead of building toward my core desires of connection and community, I would find every excuse I could to justify that fear by staying stagnant: Be humble. Stay in your lane. Do something productive. Read more. You don’t know enough. It’s too emotional. Niche. Veteran. Queer. Me.
I had to sit with that. I realized it wasn’t the work I was afraid of others enjoying, it was me. Moments like this have made me realize that I was repeating the same cycle of traumatic responses that began in childhood. When I was a child, I had to perform love to feel seen. I didn’t understand that my caregiver(s) were processing every moment as a reaction to pain themselves, trapped in their own struggles and devices. How could I?
When everyone around you is in a state of fear, there becomes a love deficit. We were too far from understanding that we, ourselves, are love. I would act out to get attention in any form I could, typically with unpleasant results. The one pleasant result was from writing. That became my pathway to love.
I still have days when I struggle loving myself. I think we all do. I’m not used to feeling love for myself and I’ve lost many friends because of my own uncomfortability and lack of communication to let them know. But once I understood that my fear of creating was rooted in my fear of being loved, I began to heal.
I set my intention for healing. But since I’ve never worked on my inner self before, I’d exhaust myself by overexerting in creative ventures, then have periods where I would avoid anything creative. There was no balance because it was still coming from a need of external validation.
I had to sit with the awareness longer. I didn’t understand it then, but I know now that healing was the intention I needed to focus on. Eventually, that awareness created space for me to use the platform of writing to heal.
In that time since allowing myself time to write every day, I’ve finished my first feature script. There were periods I completely stopped writing, but I came back to it because I wanted nothing more than to finish the story. That healing led to others workshopping the script, including entertainment agents.
The fear persists with every single step. Sending it to them made me nauseous. Talking about it made me feel unworthy. But you know what? I sat with the feeling and persisted. It wasn’t fear they wouldn’t like it, it was fear of what happens if they do?
I’m starting to overcome the challenges trauma has created for me at 28 years old. I’ve found healing in forgiveness of others. I’ve learned to trace my fears to their root and sit with ways I can stop reacting to them. What triggers us doesn’t have to control us. Our triggers inform us of how the universe reflects back our greatest fears.
It all begins with awareness. It heals with persistence. It’s cured when you face it and push through, even when it feels insurmountable. Another word for that? Courage. So, how long does it take to heal? A lifetime. Not in the vein of forever, but until this very moment. There is only a journey with healing, as we will always be challenged. The destination is physical death. If we are lucky enough, we may even die before we die, and then truly live. In other words, we can grow beyond our fears and live a life fulfilled.
That’s what it feels like to heal.