Are You Willing to Reveal Your Wounds So That You Can Heal?

The decision to reveal that which has been hidden is probably one of the most difficult decisions that a person can make.

There can be “perceived comfort” in secrets, pretending that something or someone does not exist, or that you have “gotten over” a past hurt or traumatic event.

The reality is that wounds, especially those that are hidden, have a tendency to get infected if left untreated. Wounds also tend to reopen and bleed if they become irritated by other things.

The wounds I am talking about are not the wounds that you get from falling off your bike or tripping at the playground, but those wounds caused by trauma including abuse, neglect, grief and loss.

It wasn’t until I decided to reveal my own wounds and openly talk about and deal with the areas of my life that were bleeding or infected that I was able to begin my journey towards not only healing but thriving and living with intention and purpose.

Are you willing to reveal your wounds so that you can heal? 

The truth of the matter is that you may be unaware that you have experienced trauma; traumatic experiences are often normalized.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) describes individual trauma as resulting from “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”

While there are many forms of trauma, trauma is commonly divided into three different categories:

  • Acute trauma is intense stress that is experienced immediately after a one-time event such as a car accident, assault, death of a loved one.
  • Chronic trauma is distress experienced from harmful events that are repeated or ongoing such as persistent neglect, sexual, emotional, or physical abuse, domestic violence — experienced and/or witnessed, and bullying.
  • Complex trauma arises from prolonged exposure to varied or multiple events, often severe in nature where the individual feels trapped and lacks the ability to escape. Complex trauma can also be a combination of several types of trauma.

My Journey to Healing

When I started my journey to healing, the hardest part was realizing the gravity of the trauma that I had experienced when I was young. Later, I learned that those traumatic experiences were adverse childhood experiences.

What are adverse childhood experiences?

Adverse childhood experiences or ACEs “refers to a range of negative situations a child may face or witness while growing up. These experiences include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; emotional or physical neglect; parental separation or divorce; or living in a household in which domestic violence occurs. Other difficult situations include living in a household with an alcoholic or substance-abuser, or with family members who suffer mental disorders, or in a household with an incarcerated family member,” according to PsychologyToday.com.

ACEs can impact brain development, change the way the body responds to stress and is linked to chronic health problems, mental health issues, as well as substance abuse. In addition, failure to address ACEs can have a negative impact on relationships, education and career potential.

Sadly, when I completed the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire, a 10-item questionnaire used to measure childhood trauma, I had an amazingly high score of 8. I could only answer no to two questions on the questionnaire.

Seeing My Trauma in Black and White

Seeing my trauma in black and white revealed the wounds that I had tried to hide most of my life. It also explained distorted thinking and unhealthy behavior patterns that were signs of “infection” and “bleeding” in many areas of my life. It also explained wounds that reopened, bled and even became infected when irritated by other traumatic events in my adult life.

When I sought help, revealed my wounds, and applied the necessary treatment, the infection and the bleeding slowly went away. That is not to say that I don’t still have wounds; I do. However, because I sought help to deal with my trauma in a healthy way, I have developed effective coping skills and strategies to navigate effectively through life. I am able to think, feel and act in healthy ways in all aspects of my life. I am not perfect, but I am able to think, feel and act from a place of health; not hurt.

If you have suffered trauma and have hidden your wounds, I challenge you to seek help, reveal your wounds so you can stop the areas of your life that are bleeding and/or infected and start to heal.

Use Your Trauma as a Motivational Force

Trauma can be the driving and motivational force in your life to be the best you can be in every aspect of your life. I have found that trauma produces a resilience and a strength that gives you the amazing ability to overcome any obstacle and bounce back from the greatest challenges.

Don’t’ be afraid to reveal your wounds so that you can heal. You have the resilience and the strength to not only heal but also thrive in every area of your life.

Are you willing to reveal your wounds so that you can heal?

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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