Desperation and tears filled her eyes. She started to speak, shook her head almost imperceptibly, and paused for moment to collect her thoughts. Then she looked up and me and asked, “Will this ever go away? Will there ever come a day when I stop waking up in the middle of the night remembering everything? Will I ever be able to drive down the street and not see reminders every few minutes? Will I ever feel whole again?”

When we don’t feel well physically, we go to the doctor, and we get a treatment that usually has obvious results. Our stomach stops churning, our headache goes away, or our knee doesn’t ache when we get up. We consider ourselves to be cured and we forget about how we felt.

But when we don’t feel well mentally, the remedy isn’t always so quick or so noticeable. Even when we get help from a professional counselor, it takes quite a bit of time. We have days when we feel tremendously better, then days when it feels as though we haven’t made any progress at all. Sometimes, we’re proud of how far we’ve come, and sometimes we hate ourselves for not coming any farther.

If you’re working to heal from some kind of mental or emotional situation, you need to prepare yourself for a long journey. It takes time for us to come to terms with where we are now and what brought us here. Sometimes we have to tap into memories we’d rather forget, and they hurt just as much now as they did then. Other times, we have to admit to and then overcome fears that have controlled us for many years. And just when we think we’ve “fixed” everything, something comes along that knocks us back down.

But know this: your journey is worth it, and you are worth the journey. Whether you realize it, God has a purpose for you, even when things seem so dark and helpless. Instead of focusing on where you are day in and day out, focus on where you want to be, because every step is bringing you closer to that place.

Will the pain and fear and heartache ever go away completely? Probably not, but don’t despair. As you heal, you’ll learn how to manage those feelings when they return. Today, they may knock you off your feet, but down the road you’ll be strong enough to keep them from overwhelming you.

Working with a professional counselor can help make the journey more productive and provide extra support to guide you through the rougher patches. Why not set up a time to sit down with one of our counselors and discuss your situation? You’ll get a better sense of what’s involved and how we can help. It’s a long journey, but you’ll discover just how worthwhile it can be.