Time Heals All Wounds – Or Does It?
By: Darby Faubion
Updated November 15, 2019
Medically Reviewed By: Cessel Boyd
Being wounded or hurt can be a very emotional time in a person's life. The uncertainty that comes along with a painful event often leaves one wondering if the ache will ever end. Have you been there?
No doubt, we have all heard the saying, "Time heals all wounds." While the intentions of the person saying it are usually good, it's not always easy to grasp the idea that healing can take place; often, the heartache of the moment weighs so heavily upon us that we cannot see past the pain.
A person who has been wounded can experience many emotions. Depending on the circumstances, one may feel anger or frustration, and sadness or depression may also be present. The amount of time it takes to heal depends on the complexity of an individual's experience and circumstance, as well as the presence of effective coping mechanisms.
It's OK to feel hurt. It is even OK to feel angry. However, learning to live through the pain of a wounding experience is important to re-establish balance in your life. Understanding how to identify your feelings and address the situation will help you begin to heal.
Balance, What's That?
Being wounded seems to throw things off kilter. It can leave you feeling like the world is moving in a fast-paced blur while you are frozen in disbelief. It's not uncommon for someone who has been wounded to say, "I just want to feel normal again." In fact, it's a very common response. Even though being hurt can make you feel lonely, you are not alone!
Emotional responses to being wounded are often complex, and like peeling an onion, they may have to be addressed one layer at a time. Even in the most painful times, the times when a wound is fresh and seems unbearable, there is a way to begin finding balance.
Identifying the Source of the Wound
For some, the source of feeling wounded is obvious. Others, however, may have experienced one or more things over the course of life that left them feeling hurt and wounded. Whether it's a cheating spouse, the loss of a loved one, or another traumatic event, the pain is very real. Take the time to think about the events in your life that have led you to feel wounded. Identifying the source of the pain will help you as you begin the journey of healing.
The Effects of Time on Healing
When you are in the middle of a painful event, being told to "Just give it time" or "Time will make it better" may add stress to your already wounded feelings. For some, healing comes in stages. Some of those stages take longer than others. One of the most frustrating things for someone who has been wounded is when others imply that we all fit into a "cookie cutter" mold of healing. We don't. Everyone responds differently to pain and heartache. The important thing is that you respond. Unresolved pain can lead to difficulties later and may worsen over time.
When you experience an event that wounds you, the idea that you can one day move past the pain or sadness is a hopeful thought. Wanting to feel normal again is natural. While time may not necessarily "heal" all wounds, it does give you an opportunity to process your feelings. With time, the perception of pain can be altered. This is an important part of healing.
Just how much time does it take to begin feeling better? Unfortunately, there is no exact answer to this question and no formula we can give you to determine how long you will feel this way. We all process thoughts and feelings differently.
Why Does It Hurt So Much?
If you have ever been wounded by a person or event, you may have wondered why it was so painful. Human beings are emotional creatures. Almost everything we do is connected to our emotions. Whether it's the memory of a time with a lost loved one that we try to relive in our minds or the smell of a pie baking in the oven that causes us to remember a time we enjoyed it with someone else, anything that can be related to an experience is something that sparks emotion within us.
When we are hurt, our emotions seem to be on "high alert." To begin healing, it's necessary to think about the situation and why it may be causing so much pain.
Consider these things:
- Was the cause of your wound something foreseeable? If you have experienced something that has left you wounded and you think you could have prevented it, the pain you are dealing with could be coupled with guilt. It's important to remind yourself that whatever happened, you cannot change the past. Don't live in it and blame yourself. Healing begins by acknowledging what happened and letting go.
- Is the person (or situation) that caused your wound still present in your life? Relationships that have caused you pain, which are not mended or ended, can have the emotional effect much like that of a festering sore. The source of the wound must be identified and addressed. If your spouse or significant other has said or done something to hurt you, ignoring it does not make the pain go away. Talking out the situation and discussing your feelings will help you determine if this is something you can recover from and stay together OR if you need to end the relationship so that you can heal and move on to a more healthy life.
- Have you lost something that is irreplaceable? One of the most painful wounds is the wound that death leaves behind. Whether the death was sudden or the result of a long-term illness, it doesn't change the fact that we have lost someone we love. Healing the wound caused by the loss of life is often difficult because the lost loved one cannot be replaced. However, this does not mean that you cannot live your life and honor that person's memory.
How Can My Wounds Heal?
While healing of any kind does take time, sometimes the process requires more than patiently waiting. If you have experienced a wound or traumatic event, it's okay to reach out for help. In fact, you may find that reaching out to others will open the floodgates of emotion and allow healing to flow in.
Let the Healing Begin
Many people find it difficult to let go of the source of their trauma or pain. For some, it is a reminder of things lost, and they feel that letting go of the pain will make what they lost fade or seem to have never existed. While this thinking is understandable, it is not true.
There are ways to get help. The world of technology in which we live offers many sources at the touch of your fingers. In fact, there are several apps that can be downloaded to your phone or tablet that offer ways to cope with emotional issues.
- What's Up is a free app that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy methods to help individuals cope with depression, anxiety, stress, and more. It has a positive and negative habit tracker to help you see what your habits are and to encourage breaking habits that are counterproductive. With the proper help, you can learn ways to process the pain from being wounded, while learning to appreciate the good that happened.
- Mind Shift is designed specifically for teens and young adults with anxiety. It stresses the importance of changing how one thinks about anxiety.
- IMoodJournal is part journal/part mood tracker. It can be used to track a variety of things, such as your mood, sleep patterns, medications, and energy cycles. This app is designed to help you monitor your daily feelings by using charts that indicate where and when stress levels rise and fall.
When You Need More Than an App
While apps are great tools, if you feel overwhelmed, seeking the help of a professional counselor could be beneficial. Your family doctor can offer recommendations and/or referrals, if needed.
For those who would like to talk to someone, but have time and/or financial constraints, online counseling, such as that offered by BetterHelp, is an excellent option. BetterHelp offers access to licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC). Our mission is to make professional counseling accessible and affordable. The platform is completely anonymous, and you may access it from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection). Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
"Neville has been there for me, understanding me, guiding me, helping me see things through. His kind language, thoughtful approaches to issues, and professional advice has been the help I have been needing to go through a very difficult grievance process that I have been suffering from for a very long time."
"Sarah is a kind person that listens intently, focuses on issues, and then helps find successful strategies to deal with those issues. Never once did I feel that she was judging me or talking down to me. She was easy for me to open up too, she was professional, and she took me seriously. Together we discussed issues of loss and grief from the passing of my father, which had become more than I could handle alone. She not only validated my feelings of loss, but she also helped me find ways to mitigate those feelings, break them down into their roots and causes then address those. Coping with grief and loss is hard work, but Sarah helped me find the tools I needed within myself to do that hard work and ultimately find success. I am a stronger person now. I am happy and confident. I may not know what is around the next corner, but I know that whatever it is, I can handle it."
Does time heal all wounds? Sometimes- but not always. One thing that is certain is that, with the proper help and encouragement, healing can begin. Whether you are suffering from the loss of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or another traumatic event, taking the time to heal is important. Also, seeking the right help for you can make a huge difference in your journey to well-being. Take the first step today.