So here I sit, once again – full of thoughts and ideas. Incomplete thoughts and scattered ideas but they are mine. Something no one can take away from me (or can they). I sit here often unable to connect the dots. Seeing sparks of the person I used to be but will never be again. Something I’m starting to accept in theory while wholeheartedly fighting in spirit. Desperate to hold onto a piece of who I used to be or at the very least a sparkle of who I thought I could be.
You see, my mind was my greatest asset. I knew very young, the power of the mind. I learned to use what I had to keep order in the chaos. Learning to pay attention to the most miniscule details. Juggling. Balancing. Making moves to keep my world happy. Always ten steps ahead. I learned very young that the use of one’s mind could open a world of possibilities. Personally, and professionally. I took pride in my obsessiveness. Looking back, I’m pretty sure the strengths section of resume read more like a checklist of OCD symptoms.
Symptoms or not – they were my secret weapons of survival. The perfect way to mask my pain while distracting me from life. If I played the part – perfect wife, mother, and friend. Infallible employee. Daughter. Keep juggling. Keep moving. Don’t stop! Going and going – never looking back. Never looking at all. Hoping for a better tomorrow – all the while hiding. Hiding behind the power of my mind. Keeping everything tucked away in the secret spaces. Depending on my mind to carry me through a lifetime.
See, I used to be able to remember the inconsequential details equally as well as the most important life moments. I could remember what you were doing a decade ago – whether I was there or not. If you told me a story, even in passing, I would remember. The secret to life is in the details. Think about it – a good gift giver, listens and knows what brings joy to the lives of those around them. An empath can sense another person’s pain – can fill the atmosphere change without warning. Why? Because they have been trained to read people, read their environment. Spending a lifetime, predicting the needs of others to avoid despair and disappointment. Always sacrificing a piece of themselves.
How did I get here you ask? I closed my eyes, opened a book and pointed. Let’s back up – there was the moment when I decided I needed a prompt and I had to choose a book. As I’m in a season of my life that is self-help and spirituality heavy, my choices are curious. Do I choose a book from the Joyce Meyer shelf? How about the study shelf – a potpourri of Christianity, Buddhism, Complex PTSD books, and more. Or do I snag something from the shelf that is half bibles and half reference books? I choose the Joyce Meyer shelf and then I’m tasked with picking a book – my eyes go straight to Battlefield of the Mind. I smirk, close my eyes, and open the book.
What could possibly happen? How knowing could this moment be? Higher powers moving in the moment. I point. I open my eyes. I laugh my ass off – PASSIVE MIND. Yep, God has a sense of humor and it’s HUGE! Not only am I pointing at the words “passive mind,” I’m pointing at the only words on the page. I could write a thousand stories about passive minds or passivity in general but none of them are about me. One thing people do not label me as is passive – especially in terms of my mind.
Yet, here I sit trying to explain what has changed. Why I struggle in a way that I will never fully understand. I know the “why’s” and even the “how’s”, but I am left devastated by the knowledge that I cannot control it. It – what is it? What is this monster – this darkness that consumes me. This leech that sucks the life out of me repeatedly. It’s the effects of trauma – a lifetime of trauma – on every level. Though I never saw it that way. I embraced the idea that my childhood made me stronger – made me who I am. And it did. But I also believed that I would never succumb to the weight of it all.
Always believing that life and the people I loved could happily pile it all on – without consequence. Hand me your burdens, your troubles, and cares. Unload it all. I have room. Never seeing the darkness in front of me. The moment that would change everything. The flash of time that I had absolutely no control over. “How many seconds do you think you had to respond”, they asked. As if I was driving down the road aware of what was headed my way – counting one-one thousand, two-one thousand. Are you insane? Headlights in my eyes. Life. Flashes. Screaming in my ears. Pain. Anger.
I walked away from that moment truly PISSED OFF! Angry that someone else’s choices in life nearly removed me from the lives of my husband and son. Yes, that’s exactly how I saw it. I didn’t see it as me losing my life but rather my family losing me, and they needed me. Maybe that’s why God decided to use this moment to slow me down. To make me step back and evaluate my life. To evaluate myself. My beliefs. Am I me? Are my beliefs my own? Am I living the life I was born to live?
The truth is, the unknown terrifies me, especially while possessing the knowledge that control is an illusion. I have very little control over this mind of mine these days. Anxiety and pain continual feeding off one another. Always seeking balance in all I do. I cannot be passive in my mindfulness – I must be aware of every move I make. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Relationally. Environmentally. Triggers are around every corner – hiding in the happiest of moments. Lurking in moments of peace and tranquility. Ready to erupt.
It’s these triggers that steal my joy. Leaving me feeling shameful and worthless. Lost without understanding. I should be strong. I should be better equipped. Seek out the answers. Find your control. Find a way to fight what you’re afraid of most – your mind is slipping and it’s slipping bad. PTSD! Dementia? Fear. What kind of damage was done? Why can’t people see? So, I fight it! I do what I do. Pick apart the details, hatch a plan, and keep moving forward.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus Philippians 2:5
Photo by Terry Tan De Hao