The Root of Trauma
I am not a fan of going to the dentist. In fact, I just recently had a root canal done and my disdain for drills and x-rays grew even more. Even though the procedure itself was less than pleasant, the most surprising thing about all of it was that I had no idea there was anything even wrong with my tooth. Before I went in for a checkup, my dental hygiene was pretty up to par, no cavities within the last ten years, healthy gums, and nothing that would cause a hygenist to throw boxes of floss at me for not taking care of my teeth.
The damage that constituted surgery in my mouth occurred in an early childhood injury during a game of hide-and-seek. I was running as fast as my tiny elementary school legs could carry me from a boy who was chasing me. When I turned around to see where he was, unbeknownst to me, there was a large metal pole right in my path. I slammed into it with great force and my pride cracked along with my front tooth and the sound barrier from my high-pitched scream.
I had the tooth minimally repaired; just enough to mask the injury and make the immediate discomfort go away. I never really thought about it much after that point. Over time, the tooth gradually deadened starting from the root. As the years passed, I became numb to the pain, so much so that I did not even realize there was a problem. I neglected to address the issue because, to me, nothing was visibly out of place. The outside was prepped and polished, but little did I know, the inside was suffering and deteriorating.
Fast forward to now, a couple of decades later with a brand new perspective of what undealt with wounds can grow into.
A healthy mouth is important in regard to the overall health of your body. A trauma to your teeth, gums, or mouth can impact everything from your smile to your speech and even your heart. If you think about it, if unaddressed, emotional injuries can impact those areas as well. You see, an untreated infection, injury, or uncleanliness in the mouth can and usually does make its way to other parts of the body. What you may think is small and insignificant, can have repercussions on your overall well-being and even on those around you.
The dentist kindly shared with me that the trauma that took place years before and was not properly dealt with was now impacting me as an adult.
Let that sink in for a moment.
The trauma that took place years before and was not properly dealt with was now impacting me as an adult.
Perhaps you can relate to this on some level beyond the physical. Maybe you have some deep-seated hurts that were inflicted upon you early in life that still affect you as you grow. Your traumas may even be more recent and your outlook may be to ignore them in hopes they will go away.
It’s more than okay to feel nervous about the courses of healing and recovery, whether the circumstances happened yesterday or many years ago. The process is rarely swift or without some sort of malaise. What is not okay is letting the problems go untreated. Even if the problem seems small, if left to itself, it can cause infection from the inside out and impact so many areas of your life. You cannot have a healthy existence if your foundation is contaminated. Healthy roots are what help produce healthy fruits.
Much like the painful root canal I underwent, with emotional trauma, it is very important that you address the offense starting from the origin. Though I am better for it, even after extensive work was done to my tooth, everything is not exactly as it was before, or as it would have been had the damage not occurred.
Similarly, there may be things taken away or added to your life, and some adjusting you have to do as you start to heal, but I promise you it is more than worth it. The parts that you have tried to hide that no one sees are the ones that need to be addressed.
I know it hurts and I know it may seem impossibly difficult, but ignoring wounds never helps them heal. Friend, there is hope and healing waiting for you. I know it’s scary, and I know you have endured so much pain, but with whatever strength you have left, climb up into the chair and allow the Master Healer, along with the right people, to do a transformative work in you, starting from the very root.
Rachel Skirvin is a lover of travel, nachos, and the gospel. She is a graduate of Urshan College and will most likely always call it Gateway. She recently graduated with her master’s degree in counseling and human services and is currently serving at The Pentecostals of Cooper City in South Florida.