A Chaos of Mind

Jul 23, 2021

Writing is a revelatory process for me. And I haven’t done it for a couple of weeks because life sometimes happens, and this time when it happened, I found myself engrossed for 8 days straight in a project to move my office to my daughter’s upstairs bedroom space while also moving her bedroom to my old office space. Aside from the raging arthritis visited upon me each night once my body temperature took its usual nosedive, I loved the hard work, the slow and methodical attention to details along the way, and the beautiful results. Yes, I find gratification in beauty, symmetry, balance, complimentary textures and colors, and things that pop out at you, calling for your attention and thought.

So, I just hung my new black glass whiteboard that looks like a New York City studio loft fixture, now admiring it from my standing desk which I’ve lowered so that I can sit at it while I write. My legs are tired. I have no energy. And I’m a little depressed. Otherwise, of course, I would be standing.

You’re right. After that intro, how could I be depressed?

Partly because I’m near finished with the trading spaces project except for the 27 pieces of artwork stacked against the wall in the bonus room that were hanging in my old office space as a result of one short and eccentric phase of my writing life. My new space is clean-lines-chic and I don’t want to mess it up. I won’t be walking into the bonus room for a few weeks; avoidance is sometimes the only practical strategy when in recovery.

It’s important to have something to look forward to in life. No, not dealing with the artwork. I mean something big, something visionary, something impactful for the greater good of humanity. To be part of something bigger than myself and to feel seen and heard, using the power of influence to pursue goodness. The thing is, we all have our versions of goodness, right? And these days, not only is there a plethora of perspectives on what real goodness is, goodness is losing its heft … its gravitas, its power to turn large and lumbering ships away from perilous rocks. Goodness has been redefined into a shallow competition of new ways to signal virtue, most of the time that “virtue” being void of any real substance.

We are headed for the cliffs. And everyone is on board. Yet, no one sees beyond the screen in front of their noses to what lies in wait on the horizon ahead.

You’re probably starting to understand why I’m depressed. We have big problems … maybe the biggest ever. I’d like to help. I’m smart, resourceful, motivated, and educated (not in women’s studies either), but I feel as if I’ve been set aside.

I’m trying to wait, really I am, but I get this feeling that the way I’m waiting isn’t quite the way God intends. I suspect He wants me to wait with a faithful anticipation, doing the work that’s in front of me in the meantime. Argh … how I wish I could, but I don’t think I’m wired that way. Yeah, yeah … He made me, He knows me, He’s working on me. I know that.

It’s in my understanding.

It’s just not in my body.

If you know how PTSD works, you know that trauma leaves a permanent mark, and then runs in the background until a reminder event occurs, triggering the emotions long tucked away in your emotional memory. When it happens, you can’t control it. Your capacity to reason is shut down. The only hope you have of avoiding a meltdown is to recognize the signs before the full out triggering occurs, using those precious few seconds to redirect your thoughts … to cut them off at the pass … so as to retain your reason and not associate the current moment with those terrible ones from days gone by.

I am in the midst of a triggering. A very long episode. Depression saps me of my energy, hence the sitting down at the standing desk. Fortunately, I still have a sense of humor.

I won’t share details of the trauma because it doesn’t matter, I can’t change the past, and unfortunately, it continues even now. I will tell you the nature of it: rejection, abandonment, malevolent actions, and judgment by people who are supposed to have taken care of me. I told my husband last night that I understand Jesus suffered from the same things, and I know I’ll need to continue absorbing the hurt (forgiving the debt), but I’m not Jesus, and my sense of hopelessness is growing by the day.

Now, don’t write me off, okay? Despite the chaos of my triggered mind and body, I can still reason. Not many are willing and able to do that these days, and I’m not bragging. What I’m saying is that in the midst of this mental and physical turmoil, I know Who God is, I know how He talks with me, I remember all He has done for me, and I trust Him completely.

No … to know God intimately and have a close and dynamic relationship with Him, to run to Him for all the help I want and all the love I need, does not mean I’m perfectly happy and joyful all the time without a smidgen of doubt entering my thoughts when dealing with a triggering situation. How I respond to situations and how I navigate the brokenness of my soul has nothing to do with Who He is and His faithfulness to me.

He is my anchor, stopping my ship short of crashing into the rocky cliffs. Yes, I wish He would answer my “Why?” questions, explain a few things, and heal my soul; who wouldn’t? But I have to trust Him, despite how dire things look.

Look … work is my soothing drug. And I don’t like not having something to pursue. I want to be a part of the body. And I don’t like being passive-aggressively shunned by the church because I want to talk about some of the issues associated with an increasingly closed off and dogmatic nature of  teaching. And I don’t like feeling torn about whether writing is even worth the effort since no one is going to read what I write anyway (because I’m not willing to mortgage my house in order to pay for the ridiculous expense of marketing books in order to get sales).

I just want to find my spot in God’s army of earthly saints and do what He made me to do. Until then, I wait, but it’s hard not to feel useless while I do.

And on that cheery note, I thank you for allowing me a rant. I feel better. Off to the gym.

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