Time Heals All Wounds – Or Does It?
By Marie Miguel
Updated December 19, 2018
Reviewer Cessel Boyd
We have all heard the "time heals all wounds" quote. Of course, this refers to emotional wounds rather than physical wounds. Family and friends often tell us: "Just give it time, it will all get better in time." Many of us have been in that horrible, dark place of pain, with well-meaning people telling us that all we need is time, praying for enough time to pass for us to slowly begin to heal and to feel normal again, wondering if we will ever truly recover.
The promise that in time our pain, sadness, anger, and fear will fade away gives us hope, and it's all we have to cling onto in those murky times desperately. All you want is to feel 'fine' again, to feel normal, yet it's so difficult to imagine a time when you will. And how long is 'time'? How long will it take for your wounds to heal? Months, years, or decades? No one can tell us the answer to that, unfortunately.
Time changes our perceptions
For many people, one of the first times we are told to "just give it time - you'll feel better in time" is in our teenage years when our first ever relationship ends, and we lose our first love. At the time it feels as though your whole world has come crashing down. It's a whirlwind of tears, pain, and regret; hours spent mourning over the time and emotions you have invested in your failed relationship. You feel like you will never, ever meet somebody else. Parents and friends come in with their advice - "it feels awful now, but it will get better in time." And you're not sure whether to believe them or not. Your wound may start to heal, yet at some point in time, it may be reopened when you hear that your ex-lover has a new partner. Then the painful grieving process begins again.
However, over time our perception of that relationship changes. We eventually realized that while it was a time in our lives that we enjoyed, it's over, and it just wasn't meant to be. There's a whole world of people and experiences waiting out there for us. In time you'll move on, meet somebody else, and you will even be happy with your ex and their new partner. That's one great thing about time - it can change our perceptions from negative to positive, which in some cases can ease the pain and heal the wound completely.
Will some wounds never fully heal?
Unfortunately, many people are living with emotional wounds from years and years ago. These people are amongst those who argue that time does not heal all wounds. We are forced to acknowledge and accept that terrible events occur in life. Abuse, illness, divorce, and death of loved ones, to name but a few. The wounds left by these occurrences are often so deep that they cannot heal without leaving a scar. Parents who have lost their children would most likely not appreciate someone telling them to "just give it time." Neither would somebody who has gone through significant abuse or a horrible attack. Many of these people will have to live with their pain every single day for the rest of their lives.
Rose Kennedy quoted: "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". Many believe that the wounds of those who have experienced significant trauma will never truly heal. The best they can hope for is that with time they will gain some distance from the initial raw pain. They will learn to search for other reasons to be happy again and fulfill their other roles in life. In this respect, time can help to heal the wound to an extent, but the scars will never fade.
Unfortunately, many wounds do not heal correctly. In some cases, trauma can lead to long-term mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This can happen for some reasons, such as a predisposition to mental illness or the wound not being treated effectively. Because although time can assist with healing, it takes other factors too. In instances where trauma leads to severe long-term mental health issues, time can no longer help, and may, in fact, have the opposite effect of gradually worsening the wound.
How to help your wounds to heal over time
One thing we can say for sure about loss and trauma is that people deal with it in very different ways. Lena Horse says "it's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." Some people threw themselves into whatever they can to keep themselves busy and distracted while others are led into a deep depression, to give just two of many examples. Many people believe that they are doing their best to deal with the pain while others are simply in despair, understandably.
However, those who try too hard to keep busy may find that they have not given themselves adequate time to grieve or come to terms with what has happened. Those who fall into a dark pit of depression and helplessness are often not healing at all. Given these examples, time does not heal all wounds. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that it is not time alone which heals, it is how one uses time because both recovery and grief are active processes rather than passive ones. It is difficult to tell someone exactly how they should be using that time, and it differs from person to person. It is important to mourn and grieve, yet it is important to find joy in other aspects of life. It can be such a difficult time for many who simply do not know how to cope with the deep emotional wounds they have gained possibly.
In many situations, forgiveness, rather than time, is the key to healing your wounds. We've all been hurt by another person at some time or another - we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt or sometimes worse. This pain is completely normal, however, sometimes it lingers and starts to take a toll on our lives as we relive it over and over. This can put a strain on other aspects of our lives such as family, work, and relationships. It can lead to us missing out on what's going on right in front of us.
It is important to acknowledge that forgiveness does not mean erasing the past, or that the person we are forgiving has changed as we have no control over that. Nor does it mean forgetting what has happened. It simply means that you are letting go of anger and pain and moving onto a better place. Forgiveness is something you must do for yourself, rather than for the person who hurt you because you deserve to be happy. Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done when the wounds are deep.
The most important thing for people with emotional wounds to know is that they are not alone. Even in the darkest of times, professional help can be extremely beneficial, if not necessary to lead a normal, happy life again. If you or somebody you know is struggling to cope with trauma, loss or other life complications, it is important to do whatever it takes to feel better. For example, Better Help is an online counseling platform which aims to overcome barriers which may be preventing people from receiving the help they require.
They do this by providing easy, affordable and discreet access to licensed therapists anytime, anywhere. Subscribers receive professional counseling via a computer, tablet or mobile phone making it much easier to access help. Better Help has assisted over 200,000 people so far and received glowing reviews from subscribers who have experienced huge improvements as a result. Licensed, trained, experienced counselors, specialize in different areas to ensure that all subscribers can be matched to a highly qualified professional who fits your requirements. Find out more here: https://www.betterhelp.com/start/.
If you are struggling to cope with emotional wounds, however deep, you owe it to yourself to do whatever it takes to feel better. Even if you believe that time will heal, it can be an incredibly difficult period of adjustment and professional help can have many benefits during this time. If somebody who you know is struggling to deal with their emotional wounds, it is normal for you to be concerned. In some cases being there for them can be enough, however, if this does not calm your concerns, then it may be best to encourage them to seek professional help gently. As this article has concluded, time can assist in healing wounds but only if used correctly, and help IS available for all who require it.