“Time doesn’t. All that Time does is make it more distant, put more space between you and what happened. It doesn’t heal anything. I don’t know how or what does the healing, but it isn’t Time.” ~ Mercedes Lackey
Many people say that time is a great healer, but I’ve learned the hard way that isn’t actually the case. In fact if you’re going to rely on time to heal things all you’re likely to do is make them worse. Because all time does is create enough distance between you and whatever it is you don’t want to deal with to allow you to forget about it and pretend it’s not there.
You can’t move on this way.
In order to heal, or to fix things, you have to face the problem head on and deal with it.
Time won’t do that for you. You can wait for the next ten years for time to take over and clean up the mess, it won’t happen. When you eventually go back to that place you’ve avoided you’ll find it more or less the same as you left it.
Only now it might be harder to sort out. Issues, or people, may have hardened over time. You may have forgotten how things were meant to be to begin with, or lost the knowledge or skill you once might have had to put them right.
You will have to learn how to deal with the situation or finally sweep it away and put it to rest completely.
Linear time is much like geography in that way.
It’s like robbing a bank because you’re broke, running over a pedestrian in your haste to get away, and then running away to Rio to avoid incarceration. Sure, your problem is now half the world away. But the pedestrian is still dead, everyone you know and love is now under surveillance so you can’t contact them, and you can’t return to your own country without facing up to the consequences of your actions. The distance hasn’t resolved any of the problems you’ve just created for yourself, only put them on ice for a while.
And you might be perfectly content with that scenario.
The pleasures of living it up in paradise on the spoils of your stolen money might outweigh the inconveniences of a life on the run and the knowledge that nobody with any sense will ever trust you again.
But it isn’t for most people, or else more of them would be doing it.
This premise is particularly important to understand in healing from something that has caused you trauma. Because the longer you take to face up to it, the harder it is to make it go away.
It’s easier to heal by leaning into your feelings, acknowledging them, processing them, going through the stages of grief; than it is to find that six months down the line you’re having panic attacks for no reason that you can see, because your subconscious is making links between that thing you won’t let yourself think about and anything that has even the most tenuous connection to it.
Or to wait ten years, only to realise you find it impossible to let anybody in because you’ve built walls so high to protect yourself from something that’s already inside that most people can barely even see you.
Which isn’t the same as to say that things don’t take time to heal.
Sometimes we need to take the time to learn new skills or strategies to deal with what’s hurt us before the dealing process can begin.
Sometimes the thing that has happened to us, and the pain we feel because of it, is too overwhelming to be dealt with all in one go. We have to process it in stages, break the operation down into manageable chunks with time to regroup in between.
It certainly takes time to rebuild relationships, particularly where trust has been broken. Or to forge new, healthier ones.
You can expect time to be involved. It just won’t be doing any of the work for you. The actual healing part you have to do yourself.