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  • Writer's pictureBret Dorsett

Injury Unseen


Let's talk about how our mental and emotional injuries unseen are similar to that of physical injuries we sustain that are seen. In the picture to the left we see someone assisting a patient with an ankle injury. Lets take some time to kind of evaluate what a visit to the hospital/doctor might look like... I remember a time when I broke my arm as a teen. I was skateboarding downhill with a stick in my hand and trying to hit a ball on the ground. It was like in a split second, I was on the ground and feeling some really harsh pain in my left wrist. When I got up, my brother had called for my dad and that is when I noticed, the big bump near my wrist and scrapes on my arm. Man that hurt and I was embarrassed to boot.


So off to the hospital and without going into too much detail I will outline which seems to be the process when we are triaged. First, there is the nurse observing the injury and asking what happened. Then it is the blood pressure machine, temperature, and oxygen levels. Second, doctor comes in and notices the injury and then tentatively states "looks like you have a broken arm." As a teen I'm going..."no, really?" Third comes the Xray. Yep it's broken! Next, there is the explanation...We have to numb your arm and set the bone back in place.

I am thinking "I hate needles and two, that looks like it's gonna hurt!" So in order they numb my arm and the doctor with the nurse assisting, puts it back into place with a loud sound of pain coming from the depths of my being! So now it is time for the cast. This felt pretty good as the wraps were warm and wet. By the time I left, the wraps had hardened and I was doing well. They give us pain medication prescriptions and then I was back home. So now it was the seemingly long road to healing and staying healthy. I followed instructions and although pain at times was difficult, it began to subside and I began to feel better, not so irritable. Finally the cast came off and I could begin using my arm some but still had to be careful. I still haven't been able to gain FULL function of my arm and it will always be a little weaker due to the break, but it was manageable. I was able to strengthen it through PT and I can hardly notice except when weather is bad and cold and I can feel it in the area of the break.

Application: When we experience familial or environmental dysfunction, trauma, abuse, or other negative life situation, we feel the pain right away! Because your injury isn't visible or unseen like that of a physical injury, it is harder to determine what is happening. Just as with a physical injury, if you don't get seen right away, things could get worse and typically do without professional attention. You may, as I did, realize that it is really gonna hurt to deal with the pain! Sometimes we become hesitant to act because we would rather deal with the pain than face rejection or embarrassment. The fact is, healing involves pain which cannot be avoided in a physical injury. The same is true with mental and emotional pain, grief, loss, anxiety, depression, etc. Meeting with a mental health professional to identify the injury, and set up a treatment plan for healing is vital. Many associate meeting with a mental health professional as a sign of weakness or that "I'm Crazy." I would submit that a person isn't crazy when they go to a hospital to repair a physical injury knowing that they will eventually get better and learn to regain as normal a function as possible. Healing and allowing ourselves to experience and work through the pain is part of a healthy process. Being able to share the pain with someone who understands like family, support group, or others you can trust is essential to overall healing. Yes it is difficult but once you allow yourself time and follow the directions of the mental health professional, your pain will begin to lessen, you will see things more clearly, and. you will feel tons better about yourself and others. Please, if you can resonate with any of what has been written here, consider getting help quickly so that you can live a better quality of life than you may be currently.

Take care and God bless you!

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