Have you ever got a scratch or a sore, slapped a Band-Aid on it, went on about your day, only to realize later that the wound was much deeper than you initially thought it was? Or… have you ever had a sore you knew was serious but didn’t have (or simply didn’t take) the time to properly treat it so you slapped a Band-Aid on it, went about your day, only to end up with a sore that was much worse than before? I can answer yes to both of those questions. And for both scenarios, I can’t help but think that if I had only taken the time to treat my wounds when they occurred, I could have avoided the unnecessary and painful process of now having to treat an infection.
As a Medical Assisting Instructor, one of the lessons I teach to my students is the process a wound has to go through before it is completely healed. There are 3 phases:
Phase 1 is what’s called the Lag Phase. This is the phase that begins immediately after the wound occurs. Whenever there’s a breaking of our skin, we have tiny blood vessels called ‘platelets’ that begin to form a plug to stop the bleeding. A scab may eventually form, which many people are tempted to pick. Please be careful picking it, though, as this may reopen the wound causing it to bleed out again, prolonging moving on to the next phase.
Phase 2 is referred to as Proliferation. This is the phase in which the tissue around the wound begins to repair itself. There may still be a scab or visible scar. Again, it may be tempting to pick. Although picking it during this phase may not cause the wound to bleed out, it can still prolong moving onto the next phase.
Phase 3 is Remodeling. This is the final phase in which collagen (the protein that provides structure to our skin) completely closes the wound. In most cases, there will be some kind of mark, a reminder that there was once a wound. And in some cases, the skin repairs itself so well that you’d never know there was a wound.
I share those phases only to give you insight about the process a wound has to go through before it is completely healed. In order to reach phase 3, it must first go through phases 1 and 2. Depending on the type of wound and how deep it is, phase 1 may last for days; phases 2 and 3 can last days, months, or even years. This same thing can be said for emotional wounds. The thing about emotional wounds, though, is that they are not visible like the physical wounds I described above. While the effects of emotional wounds can be visualized by a person’s actions, attitude, or demeanor, we cannot actually see emotional wounds with our eyes. In fact, for many people, it takes certain events to take place for them to realize they even have emotional wounds. This is why emotional wounds are so easy to cover up. Here are 3 ways we cover our emotional wounds with metaphoric “Band-Aids”:
We pretend it doesn’t hurt.
“I’m okay.” Sound familiar? You tell yourself you’re fine in hopes of eventually being fine. But, what has ever gone away simply because you pretended it wasn’t there? Please let me know below in the comments. This morning I swept up some dirt that was in my kitchen. Trust me, I wanted to pretend it wasn’t there. But every time I went into the kitchen, I was reminded the dirt was there. How was I reminded? I could see it. Whether it’s something you see, feel, or hear, there will always be something to remind you that that pain is still there. You may be saying, “I just want to move on.” And I get it. But moving on is going to involve addressing the pain. We can’t fix what we don’t address.
We avoid talking about what hurts.
Many people avoid talking about what hurts them. Some even hide behind being “nonconfrontational”. “I don’t like to argue.” This happens often in relationships. One may feel they’re helping their relationship by not “arguing”, not realizing that the building resentment is actually harming the relationship as they harbor negative feelings. Harboring negative feelings toward a person for too long can eventually cause you to emotionally detach from them. We must communicate and resist the temptation to sweep it under a rug, make up, and act like what they did or said did not hurt.
We consciously avoid addressing the pain.
Many of us feel we can’t take the pain of addressing what hurts. I can relate to this all too well. For years, I put a traumatic experience in the back of my mind because every time I thought about it, it hurt. What I didn’t realize was that that going through that pain was inevitable and necessary. It had to hurt before it felt better. The question I had to ask myself was if I wanted to address my wounds now or if I wanted to let them fester and address later? Just like with a physical wound, prolonging treatment will prolong healing.
Recently my friend told me how her son injured his toe and was in a lot of pain, but he was afraid of the pain that would come with getting it treated. She said she kept telling him that he needed to get it treated before it got worse. But because he avoided treatment for so long, his toe got worse and it became so infected that he had to get 3 different injections in that one toe. If he had sought treatment and allowed himself to FEEL the pain early on, he would not have had to go through the excruciating pain of getting all those needles later.
Every wound, whether physical or emotional, has to go through a PROCESS that does not always feel good. It hurts! But the only way to GET through the pain is to GO through the pain. A deep physical wound requires a proper cleansing of the inside of that wound. Failure to clean that wound will result in fragments of the object that caused the wound to remain in place and take residence inside of you. That object has no business being there and your body knows it, which is why pain occurs. Why fever occurs. Pain and fever is our body’s way of letting us know there is something inside of our bodies that should NOT be there. In the same way, anger, bitterness, resentment, and insecurities are signs that there are fragments of past hurts that are still inside of us, fragments that are NOT supposed to be there. Could there be fragments of what happened to you when you were a child left inside of you? Are there fragments of something that was said to you or about you left inside of you? Could there be fragments from your divorce left inside of you? Fragments from a painful loss left inside of you?
I pray that this post has challenged you to search yourself for any evidence that there may be fragments left inside of you that need to GO. I pray that it has challenged you to search for any evidence that you may have wounds in which you’ve had a Band-Aid on for years but now realizing that what it really needed was air. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. Feel free to add more ways in which we cover up our wounds. As always please send any questions, suggestions, or prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,
Love Mizz K ♥