This past week has been one where I’ve really had to fight the demons of doubt and fear. It been difficult and I’ve felt myself retreating. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. It’s just been a while since I’ve been on a cycle this rough. (Thank God for that!) Once I realized what I was doing I became frustrated. I don’t want to pull inward and away from everyone. My goal has been to find ways to be more vulnerable and honest. I don’t like to go in the opposite direction of my goals. It irritates me.
Regardless, I spent Thursday this week wanting to do nothing but lie on my couch and do nothing. (Which is NOT me at all.) And then the tears started. I cried Thursday morning went out and forced myself to get some work done and then returned home to find myself crying again. *insert eye roll*
Yesterday I woke up in a much better place and had a good day until I didn’t. Sometimes unexpected things happen (or don’t happen) and it tips the scale you’ve been working so hard to keep balanced.
Trauma. Sometimes things get thrown into your path and that trauma trigger flips your switch. It flipped mine, and in the moment it completely shut me down. From the outside, it’s not too noticeable but on the inside nothing but empty. It’s like someone hit the pause button on me. No thoughts. No feelings. Nothing. While a part of me knew this was happening, that voice of reason wasn’t strong enough to formulate a reaction. It shut down my ability to cope in that moment. Shock had wrapped me up again in its tight grip.
As my world slowly rebooted hours later, I started to realize what was happening to me. As understanding unraveled, those old feelings of dread, those fears, the realities I’ve experienced settled in. The tears came once again. And I was frustrated because again I was wounded. When you’re in pain, it’s difficult to be reasonable. It’s hard to see the light. It’s even harder to have faith. And then come the wicked thoughts. In the midst of loneliness, dread, and fear, I tried to pray again.
When shock had set in earlier, I couldn’t pray. That scared me. Thankfully, later on I was able to pray again but it felt flat and whiny but I tried to talk to God anyway. I resorted to praying for those I love instead of for myself because I had no idea what to ask for or what I needed to help myself but praying for others was much easier.
After a phone call with a good friend and a few more prayers I went to sleep. I woke up at 4:00 am in tears. Once they’d ran their course and sleep wasn’t returning, I picked up my notebook hoping writing words on the page would settle myself enough to sleep again.
I wrote, “I try my best not to dwell in the past. Obviously, I know what I’ve lived—the hardships and the victories. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow the trauma…waking up at 4:00 am in the same dark room I’ve faced many demons in, the same dark room my heart bled night after night in, it’s hard to ignore that ‘muscle memory.’”
There’s this part of me that was disappointed in myself for my reaction. Because I had it in my head that after writing Shine, I’d found a place to capture those demons. I didn’t need to relive their darkness anymore. I thought I’d successfully put that part of me up on the shelf. It’s true that book has allowed me to heal and move forward beyond my expectations. It just sucks when the trauma resurfaces. That loss of self-control and the shock in that moment yesterday, it wounded me again. By hurting me again, it was as if a voice shouted, “You’re not as free as you think you are. I still have power over you.”
In the darkness of night and early morning, I felt disappointed in myself. Irritated that I was human. But this morning, writing this post it reminds me of how wrong that wicked voice is. Because if my trauma still had power over me, I wouldn’t be able to get up and write a blog post for the world to read. I wouldn’t be able to click share and let you see all my vulnerable pieces.
People often wonder how I can be so happy especially when I don’t have “everything I want.” Believe me, sometimes I question my peace and joy. How can I be so happy when there are still so many things I want for my life? I’ve got a two part answer for you—it’s God and it’s faith. God grants me this peace and the more I seek Him the greater it becomes. And faith is all about hoping and believing for what is unseen. It’s not just sitting in “happy imagination land” but about putting into action the good things you are believing for. Faith without works is dead. This blog post is my work, because I know God is making a way where were I don’t see one. He’s growing me and cleaning up the rough edges so I can be ready for the next level.
Last night in my tearful darkness I said, “I know this isn’t going to last forever. I know there’s a purpose. It just doesn’t feel so great right now but I know you are taking care of this.” Years ago I wouldn’t never been able to utter those words. So that experience tells me that years from now I’ll be even better at coping with these rough patches, because He’s strengthened and equipped me to do so.
Have a good weekend, my friends! And remember it’s not failure unless you decide to settle. It really is darkest before the dawn. Don’t give up. And NEVER give up on your always and forever, no matter what that might be. <3