Hey guys. So today I’m writing from a very real, raw, vulnerable place. Today is a less than ok day. I’ve been less than OK since Friday. Since therapy. They do tell you it gets worse before it gets better. Walking out your trauma is definitely something you need to be sure you want to do. It shakes things lose that you didn’t even know existed. I think that’s the scariest part, finding out you’re even more broken than you thought. Learning that there is so much more to the memories you choose to remember.
Trauma is something that doesn’t have an appropriate time, it has no appropriate space. We weren’t designed for trauma. God put us in a garden for crying out loud! He created everything perfectly and then us. Why? He was preparing us a place. Then, he build us to thrive in that place. We were given dominion over everything. Everything was within our control. Sounds great right?
Trauma is the polar opposite of this peaceful place God gave to us. It invades without warning and without welcome. It taints everything it touches. There are many different variables and many different faces of trauma. It really depends on what a person considers trauma to be, their perception of pain and loss. How sudden was the trauma? How long did it last? How many times did it repeat? It can either push you to be better or drive you to be worse. This is how trauma/abuse cycles are perpetuated and broken. Everyone can choose to end their cycle it just may take more work for some. It isn’t easy regardless of what you may have gone through. The direct treatment for trauma is to evaluate it, to explore it. to find a healthy way to cope with it. You have to face those demons down. For some this can be only the first or second time looking at these situations. Only that person and a trained professional can say for sure what they are experiencing.
For some their walk includes readily available resources and a strong support network. Their walk is filled with positive experiences and they are able to heal and overcome whether it was a single event or several over several years. There are people whose coping skills are no match for what they have suffered, the stress of the trauma was too much for them to handle. They are the ones who have the break downs. The messy ones. Some we hear about on the news, others are swept under the rug into institutions or heavily medicated. For them, their walk will be the most intensive if they are to ever heal. They are the people that we middle grounded people are terrified we’ll become one day.
As for us middle grounders (the biggest group), we may have a decent support network but heavy trauma. We may have no support network and less trauma. Some can have no support and a lot of trauma. The thing about middle grounders is that we are the self-sufficient group. The ones who have learned to handle the trauma the best way we can. Holding our ground, digging in our heels and refusing to break down.
In my case, my trauma started at 6 months old. I have had many different types of trauma over my life span. My 80+ significant (some ongoing) traumatic events fall into eight of the seventeen categories on this list. There is just too much to list here. When my therapist made me write my timeline down it took eight sheets of paper. I didn’t remember everything right away. It took a lot of effort on my part to get it all out. I still forgot some things. There was just so much.
See, when you have been through a lot of trauma and choose not to deal with it, your mind can build this safe little closet. It crams as much of the crap in there that it can and then it crams in some more. Now, there are lots of reasons for this. Some people’s minds do it automatically. Some choose to do this out of necessity; soldiers, parents, students, their lives just have no space for it, there are careers, kids, church, volunteer work, housework, etc. When do they get the time, energy, space to have a meltdown? The short answer is they do not.
I have several different “diagnoses”. I was written off as manic depressive (bi-polar) in sixth grade. I started seeing my therapist this time for generalized anxiety and codependent behavior. Friday, she told me that she believes I have PTSD. I don’t know if that takes the place of everything else or just adds to it. I’m not the kind of person to live by a label. I do take these seriously but only to understand myself and how I am feeling, which can be difficult for me. I choose to be healthy. I choose to have a “sound mind” like God promised me.
I have been in therapy this time for about four months. I go every week. If my schedule allowed I’d go more. If you knew me and my experience with therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists (I’ve seen all three), then you would know what a big deal that was for me. We are just now getting into the real stuff. The heavy stuff.
I wanted to write yesterday but I couldn’t figure out what to say. I tried to find something relevant to share with you but I just couldn’t seem to find anything that actually helped me feel better. I was just all over the place. My heart and mind in knots. I read my Bible last night and listened to my meditation app to help me fall asleep. Even so, I didn’t sleep well. I do not profess to have this all figured out. What I do know is that I take it a day at a time.
We all hear the stories of people’s miraculous healing, either in church or private prayer. Their faith was just so great that Heaven touched them in a real and powerful way. i have seen this personally for those I love and those in my church. I am learning that this is not my story. God and I have talked a lot about it. He keeps telling me longevity. I finally started looking at it today.
Longevity means long life or long existence or service. Just Google long life bible verses and you’ll see over and over God promises us a rich, fulfilling, LONG life. I am a right now person. That’s part of anxiety. Everything needs to happen now. I get burnt out and feel lost. I get depressed and stressed out. I make a mile long to do list of impossibilities.
It’s difficult for someone like me to hear these positive, change demanding speakers and sermons because I say “Yeah! I’m different NOW!” and the truth is I’m not. Well, I am different now but it’s a walk. I choose everyday to be better than I was yesterday. Someone once said, if Christ himself suffered, who are we to believe we won’t? That really resonated with me because I felt such guilt at not being able to effect immediate change in my life, in my mental health. Now, God did promise that Jesus bore the judgement we deserve and because of that all of the effects of the curse are negated to those who choose to believe it. However, if you do not experience a life, body, soul, spirit altering encounter with the Lord then you will have to walk out your healing in a gradual way. Those who receive instant healing still have to choose it everyday, just like we do.
Christ walked the earth for 30 years before the cross, he performed miracles, signs and wonders followed him everywhere he went. He was literally God in flesh. Yet In Matthew 26 we see him afraid. He goes away and prays three times. The first and second time he begged God to find another way, telling God he accepts his fate if there wasn’t one.
Someone (Marcella Vonn Harting, PhD) said this weekend at Young Living’s Live Your Passion Rally, that pain comes when we try to fight our reality. When something happens that we resist we cause pain. How do we not do that? The only way is to be fully present in each moment.
That is another very profound truth. Reflecting on the past can be good, it can be an indication of growth and give us so many instances to show others how God was faithful. Dreaming about our future gives us direction, it can reveal what we desire most, this helps us determine our purpose. But, when there has been trauma and our minds say it should have been this way or now I can never get here or do this; it causes us pain. Wow.
So, we all know what happened, Jesus accepted the cross. He died and rose and now we have a hope for life eternal. These past few days I’ve been struggling with my mind, how I haven’t been handling everything very well. I had everything crammed in the closet and now it’s trying to bust out and crush me.
I emailed my therapist and she reminded me to have compassion on myself. Honestly, my first thought was what does compassion have to do with anything? I need you to tell me what’s going on and what to do! Well, she did.
Compassion is a form of acceptance.
Being present is a form of acceptance.
Telling God you trust him is a form of acceptance.
Do I accept that I am sick? Yes, much like someone accepts a cold. Am I a cold, is it my identity? No, I am not. Will I overcome? Yes, I will. Do I plan my future around a cold? Maybe short term right? So I CAN HEAL. But, years into the future? No I do not.
Now, PTSD, depression, anxiety, fear, loss, grief, all these things are much more serious than a cold. The healing takes longer. Jesus said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…” God “quickens our spirits” and this is why we “will run and not grow weary”. Physically we cannot keep up with our spirits, if we do not exercise wisdom and listen for God to speak to us. (Also, if we hear but do not follow through) The power of our desires drive us. If our desire does not line up with God’s Word and Will then, we will burnout. We simply cannot sustain it. God wants us to heal our spirits and souls but not at the cost of our bodies.
Longevity is going the distance. It is being consistent and constant. God is calling me to run my race. To trust Him to be there. He is calling me out of the comfort of this familiar life. Because it can be trauma in itself to change.
Even on days like today, when I’m not able to handle much. When any schedule variance just sets me off. When I cry over something that seems infinitely small and the only emotions I can bring myself to accept are frustration and guilt and fear. When God nudges me and says it’s ok. Be present, don’t run from it. I am here. Feel this out, own your experiences and hand them over to me. You cannot give me anything that you haven’t owned. I trust in his promises and regardless of how I feel I do my best. I love Him the same. I may not praise or pray the same but that’s why he gives me mercy and grace. He meets me where I am, moment to moment, ready for me to invite Him in. No pressure, no judgement.
We have built up these temples around the alters of our dysfunction. “Nothing can stop my anxiety.” “My fear will always win.” “I can’t get past this.” I encourage you to read Isaiah 46. God speaks directly to the lies of idols. Yes, suffering can become our idol. Claim these promises for yourself.
4 even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.
It takes a lot of courage to face yourself. It takes a lot of courage to throw away your excuses and choose life and life more abundantly. Life abundant is new, it isn’t something you’re used to. The pleasure in your life has been fleeting. You cannot trust it. I promise you, you can trust Christ. The fact that you’ve come this far, to where you are today, is enough. Have compassion, practice compassion. Forgive yourself and try again. Speak Peace over your mind and heart. Cry out to God when you’re scared. Believe you can do it.
I believe I can.
I believe you can.
I believe God can.
The Best is Yet to Come,