Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Belly of the Beast Part 2

Last week, I wrote about my experiences with PTSD. You can read about it here. The response I got has been overwhelmingly positive, and for that I'm very grateful. I've had a lot of people sending me cards and emails and text messages saying how much they love me or that they're worried about me. Almost everyone is struggling with something, but not everyone has so many people who care.

Here's the thing though: I would've had no idea anyone cared if I hadn't gone public with it. I was really, really afraid to. People may wonder why, so that's what brought me to write this little piece today. I was so afraid to let people see that deep, dark, ugly inside of me. I just knew they couldn't love me if they saw it. 

Look at Lamar Odom. Last month, late night talk show hosts were using him as a punchline calling him a crackhead and making jokes about the Kardashian family driving him to use. Now he's in a hospital bed fighting for his life against demons we all make fun of. Or look at Britney Spears. Everyone is still talking about her infamous meltdown back in 2007. Memes are still circulating about that stretch of her life. Lindsay Lohan. Same thing. Anna Nicole Smith. Elizabeth Taylor. People actually laugh at people in situations like these. We joke while they're struggling. Then we only act like we care when they're dying.

Why does someone have to die for addiction and mental illness to stop being a punchline? 

I want to talk a little bit more about what my situation is like simply because I have felt like people don't talk enough about this unless there's a celebrity on the way down with a trending hashtag.

Going through something like this is unspeakably lonely. It's exhausting. It feels a lot like a vase that was crazy glued back together: you may be able to display yourself, but you'll never be the same as the original. So you hide all your cracks and pray that nothing tips you over unexpectedly out of fear that you'll re-shatter at an inconvenient time. Because in our society, no one likes cleaning up broken glass like mine. They like to get late night comedy bits out of it.

I'm hardly innocent. Just last night I was saying that watching reality TV makes me feel better about how I handle my life. This is our culture. We've accepted it. We encourage it. We can't wait to tune in.

Therefore, I think a lot of people suffer in silence out of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. Fear of judgement.

I believe this is a large part of why it is so hard for anyone struggling with addiction or mental illness to believe that they are loved by anyone. Let alone by God.

So many days I have felt so estranged from God. Like He wasn't listening. Or He was busy. Or He was listening to someone more important and worthwhile. 

But you know what happens when I get in that place where I can't find God or my crazy glue? When I quit looking for them, and I feel like I'm falling apart, I look toward the ceiling to ground myself. It's a reflex. It's like God hardwired that in me to say "Hey, I'm still right here." 

He's not like everyone else or other experiences we know, but we think of Him that way. He looks at the deepest, darkest parts of me, and loves me anyway. He created me. He redeemed me. And He seeks me out even when I've written Him off as being absent in my life. Still, He finds me. Because I'm worth being found by Him. 

So if you're struggling right now, you are absolutely worth finding too. 

Read part 3 here.

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