There are things in my life that seem like tremendous problems, overwhelming hurdles, and involve exhausting emotions that I would rather tuck far away. This life feels weighty and burdensome, like a weight that sits on my chest while lying in bed as the alarm is going off but preventing me to even move. There is a bodily resistance to even get up in the morning to face what the day brings and what my week already has planned. This world feels bigger than I can handle.
The unknown of each day can put me on edge, and the unclear picture of a past that involves things I am not proud of in my life makes me feel hopeless and in despair. What’s next, what more can happen? When the past holds unresolved fear, trauma rises in adulthood as those fears haven’t gone away. I like to think they are gone, I like to believe that being an adult means I have overcome, I like to believe that logically there is no monster under the bed, but my brain has been conditioned to fear, conditioned to freeze in the face of danger or triggers from a haunting past, conditioned to give in to manipulation for fear of abandonment from the people I once trusted.
The world feels too big. I get stuck in moments of wanting to give up. There’s no way out, this is my life. Repeated abuse sets me up for a Complex PTSD that makes it hard to trust ever again.
This is the brain trying to protect me, the part of the brain called the Amygdala, that has been present through it all. It has put me in survival mode through every traumatic event I have ignored or minimized so that I don’t have to acknowledge the serious violation that took place on my soul and my own innocence. The coercing, the twisting, the poisonous vipers that lay under a comfortable pillow I have been too blind to notice.
I need a plan:
Fear. Fear is what I have been fighting. Fear is what I have been avoiding. Between the instinctual survival instincts of Flight, Fight, and Freeze my body has chosen freeze from a young age. The more I learn about the brain the more I see that the instinct your body gravitates to when it is scared it will automatically repeat over and over and over again until you heal and teach it a new way. The brain will keep doing what has been working for your survival even if it means it isn’t healthy for your survival. It just wants to protect, and often that even means forget.
Don’t Forget. We forget because the brain wants to protect us from hurt. In the forgetting we make it go away, but we don’t learn from the past occurrences, we only become numb to the hurt. Numb to the pain, numb to the shock, numb to the reality of what happened to my fragile soul. Numb to being used, numb to being objectified, and numb to being taken advantage of at my lowest point. I want to forget. I want it to disappear. But sadly, this has happened before, I have been treated like this repeatedly: groomed, love-bombed, gaslighted, and stuck with a frozen feeling of no way out. I have done the “forget” path with the people that have manipulated my past, but it happened again, this time with more people getting hurt than just myself. I am used to it only being me that gets hurt. This part is new. I can’t forget, because I am done with this. The last story of abuse on my soul has been told. I can’t forget, because I won’t let it repeat itself.
Strength. Is there strength after Trauma? How can strength come from a season of shakeable fear, of intense anxiety, a loss of control, and a loss of the friendships you thought would fight for you when you were at your lowest. Strength in this weakness makes no sense, incomprehensible to my mind…but its coming. I feel the spark in my soul returning as the small part of my brain that was protecting me is hearing the voice from the frontal cortex proclaiming that we can all do this together. Instead of hiding in the Amygdala, I can learn to move from freeze to fight. Strength comes not from the fight of attacking back the hurt that has been caused, strength comes as I gain my sense of self-worth back that was taken from me. Strength comes as I learn the twisted cycle that was played to win my heart like it was something for the taking. Strength comes when I surrender myself to God instead of only the logic and instincts in my brain. Strength will come. I have to believe it.
Between my present fear, my desire not to forget, and the strength I believe is coming, somewhere in all of this, all of this has to face a God that I believe is bigger. My fear has to face a God that overcomes fears; my hurting heart has to face a tremendously huge and loving God that will never leave me, and my Strength has to face a God that provides what I don’t have within me as evidence that He is in me. That He is alive in my life. Somewhere, and I feel it happening now, my life has to intercede with a God that is bigger than my past, with me in the present, and excited for how He is growing me for the future.
God is my constant in a world that is wavering between truth and lies, between people that look like they are for me but unable to care for me, between circumstances that make me feel lost when I need a guiding light to get back on track. God is my constant and He is bigger than I give Him credit for!
For a great and cute insight on more of how the brain handles trauma I found these which helped me a lot. If you are interested in learning more about trauma and the brain check these out:
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