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Wellness > Mental Health

New romantics: Healing and dealing with the process of-

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Growing up as a theater kid (I know, gross), I was always taught to enjoy the process of things. I was encouraged to not focus so much on the performances, and rather enjoy the journey and the lessons acquired throughout the creative process in order to inspire the best performance yet; the most authentic versions of the piece. As a current stylist, the creative process has become my favorite part of creating and directing editorials. However, applying said metaphor to heal my emotional wounds and sort out my personal life has been difficult, making everything more complicated than it has to be. 

I’ll confess that patience has never been one of my strongest virtues. Regardlessly, I’ve come to see my impatience and stubbornness as valuable assets in my line of work. I don’t wait for nobody and I do what I want, how I can, and when I can. Imagine my surprise when I came to realize that healing (or the act of making time to heal), has been one of many things I haven’t been able to control when, why, or how much time it would take. Although complicated, I’ve found some success in this journey on the expense of acceptance, patience, and consistency, by, honestly, just letting everything be everywhere all at once (kinda like the Oscar winning film). 

As a workaholic, I used to drown myself in work to the point where I didn’t have time for anything else. Obviously this just made things worse. While I was focused on other things, I wasn’t exactly what I needed to be focused on: me… Eventually, what you avoid becomes inevitable. I started to get consumed by my unattended problems but I still kept thinking that if I focused hard enough on other things, those problems would get solved on their own. 

If left unattended, open wounds could get infected. Recently closed scars could open up again if not properly healed… Patching them up doesn’t mean they are fully healed. In other words, I never gave myself enough closure to process or heal my wounds. I knew that I needed to heal and I was taking proper steps in order to do so. I was just taking SOME steps, not all of them. Yes, I stopped talking to people that weren’t really friends, I quit my toxic job, and “broke up” my situationship. However, I never really made time to process or heal those things,

I just kept going. 

To make all of this even more ironic, I thought that once I started therapy all of this would be solved. One session of therapy would be enough for me to stitch up all of my wounds, just to quickly get back to the world to get cut open once again.. I kept forgetting to care for my wounds and be patient enough to watch them heal properly. 

My impatience has made my healing journey harder. Despite that I am a very proud talker, I would talk about a lot of things, minus the ones that were truly affecting me. While therapy and talking to friends are a great resource to sort out your stuff, it’s only as good as actually applying what you’re being advised on, and even more so, how truly open and honest you are with the stuff that are going on in your head. 

Other than the actual act of healing itself, seeing how much I’ve truly had to heal has been overwhelming. As I took a step back, I saw wounds from my childhood, high school years, and even past heartbreaks I truly thought I had sorted out… or at least, I thought that all of the overworking had resolved. This led to me being even more desperate. How was I supposed to heal all the problems I had encountered in the past year if past ones were reopening or never properly attended?

In retrospect: overworking has never solved anything for anyone… and it probably never will. 

Ironically, avoidance has been a part of the process. Scars heal properly when you have the maturity or the resources to attend them. As crazy as it sounds, avoidance or procrastination have been a defense mechanisms I created for myself because I wasn’t prepared to address the damage. Maybe dealing with them in the precise moment they happened could’ve made things more complicated than they already were. 

As I unattended myself, I also prepared myself for this exact moment. I started to go out alone, created healthy coping mechanisms, and surrounded myself with people that weren’t scared of sitting with me to heal while also healing themselves. I healed my biggest wound when I realized that I couldn’t heal everything on my own, but that it was also up to me (and solely me) to take the steps necessary to heal. 

Although I did not choose it, this has been the correct moment to mend everything that has needed fixing. I tend to reminisce about the past, regardless of it being full of good or bad memories. I daydream possible scenarios of hearing people who hurt me apologize or tell me everything I wish they said, but never did. Sometimes this can be therapeutic, but everything in excess becomes dangerous. I feel I did this so much because, to some extent, revisiting the past felt safer and better than my actual reality. Even more so, healing has also meant accepting and moving on from those experiences. I’ve had to replace reminiscing with manifestations of visualizations of the future with the best people around me to get there. For the first time ever, the future doesn’t seem so scary. 

As I sit in the recovery room, I hug and celebrate having finally healed a lot of what I once thought resolved. I embrace and use this journey to remind myself where I’ve been and to aim towards where I’m going. I thank myself for taking the means necessary to have come this far, while also rewarding myself with the best thing for myself: healing. 

So you ask… Are you fully healed? Absolutely not. We’ll probably never reach a fully recovered status. There are days I feel invincible and others that lead me back to square one. However, I’ve come to realize that both are important for healing. I’ve learned on the good days what to do in order to reciprocate that energy and on the bad days what I have to continue to work on to keep healing. Consistency isn’t necessarily about having a lot of very good days, it’s also about continuing to figure it out and working towards the end goal. (Even if you have no idea what you’re doing). All of this has made me fall in love and feel a bit more pride in myself. Scars remind me of just how far I’ve come. They’ve let me see how much I’ve been able to accomplish while feeling the worst. The past year has been absolutely horrible, but as cheesy as it may sound, I’ve come to embrace it and work towards recovery because of everything it gave me along the line: strength, courage, and an unbreakable iconic attitude. 

José is majoring in Public Relations and Advertising. This communication undergraduate student from the UPR Río Piedras campus is an energetic Pisces with a passion for fashion, coming of age films, books, crossfit, and dance. Currently, José is a writer for HerCampus and the editorial executive and digital content creator for fashion magazine Imagen and lifestyle magazine BuenaVida.