Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Three things and five...

Today has been a physically miserable day, one that started at 2:00 AM.  Violent waves of nausea.  Overwhelming abdominal pain.  Dizziness.  UGH.  The nausea finally waned to a manageable point around 6:00 PM.  My abdomen is still rather sore.  Actually, it never not hurts anymore, but the pain does lessen at times.

Up until about 10:00 minutes before my appointment, I was planning on staying on the bathroom floor.  However, I really, really, really wanted to talk about the first chapter of I Thought It Was Just Me [But It Wasn't].  I reminded myself that my counselor has repeatedly assured me that she does not care if I show up in my pajamas.  I wore them today.  She also does not mind if I moan and groan whilst I am there.  I moaned and groaned today.

We talked primarily about the top three bits of Chapter One in which I found the most comfort.  The first being that learning that shame can cause the fight/flight/freeze response.  When I was in the integrated medicine specialist's office, I was so incredibly ashamed at what I read about myself and very frightened.  All I wanted ... all I wanted was to get out of there, only I was weeping rather hysterically.  I wanted to flee.  I did.  Flee.  Stumbling about with my cane.  Falling to the ground.  Weeping.  Insensible.  Terrified.  Reading about how shame can cause the brain to bypass the neocortex and go into that primal, self-preserving state was an immense relief to me.  I understand that that moment in her office was out of my control.  In fact, I have been able to identify several of my meltdowns being from shame.  Understanding is ever so helpful for me.  If nothing else, it helps me to shift the "blame" for the "weakness" off of my already burdened shoulders.

Next is learning that shame comes from outside of us.  That deserves repeating:  shame comes from outside of us.  What is on the inside that responds to shame is the basic human instinct for connection.  We are driven to connection and we greatly fear disconnection.  It is understandable and human to react to shame in fear and to become overwhelmed by the intensely painful emotions shame evokes.

Clearly, by now, a reader is well aware of my awe for the Psalter and for my love of John 1:1-5.  If you were to ask me, Myrtle, what verse I found most hopeful in the Bible, and I were honest with you, in fear and trembling, I would ... eventually ... answer:  Mark 7:15 "...there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man."  Remember, it is me answering.  The one who has felt dirty and filthy her entire life, the one who learned, once in church, that she was no longer pure.  Things outside of me, coming into me, not defiling me is important.  Too, outside of me, coming into me, healing me is important.  That's why I crave hearing the Word of God even when I am too afraid to read it myself.
Third was learning the connection between shame, fear, and blame.  As I wrote last time, it becomes a vicious cycle and can send one spiraling into despair.  Learning that shame is from outside of me, as I mentioned above, eases the blame and helps to break the cycle.  At least, in her office today I entertained non-Myrtle-blaming thoughts for the first time that I actually did not scoff at!

I am looking forward to reading Chapter Two, especially now that my counselor has a copy of the book and will be reviewing it with me.  She has been excited that I found my way to Dr. Brené Brown's research on my own, even it was a bit earlier than she had planned.  Not that it matters.  I was ready, which is what matters.

On a separate note, I realized that when I wrote a list of Go-To Psalms up for someone, I do not think that I posted them here.  But maybe I did and forgot.  Anyway, I wanted to do so again:

Psalm 27: You're being assaulted on all fronts and want relief and all that desire is boiled down to just one thing: to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Focus. Focus on what you need in the midst of the maelstrom swirling about you. But, hey, it's okay to also ask that God doesn't forget about rescuing you and defeating your enemies.

Psalm 42: Why is my soul in despair? You long for the Word of God, but your soul in is despair. You know these good things of God to be true, but your soul is still in despair. Well, hey, that's okay. God gave you a prayer that lets you know that He knows that even knowing Him and all that He has done for you you can still find yourself in despair. That's life in a fallen world. God understands.

Psalm 51: You're forgiven. God doesn't need you to go out and make yourself better. He knows you've messed up and forgives you. Knowing, actually, that you are going to mess up, God gives you the words to pray to be renewed, to be cleansed ... to be forgiven. To be forgiven and to know that you will be forgiven. The promise received and the promise to come all in one.

Psalm 77: It can happen. You can start thinking that God has left you and that nothing is going to be okay, that He's changed. Then, you realize that it is your upsettedness that is making you think God changed, not that He actually changed. So, remind yourself of who He is and what He's done. It's okay to find yourself having a wrong thought, a bad thought, just follow the plan of the prayer and replace the wrong thought with what is true.

Psalm 104: Man! God is powerful and mighty and cares about every facet of this world. He cares about it and cares for it. And so sing about it. Sing about of all those wonderful things until the wonder dispels the darkness within and leaves you with the glorious and comprehensive reminder of just how connected God is to this world ... and likewise to you.


Becky said...

It is very good that the book is helping you see truth where there once were lies.

Those are good Psalm recaps.

Mary Jack said...

Yay for getting to therapy & talking about the book! Yay for being ready to talk about shame! :)