It has been 10 months since I went to the doctor thinking I had the stomach flu. Sometimes when I write my posts are well thought out. Sometimes it feels as though my heart is the puppeteer of my hands and that my fingers can hardly keep up with it’s commands. Today’s post is one of the latter. The words starting flooding my brain as I was reading the book, The Shack, that has been recommended to me by many different people. If you’re not familiar with it, it is about a man, Mack, whose young daughter, Missy, dies at the hand of a serial killer. A few years after her death, Mack receives a mysterious note inviting him to the shack where she died. At this shack he spends a weekend with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I am still reading it but one of the recurring themes so far is Mack’s distrust in God and his need for absolute independence and control over his life. In one passage Sarayu (the Holy Spirit) tells Mack:
You must give up your right to decide what is good and evil on your own terms: that is a hard pill to swallow-choosing to live only in me. To do that, you must know me enough to trust me and learn to rest in my inherent goodness.
I am also currently reading a book suggested by my therapist, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal by Bellaruth Naperstack. It is taking me a long time to get through it because the truth of some of the things she writes takes my breath away. After last April I’m a little weary of anything that does that to me. In many ways it has been incredibly healing to just know that I’m not crazy. That the thoughts, feelings, and flashbacks are normal.
But back to the issue of control. I never considered how much I needed it until I had so little of it. The author discusses how it is in our human nature to delight in our ability to control and create things, even an 18 month toddler who realizes that she can knock a stack of blocks over and so she wants do it again and again (much to the dismay of the poor parent who has to keep stacking them!)
The joyous self-love from such accomplishments is a good part of what drives us all- children and adults- to master more, to grow, and develop and learn even in the face of frustration, fear and the anxiety of the leaving the familiar comfort of already mastered terrain.
And because it is built into our human hard-wiring to love ourselves for being able to make things happen, the converse is also true: we lose self regard when bad things happen that are beyond our control. The essential insult of trauma is the helplessness it generates, and the inadequacy and powerlessness we feel in its grip.
She goes on to talk about how this can cause people to lose value in themselves and can creat feelings of guilt and even shame. Those feelings are enough to fill up several different posts and I’m not quite ready to be that naked with you yet so I will stick with control. When I met Marc I learned that Aussies are very relaxed, laid back people. I also learned that there is Aussie laid back and then there is Leishman laid back. If you need lessons on how to chill out, they’re your people. By nature of just spending so much time together this quality started to rub off on me and although I will never completely learn their ways I am forever grateful for this. I am not sure how I could have survived the past 10 months without this quality. And yet, my need for control has peaked.
When I think about the girl who was lying in a bed completely dependent on other people to keep her alive, I just want to lay next to her and give her a hug. I want to tell her it’s okay to let them help, and that it’s not her fault. And then I think about being discharged and being so determined that I was not going to let Marc carry me up those stairs that I painfully climbed up one step at a time. I was so tired afterwards that I could not get out of bed for the rest of the day. Fast forward a few months and I should be better already! I’m taking all of these supplements. I’m doing the “right” things so you have to be kidding me that I am gong to have to hire someone to help me care for my babies. I wish I could have looked at it in the way that it was my decision. It would have provided me with some comfort. Instead it was just more evidence of how little control I had over how I was feeling. I could not magically make myself better. Even by doing everything suggested I was not improving fast enough. Fast enough by whose standards, though? My impossible ones. Part of the reason I started this blog was becuase it would be my decision, in my control. I had been reading so many articles written about me. Some of them didn’t have the facts correct and I needed to control the content. Writing has been therapeutic in many ways but giving me a feeling of control has been one of the most beneficial.
I have surrounded myself with mugs that have phrases like, “Let Go and Let God.” I have repeated the serenity prayer. I wrote a post on faith. On good days I am better at giving Him my troubles. It’s the days when I need to the absolute most that I struggle immensely. I have many friends who have a faith so strong that I find myself envious. They say things like, no matter high the mountain, no matter how difficult the battle they know it is God’s will and that they have given Him their lives. Oh, what comfort that would be! To give up control would be to know that I can just live. I can trust His plan for me. I can just be a good person and try my hardest and that will be enough. I cannot even fathom the idea of feeling enough. Just as I am. Maybe one day. What is it that they say? The first step is admitting there is a problem.
Hello, my name is Audrey and it is time for me to give up control.