A wound is an injury that is caused by external forces as opposed to disease. Wikipedia distinguishes between open wounds, caused by tearing or puncturing, and closed wounds, or contusions, which occur due to blunt force trauma. Wounds are usually visible and always painful, although pain levels vary with the impact of the external force, the depth of the wound, and the wounded person's pain threshold.
A few weeks ago, I heard someone say that wounds are unable to heal if they are covered up. He said that they must be exposed to air in order to heal faster. I don't know if that's always the case, but I understood what he meant.
This year has not begun the way most people hope a new year would. I don't want to go into details, but this year so far has involved the loss of an innocent life, family illness, rejection, and a lot of stress. After the loss my family experienced, I took a few days to myself, stayed home and rejected invitations to socialize. I did little more than talk to my family, make plans to return home for the service, sleep, and of course, cry. I went to work, but I wasn't there. I was not present. As a counselor, it is of utmost importance to be present for your clients or students. While I was able to do my job competently, I wasn't doing it with the passion my students expect from me. However, that doesn't stop people from demanding what they usually expect from you. The pain that I was experiencing was irrelevant to those around me, mostly because they didn't know about my pain, but also because whatever they were experiencing and needing help with was foremost in their minds. And while I continued to attempt to help others, covering my personal wounds, underneath there was festering an infection of sorts.
Personal pain seems to cause a shock to the system. It's like time freezes for you while it moves along for others. You are stuck in a world that no one seems to understand. In those moments, you feel most alone. Time continues, and people will want to continue with it, but inside, you are screaming for it to STOP. For me, the mere fact that people wanted my help while I was in a cocoon of pain felt like an imposition. I just wanted to tell everyone to LEAVE ME ALONE. I started seeing the people around me as insensitive and demanding. I felt knots in my stomach every time I had to go to work. It eventually became too much, and I blew up. No band-aid or gauze could hide my pain any longer.
The problem with wounds is that we barely address them directly. We cover them so that we don't have to look at how ugly they are. We don't want to see the bleeding because it's too scary for most of us. We stop using the part that's wounded and rely on other parts of ourselves to function. The wounded part of ourselves becomes weaker when we don't use it. We become more fearful of utilizing parts of ourselves that have been wounded, afraid that the area is so vulnerable that it will become wounded again. Every time I discussed what made me blow up, it was unrelated to my actual wound, but somehow, the thing that caused me pain kept coming up. My wound was calling for me to address it directly.
There is a time to cover our wounds; when that external force first impacts us and we are reeling in pain, we should probably retreat. But there comes a time when the wound needs to be uncovered in order for us to heal.
For the first time in many, many years, I asked a friend for the name of a counselor. I have the information, but I haven't used it yet. The wounds are still too fresh. I know, though, that as I desire to heal and move forward, I must uncover my wounds and address them directly. While the thought of baring all - the open, bleeding, and painful - scares me, I find it more frightening to imagine what life would be like if I keep my wounds covered forever. So I will expose them, not only for me, but for those around me who need me to be the open, loving, caring person I had been before I was wounded.